Temple Women's Gymnastics will host the Fifth Annual Ken Anderson Memorial Invitational on Saturday at 1:00 p.m. in the confines of the main gymnasium in Pearson-McGonigle Hall, where the Owls will welcome Bridgeport, Ursinus and West Chester.
In what will be their only home meet of the 2013 season, the Owls will conjoin Senior Day and its Alumni Homecoming into the meet. For those who are unable to attend, a video stream of the meet will be provided on OwlAccess (click on the link above).
For the last five years, Temple University
has hosted this annual home meet in remembrance of the late Ken Anderson, who served as the head coach of the school's women's gymnastics program for 21 years before passing away in 2008 after a long battle with cancer.
During his tenure as Temple's women's gymnastics coach, Anderson directed seven teams to the NCAA Regionals, with his 1992 Owl team advancing to the one NCAA Championships. The all-time winningest women's gymnastics coach in school history, he also guided five Temple teams to the USA Gymnastics National Championships and a school record 235 wins. His 1988-89 and 1991-92 squads posted identical 20-6 won-loss records, the most wins for an Owl team. Anderson earned numerous accolades as a head coach, including Atlantic 10 Conference Coach of the Year honors in 1987 and 1992. He also earned the NCAA Northeast Regional Coach of the Year award in 1989.
Despite looking for their first win over a squad at a meet this season, Temple has showed consistent progression over the course of its first three meets.
Since opening the season at the George Washington Invite, the Owls have bettered their team score every week since.
Led by senior Jean Alban
's second place all-around performance, which earned her a share of this past week's ECAC Gymnast of the Week honor, Temple is coming off a 190.275 team score at New Hampshire last Saturday.
In addition to Alban's career-high score through four events last weekend, junior Brittanie DeMeno
has also been a catalyst for the Owls in the season's early-going, as she has taken part in the all-around in all three meets to date, including her breakout performance at Pittsburgh, where she set career-highs in three of the four events she worked.
Seven-year head coach Aaron Murphy
has been fortunate to have a very resilient squad so far this season. In each of the three meets thus far, Murphy has had to make last-minute adjustment to his lineups due to injuries his gymnasts have suffered injuries moments before the competition. No matter who he has alternated into the order in those situations, the Owls haven't missed a beat. Sophomore Taylor Rakus
and junior and team captain Heather Zaniewski
have been prime examples, as their efforts and performances led them the ECAC Coaches' Choice honors earlier this season
The Owls have demonstrated their strengths to be on the balanced beam and in the floor exercise. Currently, Temple ranks second in the ECAC and 31st in the nation with their average beam score of 48.358, while sophomore Stephanie Verry
carries the ECAC's fifth-best average score in the floor exercise with a 9.758, helping her team to an average score of 47.708 in the event.
When Temple takes the floor on Saturday, it will be striving to make this one as memorable as last season's was. On that afternoon, the Owls set the school's highest team score in program history with a 193.275, allowing them to take first place in the process.
Competing for the final time on their home mats and apparatuses and in front of friends and family, seniors Alban, Margaret Walch
, Natalie Kahler
and Ebone Grant
will all be honored for their four years of work and dedication to the Temple women's gymnastics' program.
For more on the upcoming meet, watch the interview with head coach Aaron Murphy
, senior Jean Alban
and junior Brittanie DeMeno