Maryland gymnastics was still reeling from last Friday’s season-low performance at the Big Five Meet when practice rolled around on Monday. The Terps were noticeably discontent with their 194.475-point output, coach Brett Nelligan said, leading to a tense start to the week.
“The coaching staff kind of got together after their Tuesday practice and we wanted them to be a little looser, to relax,” Nelligan said. “Just [to] remember how great of a team they are, what great gymnasts they are, and just let the gymnastics come back naturally.”
Less than a week later, Nelligan’s squad rebounded at the Temple Quad meet. No. 25 Maryland (8-7, 2-7 Big Ten) scored 196.600, finishing first in Philadelphia. The Terps faced Temple (9-15, 3-4 EAGL), Towson (22-3-1, 7-1-1 EAGL ) and West Chester (13-7, 5-0 GEA).
The Terps earned their highest vault score of the season, 49.300, after posting five scores of 9.850 or higher.
Maryland opened the competition on the balance beam, a change from the typical first rotation being vault or bars. In the lead-off spot, Emma Silberman fell off the left side of the beam in her first sequence, two back handspring layout step outs into a layout step out. She earned a 8.900, the worst beam score of her career.
But Josephine Kogler earned the highest beam score for the Terps on the afternoon. The control and ability to spot the beam in her front walkover earned her a 9.825. Kogler stuck a Gainer Full dismount to end the rotation. The beam unit finished with 48.850.
“We needed to rebuild our confidence,” Nelligan said. “It’s a huge improvement from last week and I still think we’ll get back up to breaking over that 49 soon.”
The Terps shook off their first rotation jitters entering the floor rotation. Maryland’s floor unit scored a 49.150 following three 9.825s.
Tayler Osterhout, who reentered the lineup Thursday for Alexa Rothensbuescher, scored a 9.825, her highest score of the season. Her first tumbling pass, a front tuck to double back tuck, opened her routine with poise and power.
Osterhout opened the season in the normal floor lineup. But following a fall and a few shaky moments against Ohio State, Nelligan decided to move her to the exhibition spot after she earned 8.950.
“She never stopped working, always positive, always to do whatever we wanted her to do,” Nelligan said. “She had an incredible routine for us. And I just told her how much I appreciate her.”
Reece McClure’s routine to end Maryland’s floor rotation was commemorated with a 9.875.McClure’s dancing and upbeat energy guided her to tie her season high that she earned against Nebraska in January.
Maryland’s vault unit improved greatly following its 49.075 score nearly a week ago. Taylor Rech hit a career high 9.875 after gaining great height off the vault table and keeping her legs together to finish a Yurchenko Full.
Kogler’s lead-off routine joined Rech in scoring a 9.875, also her season-high in the event. Alexsis Rubio, Olivia Weir, and McClure each scored 9.850 to lead the Terps into the fourth rotation in first place.
“Our vault team is really strong,” McClure said. “Taylor Rech did a phenomenal job and Josephine Kogler did a great job leading off, so it kind of just let us build scores from that.”
After posting their second lowest score on the uneven bars last week, the Terps entered the fourth rotation with hopes of improvement. Aleka Tsiknias ended the bars rotation with confidence, sticking her double back layout dismount with great power. Tsiknias perfect handstands and velocity between the two bars punched her a 9.925, tying her season-high.
Nelligan inserted Tasha Brozowski into the bars lineup, making it her season debut. Brozowski displayed great form to earn a 9.875.
“That was her first time in the lineup, in a tough situation after a fall freshman year,” Nelligan said. “For her to just step up and nail that routine for us…once she did that, everyone knew that we were going to finish that rotation strong. I was proud of her.”
On Sunday, Maryland will honor its six seniors for senior day in College Park for the Terp Quad meet. The Terps will face New Hampshire, Brown, and Penn, making it one of the last meets the seniors compete in at Xfinity Center.
“We’re super excited. We just want to show everybody what we’ve been working so hard on this season,” McClure said. “And kind of just appreciate the time that we’ve had for our four years here.”