The cold, damp and dreary weather conditions that set the tone at Lafayette University’s Leopard Invitational Saturday apparently had no effect on the top weapons on Temple’s women’s squad in senior Anna Pavone and junior Jenna Dubrow.
Pavone and Dubrow logged fourth and fifth place finishes in the 6K race with times of 22 minutes, 29.9 seconds and 22:30.74, respectively, to lead the Temple women to a ninth place overall finish out of the 14-team field.
“Both placed higher than they did at this race last year,” distance coach James Snyder said. “The two of them got out at the front of the race and really worked hard throughout the middle. Jenna was probably in 15th or 20th place after two miles and they both passed some girls on the last straight away.”
“I was really pleased with both of them with the way they ran the race and it got me excited to see what they can do in the [American Athletic] Conference meet. The top 14 runners in the meet get all-conference and I’m really excited to see if they both can make it. That’s our goal with them.”
Sophomore Gwen Porter followed up her team’s top duo, turning in a 75th place time of 24:29.33.
“I’m a little disappointed that we found each other later in the race than we should have,” Snyder said. “But we can still make progress in locating each other in the race earlier on. We were a little excited coming off the starting line and lost track of where they were. They found each other later, but we have to [run in groups] earlier on. If a group of three passes one person, that’s a six point swing. There’s nothing more powerful in cross country than group running and we’re happy with the progression we’ve made in that respect, but not content yet with where we are.”
Senior Will Kellar paced the men’s squad to a fifth place, 25:45 finish in the men’s 8K course as the Owls checked in at seventh overall in a 12-team men’s field.
The men bounced back Saturday from a performance in the Paul Short Invitational two weeks ago that Snyder dubbed as “disappointing.” Along with Kellar’s fifth place finish, sophomores Owen Glatts and Ryan Debarberie followed Kellar with season best races, crossing with times of 27:30.87 (56th) and 27:46.03 (65th), respectively.
“We did a much better job today across the board,” Snyder said. “If you look at Lehigh [The Paul Short Invitational site], it’s a pretty flat course. Lafayette is a much more difficult course. I think across the board we averaged a lot faster than we did in Lehigh. Kellar ran a great race. Ryan Debararie ran a 1:15 minute [personal record] and Glatts ran a minute PR. We did a much better job of executing the race plan today.”
Both teams will have two weeks to prepare before the University of Connecticut-hosted conference championship meet on Nov. 2.
“The exciting thing for us going into the conference meet is the unknown factor of who we’re going to be in racing,” Snyder said. “It’s going to be a fun situation who’s all-in and who’s not. Who’s going to step up and who won’t. You learn a lot about your kids when their backs are against the wall. Conference championship meets mean a lot more than a random invitational. We’re looking forward to seeing who shows up and who gets those things done and hopefully we’ll race competitively on the conference level.”
Andrew Parent can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @daParent93.