No. 13 Temple edges William & Mary to win back-to-back ECAC titles
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. -- On Friday evening at the Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference Championship, No. 13 Temple earned a meet-high score of 411.650 to repeat as the league champion and earn an automatic bid to the NCAA Championships. Senior Alex Tighe won the ECAC title on parallel bars with his score of 14.5. He and eight other Temple gymnasts will move on to the individual finals on Saturday evening, as they placed within the top eight of their respective events on Friday in the meet hosted by Springfield College.
The Owls will be heavily represented by Tighe, as he will also compete on the horizontal bar and on pommel. On the bar, Tighe tallied a 14.150 after scoring a 13.7 on the pommel horse.
Senior Allan Malone tied for fourth place in the all-around with freshman Jon Rydzefski with a score of 81.600 through five worked events.
“This was one of the closest [ECAC Championship] meets we've had in quite a while,” head coach Fred Turoff said. “It was a very exciting meet and I am very proud of how our guys handled the pressure and came through.”
Temple won its 18th championship under Turoff, who is in his 37th season as the Owls' head coach, by knocking off 2013 rival No. 12 William & Mary (410.450), No. 15 UIC, (409.300), meet host Springfield (407.700), No. 14 Army (404.500) and Navy (400.350). William & Mary had defeated the Owls in two meets earlier this season.
The Owls also took team titles on floor (70.850), still rings (70.500) and on the horizontal bar (68.100), while tying with UIC as the runner-up on parallel bars (67.250). TU's score on pommel horse (66.050) was ranked fourth-best, while its vault total (68.900) was good enough for fifth place.
From here, the team will send its nine gymnasts that placed within the top eight of Friday night's events to individual finals.
Joining Malone, Evan Burke and John Leonard will also compete in the floor exercise. Malone led the Owls in this event with his score of 14.600, while Leonard turned in a 14.350 and Burke's effort earned him a 14.2.
Malone (14.0) will also take part on the horizontal bar with teammates Tighe (14.150) and Rydzefski (14.050), while Burke qualified for the vault exercise final after scoring 14.4 on Friday. Rydzefski will also compete on parallel bars after the judges awarded him with a 14.050.
On still rings, Temple will be represented by senior Assaf Zoor (14.400), Dashiell Sears (14.3) and captain Taylor Brana (14.2), while Brett Statman will join Burke in the vault exercise, as he scored a team-best 14.5 on Friday.
The Owls, who have won the ECAC Championship for a consecutive year, close out the 2013 season with a 17-6 record.