Following a few weeks of challenging competition, some of the more experienced members of the men’s gymnastics team might finally get a chance to rest. The Owls head to Massachusetts this weekend for winnable meets at MIT and Springfield on Friday and Saturday, respectively.
“On paper, we’re certainly better than both of those teams,” coach Fred Turoff said.
The coaches said they are optimistic about the second half of the season. Assistant coach Tom Gibbs said a few lesser-used Owls may get a chance to perform Friday.
“The meet against MIT gives us an opportunity to work some of our other gymnasts who might not work in some of our stronger competitions,” Gibbs said.
Senior Nyika White said he feels these next two meets are crucial.
“This is going to give the newer guys a lot of experience,” he said. “For these guys, they will get to see what it feels like to compete as a team.”
A few Owls said they are not focused on just winning.
“We are pretty much expected to win both of them, but we are focusing more on getting a good score,” sophomore Sean Bryan said.
Turoff said this weekend’s meets are useful to the coaching staff in determining which gymnasts will compete in future competition.
“The fact that some of the other guys get to work will give us a chance to see [the less experienced gymnasts] in the heat of competition,” Turoff said.
With half of the season complete, the Owls have set their sights firmly on the conference title. They said they are convinced they will win the ECAC cup, which they fell short of last season.
“Should we do much better in the second half of the season than in the first [half], I think we can challenge for the title,” Turoff said.
The Owls have some tough competition to look forward to. A number of the teams remaining on their schedule are capable of claiming the title, Turoff said.
“Army has outscored us quite a bit this year and we can’t put aside Illinois-Chicago, the defending champion,” Turoff said. “These are our two biggest opponents in the ECAC.”
Turoff said he feels confident in the many returning and experienced gymnasts the team boasts. He labeled several Owls as capable of winning individual titles.
The first- and second-year gymnasts are expected to carry a share of the load in the Owls’ quest for the cup, starting this weekend.
“The young guys still need some experience and have to work out some things, but [the team has] made progress with them and we are reasonably optimistic,” Turoff said. “We’re looking for a good end of the season.”
White was optimistic about the future of the team.
“The team has been performing really well,” he said. “These meets are going to bring us a couple steps closer to the ECAC cup.”
Melissa DiPento can be reached at email@example.com.