Men’s gymnastics coach Fred Turoff has emphasized the importance of executing “clean” routines all season.
But in Saturday’s meet against Ohio State and defending national champion Oklahoma, “clean” routines were few and far between.
“It’s the falls that hurt us all the time,” Turoff said. “We counted nine falls in this meet, and nine falls means nine points off your team score.”
The Owls scored a 402.850, which was an improvement of over a last point from last week at William and Mary. But host Ohio State won the meet with a score of 446.150, followed by Oklahoma who scored a 444.300.
There are huge gaps between Temple and two of the top five teams in the country. But Turoff did see the importance of having his team compete among the best.
“It gives the guys a chance to see where harder routines that are better executed look like,” Turoff said. “Each guy spoke of some really nice stuff they saw…and that’s what they’re in there for.”
There were some positives to take away from Temple’s performance in Columbus. Sophomore Jon Rydzefski had his best all-around performance of the year, scoring an 83.800.
However, there was still room for improvement.
“He did have some giveaways, and he knows that,” Turoff said of the sophomore’s effort. “But at least he hit all of his routines.”
Temple’s highest team score was on the vault with a 69.350. Their second strongest effort came on the rings with a tally of 67.400.
This isn’t a new occurrence for the Owls. Rings and vault have been their two most consistent events all season. Turoff said the reason behind the success in those events is simple.
“Those are the events where we have the least number of big errors,” Turoff said. “So our guys are pretty good at what they do there.”
The rings score would have been higher had it not been for an uncharacteristic slip-up from one of Temple’s most consistent performers all season.
Turoff’s son, Evan Eigner, posted a 14.150 on the rings, .5 points below last week’s performance and .9 points off his season high at the Navy Open on Jan. 25.
“He didn’t hold some of his skills quite long enough,” Turoff said. “So that encouraged some deductions there. He was a bit nervous competing against those guys, especially with the defending national champions in Oklahoma, so that’s something he has to overcome.”
One area that the Owls still have to overcome is on the pommel horse. Although they improved on last week’s mark by over a point (64.100 to 65.600), Temple’s highest score in the event was back at the West Point Open on Jan.17—their first meet of the season.
“I’m still experimenting with the lineup there,” Turoff said. “There have been one or two guys fighting for position, but they haven’t been consistent. So over the next week and a half, [assistant coach] Patrick [McLaughlin] and I are going to be looking for consistency in practice, to figure out who the best guys are who have the least chance of falling.”
The next week and a half will be Temple’s most important practice time of the year. On March 28, the Owls heads to Annapolis to compete in the Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference championships.
Steve Bohnel can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @SteveSportsGuy1.