– Following a record-setting opening weekend, Temple women's gymnastics is set for a long road trip to Knoxville, Tennessee for Saturday night's Ozone Classic. The Knoxville Convention Center will play host to the Owls along with Illinois State, Centenary College of Louisiana and Wisconsin Eau-Claire. Competition is set to begin at 8 p.m. ET.
Looking to carry the confidence from a program-best season opener at Penn State, many of the Owls head into their second meet with plans to build upon the strong foundation laid last weekend. Making a strong career debut was freshman Daisy Todd
. The San Jose, California native locked in a third-place all-around finish with an all-around score of 38.725 that ranks in a tie for 10th all-time in program history. Todd also tied for the Owls' lead on bars in Happy Valley, notching a 9.775 in the fifth spot followed junior Alexa Phillip
's 9.775-scoring performance.
Fellow junior Sahara Gipson
also came out strong in week one, posting the highest score on both vault and beam. Gipson, who led the Owls on vault in 2016, ended last season with a 9.667 average on the event. Her beam score also tied her all-time career-high.
Where the Owls will look to improve the most is on the floor exercise. The lineup of Reagan Oliveri
, Jaylene Everett
, Todd, India Anderson
, Phillip, and Briana Odom
went four-for-six at Penn State for an event total of 47.275. Despite counting one missed routine, Anderson and Todd led the way with scores of 9.65 and 9.6, respectively.
The Owls beam team came out of the gate strong, posting a 48.225 on an event that did not break the 48.0 mark in 2016.
For two of the competing teams, Saturday night will be the first competition of the 2017 season. Both Illinois State and Centenary have yet compete. For both squad, the last team competition came at the 2016 MIC Championships where the Redbirds placed fourth with a score of 192.825 and the Ladies placed sixth with a 188.825 mark.
Temple has faced off with Illinois State once prior to this meet. The Owls visited the Redbirds in 2012 where they fell to the hosts 193.625-190.25. In the preseason coaches poll, the Redbirds received 25 votes, ranking them 48th nationally after averaging a team score of 191.869.
Saturday's competition will be the fifth all-time meeting between the Owls and the Ladies of Centenary. The teams previously met at USAG Nationals and most recently last season at West Chester. Temple topped Centenary in 2016 189.575-177.90 in the quad meet.
Meeting for the first time in the programs' histories, Wisconsin Eau-Claire will round out the competition. The Blugolds head to Knoxville with one meet under their belts, posting a 188.7 at Central Michigan last weekend to placed second out of three teams.