Cross Country teams host Friend Big 5 Invitational

Matt Kaycon paced the men’s team to a third overall finish, while Jenna Dubrow led the women to a fourth-place performance at Belmont Plateau Friday.

Coach James Snyder shares some final words to the men's team before its race at Belmont Plateau Saturday in the Friend Big 5 Invitational. | Greg Frangipani TTN
Coach James Snyder shares some final words to the men's team before its race at Belmont Plateau Saturday in the Friend Big 5 Invitational. | Greg Frangipani TTN

Temple hosted the third annual Friend Big 5 Invitational at the Belmont Plateau in West Fairmont Park Friday.

The Owls utilized the familiar terrain of the course to move up in their rankings for the Big 5, which is made up of Temple, La Salle, Saint Joseph’s, the University of Pennsylvania and Villanova.

After both the men’s and women’s teams finished fifth overall in the meet last fall, both squads were able to move up in overall finishes for this year’s event.

The men’s team finished third overall, behind Penn and La Salle, while the women’s team finished in fourth place.

The women’s team, which participated in a four-kilometer run, was led by senior Jenna Dubrow, who placed No. 10 overall with a time of 14 minutes, 43.7 seconds. Dubrow led the Owls last year when she placed 24th overall with a time of 15:06.50.

“I’m definitely really happy with it,” Dubrow said. “It was a great effort from all of us and I’m really happy with how I did today.”

Dubrow said the strategy for the race was sticking together.

“Obviously the goal is to try to group up,” she said. “In terms of race we all have kind of different race paces. It was just kind of ‘go and see what you could do today.”

Freshman Katie Pinson, who crossed as the Owls’ second finisher, brought placed 20th overall with a time of 15:06.70.

“It was definitely nice to be in a familiar place,” Pinson said. “As a freshman, nothing is familiar, but we’ve worked out here so it was nice being somewhere that I knew what I was getting into. It was a good atmosphere.”

The men’s team was led by senior Matt Kacyon, who finished No. 17 overall with a time of 19:05.80.

“Our motivation coming into this race was high,” Kacyon said. “It’s our home course, at the Belmont Plateau, which is what I’ve been telling everybody else, I guess the heart of Philadelphia’s cross country.”

As the top runner for the men’s team from this event, Kacyon said he has high hopes for the rest of the season.

“Coming off this race, it’s time to start pushing forward,” Kaycon said. “A lot of the guys are feeling strong, which is great, so I’m excited to see where we get in the next couple of weeks.”

Along with many of the runners, coach James Snyder said he was pleased with the Owls’ performance.

“It was a solid day for our kids,” Snyder said. “The men were third and the women were fourth, up from fifth place on both sides last year, so that’s a step in the right direction. The cool thing about where we stand now is that we know where we have to build moving forward, and that’s kind of the big piece here.”

Both teams will travel to Connecticut to participate in the Ted Owen Invitational on Sept. 27.

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