For the first time since 2005, Temple (18-17) sent vault specialists to the NCAA Regionals in University Park, Pennsylvania. Senior all-around Sahara Gipson and sophomore all-around Jaylene Everett competed on Saturday in their first regional meets.
Last year, Daisy Todd became the first Temple gymnast to appear in an NCAA Regional competition since 2009 as a freshman. Gipson and Everett’s qualification for the meet marked the first time Temple sent gymnasts to back-to-back regionals since it was represented from 1996-98.
“They competed the way they have competed all year,” coach Umme Salim-Beasley said. “So their consistency was there, they were aggressive and we were just very very pleased with their performance.”
Gipson entered the competition on a streak of eight straight meets with scores of 9.8 or higher on the vault. But she wasn’t able to extend the streak at the regional meet. Gipson recorded a 9.625 on the vault, which was her lowest score since a quad meet at the University of Pittsburgh on Feb. 3.
“I honestly wouldn’t change anything that I’ve done,” Gipson said. “I think I would have went in and [stuck] my vault, but I honestly wouldn’t change anything that I’ve done. I’ve accomplished everything I’ve dreamed of, so I’m just happy.”
Everett entered the meet with four scores of 9.8 or better four times this season. She finished her season with a score of 9.525 on the vault at Penn State.
Everett said she would like to return to regionals next year.
“I definitely just want to stay consistent and possibly upgrade some of my skills on other events…just keep doing what I’m doing,” Everett said. “It worked well this year.”
Temple’s lone team qualification for the NCAA Regional meet came in 1992. Salim-Beasley wants her team to strive to make it to next year’s competition.
“We think that next year we have a great opportunity for us to get the whole team there, especially considering the freshmen we have coming in,” she said.