Mixed Emotions for Temple Gymnastics at Final Meet

The gym was filled with mixed emotions Saturday as Temple University men's gymnastic team competed in their last home meet of the season and possibly in school history.

"With the thoughts of the impending athletic cuts looming," Alex Tighe, a volunteer coach who competed on the team for four season, wrote in an email, "they continue to push forth."

The Air Force's team took first with a score of 424.55. The Owls' rival, University of Illinois at Chicago, narrowly edged out the home team. Temple tallied 402.5 points while UIC notched 403.55..

"We just wanted the team to go out and show the administration why this team is so important for the whole school," said Tighe, who added the team members held their heads high despite the bitter sweet circumstances.

In December, Temple announced the men's gymnastics team, along with six other varsity sports, would be dropped at the end of the 2014 season.

A crowd filled McGonigle Hall with many holding signs calling for the school to maintain funding for the nearly 90-year-old team.

"Pray for Temple," read one poster. "Save Men's Gymnastics," read another.

The athletes are holding their breath in the hopes that Neil Theobald, the university's president, will reconsider the decision.

But any change seemed unlikely after a January news conference. At the time, Theobold said the school is "right where we were" with the status of the seven teams to be eliminated, according to Temple News.

The more than a dozen gymnasts who make up the team and their supporters are still hoping they'll be able to compete at the varsity level next year.

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