Cross Country has strong showing at conference meet

Eleven Temple runners – six women and five men – finished in the top-20 at the American Athletic Conference championship meet.

Women’s cross country practices at the John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge at Tinicum on Thursday. Next Thursday, Temple cross country will compete in the American Athletic Conference cross country championship in New Orleans. | HANNAH BURNS / THE TEMPLE NEWS

For the second straight season, Temple University’s men’s and women’s cross country finished in the top three at the American Athletic Conference championship in New Orleans, hosted by Tulane.

The women finished third with 67 points, four points back of first on Thursday. The men earned 51 points and finished in second, which is the highest finish in program history. The 51 points by the men’s side are the lowest a second place team has scored in the conference meet in The American’s history.

For the fifth straight year, Tulsa won the conference title on the men’s side as they ran away from the field with a total 32 points. Wichita State sophomore Winny Koskei won the 6,000-meter race on the women’s side and helped the Shockers win the meet with 63 points.

“We had some people who we trusted to be a little bit more aggressive, and we had some people who we wanted to lay back and try to move forward during the race,” coach James Snyder said. “We kind of catered our plan for the race to each individual person really to get to where we wanted to be.”

Temple sophomores Lucy Jones, Michelle Joyce, and Helene Gottlieb all finished in the top 15 and earned all-conference honors.

Jones came in 10th at 23 minutes and 2.22 seconds and Joyce finished one spot behind with a time of 23:07.35.

Temple had seven runners place in the top 30 on the women’s side. Jones, Joyce, and Gottlieb finished higher than they did in last year’s conference meet.

“Lucy moved up three or four spots, Michelle probably moved up 15 or 20 spots, and Helene looked like a different person as she moved up around 30 spots,” Snyder said. “We just needed another girl or two to have a better day and we could’ve won, but unfortunately it didn’t break for us.”

Junior Grace Moore finished 16th with a time of 23:29.08. Graduate student Kira Von Ehren came in 17th place, while senior Katie Leisher and junior Millie Howard finished 20th and 29th, respectively.  

The men’s team broke another program record as four members of the team finished on the all-conference team. A total of five Temple runners placed in the top-20.

Junior Zach Seiger ran the 8,000-meter race in 27:34.66 to finish in sixth. Seconds later sophomore Kristian Jensen crossed the finish line with a seventh-place finish with a time of 27:40.12. Graduate student Louis Corgliano finished in 10th, while junior Kevin Lapsansky finished in 14th.

Redshirt junior Harry Powell just missed out on all-conference honors, finishing 16th with a time of 28:26.91.

The finish on the men’s side was a “positive step” for the program, Snyder said.

“We’re going to be a top player in our conference for the next few years,” Snyder said. “Just to be in the conversation to win that meet means a lot. If you look at our women, the only senior who finished in the top seven was Katie Leisher, and we’re returning the rest of our all-Conference finishers. For the guys, Lou [Corgliano] is a going to be a big loss, but beyond that, everybody is back for another year.”

On Nov. 9, Temple will travel to State College for the NCAA Mid-Atlantic Regional Meet.

“Something that hasn’t shown up in the conference meets the law two years is that the teams that we put out there in New Orleans are a whole lot better than the groups that we had at Belmont last year,” Snyder said. “I think we’ll see that take form again when we go to Penn State where the goal is to try and crack that top five for the men and the women.”

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