Temple gymnastics wins first ECAC meet

Temple set a season-high score on bars.

Sophomore all-around Ariana Castrence swings on the bars during the Pink Meet with Penn at the Palestra on 33rd and Walnut streets on Feb. 9. | NICK DAVIS / THE TEMPLE NEWS

On Sunday afternoon, Temple University gymnastics (5-4, 1-0 Eastern College Athletic Conference) edged out Penn (2-6, 1-1 ECAC) in the Pink Meet at Penn. The Owls scored a total of 193.675 points, their second-highest overall score of the season.

“I didn’t want it to be that close, but I’m glad that we were on the north side of the score,” coach Josh Nilson said. “You know, going into that arena they’re the only team that had beat us in our conference last year. So I didn’t want it to be that close but I’m glad that we’re on the north side of the score.”

Temple opened up the competition on bars with an overall score of 48.55, a season-high. Senior captain Jazmyn Estrella placed first in the event and tallied a 9.9. Estrella’s score set a team season-high in bars. Junior Tori Edwards finished third in the event and recorded a score of 9.7, which was a personal season-high.

“I mean [Estrella] is just one of the most competitive athletes I’ve ever coached,” Nilson said. “And she’s just a natural bar swinger. We ended up having to take out a skill and putting a different skill, so it was a little bit easier on her body, and she hit that score with a routine she hadn’t done since freshman year of college.”

The team has performed well on bars in practices and Nilson is glad to see the team progressing in competitions, he said. 

“We just focused this whole week on shooting six for six on bars,” Nilson said. “You know, not a phenomenal team score necessarily, but a solid one. So that was really our main focus.”

The Owls posted an overall score of 48.825 in vault. Sophomore Ariana Castrence clinched the vault title by tying a season-high score of 9.85, and freshman Madison Brooks placed second in the event as she tied a career-high with a 9.825. Senior Jaylene Everett finished in third with a score of 9.775.

On the floor routine, Temple attained a score of 48.625, their second-highest total of the season. Castrence set a team-high score of 9.825 to win the event title. Junior Faith Leary recorded a score of 9.775 and tied with Quakers freshman Rebekah Lashley for second place.

Temple then finished on beam, earning a score of 47.675. Junior captain Delaney Garin won the event and recorded a score of 9.875. Castrence placed third on beam with a score of 9.825.

“We didn’t focus much this week on beam, which was our highest scoring event the week before, and beam kind of got us at this one,” Nilson said. 

Castrence claimed her third all-around title of the season by tallying a score of 39.15 in the road meet.

“[Castrence] is just a phenomenal athlete, I mean she’s someone that the team can count on,” Nilson said. “And the best part is she is a team player. And she does not act like a superstar, she doesn’t act like it’s all about her. She works really hard and she’s very humble. I’m just, I’m very proud of her, not just her gymnastics ability but she has extremely high character.”

The Owls will take on Bowling Green State University (3-5, 0-3 Mid-American Conference) and Illinois State University (3-5, 1-1 Midwest Independent Conference) on Saturday in Bowling Green, Ohio at 2 p.m.

“I’ve told them that we don’t need to be perfect,” Nilson said. “We just need to improve one thing and keep moving forward. That’s really our focus for Bowling Green on Saturday.”

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