Prior to its outdoor season, the track and field team received a pep talk from an unlikely speaker.
Temple alum Bill Cosby, a former track and football athlete, spoke to the entire team, which has the Owls determined and excited for the outdoor season.
“He told us to be proud of ourselves and he inspired us to keep improving and show
other people what you can do,” sophomore Amanda Cole said.
The outdoor track and field season was supposed to get underway Saturday, but the Owls did make their scheduled trip to Radford, Va., where the Radford Early Bird Invitational went on as scheduled without the team.
The Owls will open their outdoor season this Saturday as they split up to head to the Monmouth Invitational, in West Long Branch, N.J., and the Towson Open, in Towson, Md.
Expectations are high for the Owls, at least by the teams’ own standards.
Coach Stefanie Scalessa said one of the main goals for both squads will be to build upon the results of last season by improving in all events.
The men’s team finished eighth of 10 teams at the Atlantic Ten Conference Championships meet last season. The women’s team finished ninth of 11 teams. Scalessa said there is room to grow.
“I would expect that we will keep building on where we were last year,” Scalessa said. “And to keep continuing to get better and start to show athletes in events that we haven’t had athletes in before.”
Hoping to help lead the Owls’ improvement is Joshua Louis, a sophomore who competes in high jump and numerous hurdle events, including distances of 110 and 400 meters.
Louis said that the 400-meter hurdles is not one of his favorite events, but that he is willing “to do anything to help out the team.”
Louis was named the Most Outstanding Rookie of the A-10 Indoor Track Championships, held in Rhode Island earlier this winter.
At the meet, Louis won the high jump event by clearing a height of 6 feet, 7 inches. He also placed ninth in the 55m hurdles with a time of 7.92, as the men’s team finished in eighth place.
Louis improved on that jump at the Intercollegiate Association of Amateur Athletes Championships meet, clearing a height of 6-8. Temple finished 46th out of 53 teams in that meet.
Louis said he could see the men’s team improving upon past results.
“As far as the A-10 Championship, we should definitely be one of the top three teams in the conference if we just go out there and do our best,” Louis said.
On the women’s side, Cole is looking for the same type of results.
Cole participates in weight throw as well as shot put, discus and hammer throw. During the indoor season, Cole broke her own school record in weight throw with a distance of 52 feet, 3/4 inches.
Just like many of the other Owls, improvement is a key aspect for Cole.
“I am just trying to go out there and improve myself,” she said. “I’ve been staying focused in practice and have been doing my drills and conditioning and keeping my eye on my goals.” The sophomore wants to help the team improve as much as possible, while also trying to break her weight throw record in the near future.
At the A-10 Indoor Track Championship, Cole placed fourth in shot put with a heave of 39-10 1/2, as she helped the women’s team finish eighth at the meet.
The outdoor season has the Owls making stops throughout the east coast, including College Park, Md., Durham, N.C. and Princeton, N.J., among other cities. The Owls only scheduled meet in Philadelphia is the Penn Relays on April 26-28.
Kevin Smiley can be reached at email@example.com.