The first meet of the indoor track and field season is still a couple weeks away, but the Owls are preparing themselves to be a top contender in the Atlantic Ten Conference not only this year, but also for the long haul.
To do this, both the men’s and women’s teams have accumulated a number of freshmen.
Of the 65 athletes listed on the men’s roster, 36 are freshmen. The women’s team brought in 20 freshmen to bring their total to 45 athletes.
Despite the lack of experience many of the athletes carry, coach Stefanie Scalessa said the freshmen will be counted on to contribute when the season begins Dec. 7 at the Jack Pyrah Invitational held in Haverford, Pa.
“We have a lot of freshmen on the team this year, but I believe that they will make a difference in how the team does, from the first meet to the last,” Scalessa said.
Another addition from last season is Matt Jelley, who will serve as both the distance and assistant coach. Jelley has already established a rapport with the distance runners who ran cross country this fall. He took the coaching reigns midway through the season.
Scalessa has set a goal of achieving a Top 5 finish at the A-10 Championship, held Feb. 16 at Kingston, R.I. That’s a goal that Scalessa said is a realistic one. Last season, both the men’s and women’s team’s finished in eighth place at the event.
A-10 coaches are not so optimistic. They picked the men’s team to finish eighth among the 10 men’s programs and tabbed the women’s team to finish seventh among 12 teams.
If the men’s squad is going to soar to the top of the conference, one of main reasons might be senior Marcos Edghill. Edghill shined at The Great Dane Classic last January, where he finished in sixth place in the 55m hurdles and 16th place finish in the 55m dash.
Edghill said he sees the team as one of the best since he arrived at Temple.
“I am very excited for this season, and it seems the rest of the team is too,” Edghill said. “Our team looks really good and it seems that we have a full team in all of the events.”
Edghill said that he helped prepare himself better for the season by working harder than he ever has.
Scalessa echoed the same thoughts referring to the rest of the team.
“The team has had a good off-season,” she said. “We are working hard in the weight room and getting stronger and more disciplined.”
On the women’s side, senior sprinter Shanice DePass is looking to be one of the leaders, and offered some advice to the freshmen.
“I just told them to work hard and to just do everything from their heart,” DePass said.
And as for her prediction for the conference championships?
“I think we definitely will finish in the top one,” said DePass in a confident laughter.
Kevin Smiley can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.