Men’s gymnastics went into the NCAA National Championships, hosted at Penn State, as the No. 12 seeded team in the country, and that’s the way they left it. Temple finished 12th out of 12 after the first day of competition at the National Championships and did not advance to the next day.
The Owls finished the competition with an overall team score of 407.800 as Michigan finished in first for the day with their team score of 443.850. However, senior Alex Tighe qualified to move on and compete in Sunday afternoon’s event finals and he is the only Owl to do so.
Tighe qualified to compete on both high and parallel bars for the Event Finals of the National Championships. He finished in a tie for 10th on both events, with a score of 14.500 on parallel bars and a 14.200 on high bar.
As the only Owl to advance to the Event Finals, Tighe said he was disappointed.
“I would’ve loved to have my teammates cheering me, but we’re with the best in the nation right now and it takes some luck and some good gymnastics to move forward to the championship round,” Tighe said. “The luck happened to be on my side and the luck just wasn’t with the other guys, and I wish I could’ve had more teammates moving on.”
Earlier in the week, Tighe was recognized as being a finalist for the Nissan-Emery Award, which is given to the top gymnast in the country. In a season where Tighe has already received a lot of individual achievement including an Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference Gymnast of the Week, ECAC Senior Athlete of the Year and being named to the Philadelphia Inquirer Men’s At-Large Academic All-Area Team for outstanding performance in the gym and in the classroom.
“I don’t really have any awards that I try to win,” Tighe said. “I am here to do my gymnastics and improve gymnastically, and with the hard work often does come the recognition that I’ve gotten, but [awards] are not something that I try to get.”
With the season now over for Temple with the exception of Tighe, coach Fred Turoff was happy with his team’s performance this year. The 37-year coach previously said that competing in the National Championships was already going to be the cherry on top of the cake, with the team already winning the ECAC title two weeks prior.
“I have to be happy,” Turoff said. “Because we won the conference again, we had a few bad meets, but we had some pretty good meets and certainly winning the conference is the goal every year. And this team knew they could do it and just pulled it out, and I am very happy about that.”
The National Championship Event Finals for Tighe will begin Sunday at 2 p.m. and will conclude the season for the Owls.