Despite their usual disadvantage of a shortage of bodies to cover events, Temple’s track teams scored well at the Atlantic-10 Conference Championship meet on Feb. 22.
The shorthanded women’s team only brought 19 athletes to the meet, yet still managed to claim third place, and senior Edith Lewis captured the most outstanding field performer of the year award.
But the multitude of fresh legs from Rhode Island and Richmond were too much for the gritty Owls to overcome.
“It’s just very tough,” coach George Phillips said.
“We were in second place, and all of a sudden Richmond scored 18 points in the 3000 [meter run] to pass us by.”
Richmond won the championship with 136 points.
Phillips wants to find a way to compensate for the scoring deficit that haunts both his teams by either getting more points out of running events or branching out into more distance races.
If this can be achieved, Phillips sees the possibility of improving the Owls overall ranking.
With that said, the women do have 11 athletes qualifying for the ECAC Championships on March 8-9.
According to Phillips, it the largest group of women that the Owls have qualified since the 1980s.
The men’s team posted individual victories, and netted a fifth place finish.
Junior Bryant Adams placed third in the 500-meter dash and fourth in the 4 x 4 relay.
Sophomore Jonathon Albright came in second in hurdles and earned second-team All-Conference honors.
Senior sprinter Robert Leite-Young won the triple jump, was voted most outstanding male field performer, and is the only male Owl qualifying for the IC4A Championships.
However, the men’s success was over shadowed by misfortune when senior hurdler Tracy Champion re-injured an already damaged hamstring.
The injury will most likely keep Champion out of the IC4A championships.
Phillips doesn’t see Champion returning before April. It is a difficult blow for any athlete, but it’s a particularly bitter pill to swallow for a senior.
“I don’t know if my outdoor season can be salvaged from this injury, ” Champion said.
“I just hope it can. I have to take the losses where they fall. I’ll probably rehab twice as hard this time, but my senior seasons may be down the drain.”
Champion is aware that it will be harder to rebound from this injury, but he isn’t willing to let that bring him down.
“You can only be down for so long,” he said.
“I think it’s all about your attitude when you’re trying to come back. If you can come back, try. If you don’t try, you’ll never know if you could’ve done it or not. So, I’m going to try, and hopefully, it’ll come out successfully.”
“He’s taking it as good as a senior can take missing the indoor championship,” Phillips said.
“I think he doing a super job man-wise. He took a big hurt. It was a big hit and he took it good.
“He rose up, and he was ready,” Philips continued.
“All the things were going for him. But [the injury] was very unfortunate. Track and field is one of those kinds of events where things happen. We’re trying real hard to get him rehabbed, and get him back out here for [the outdoor track season].”
Calvin Gorrell can be reached at Cgorrell@temple.edu