Coach James Snyder said he wanted to see what his “second team” could do at Saturday’s 10th annual Jack St. Clair Memorial on Oct. 7.
Junior David Fitzgerald finished first in the field of 101 runners at Belmont Plateau with a time of 26 minutes, 53.5 seconds. Juniors Tyji Mays and Shane Ramdeo finished in seventh and 15th, respectively. Freshman Noah Curtin rounded out the men’s finishers in 28th.
Junior Ashton Dunkley finished sixth, and freshman Kerry Kovacs placed eighth. In her first collegiate meet, freshman McKenzie Gelvin finished in 17th place.
Snyder said he was unhappy with his team’s performance in Saturday’s men’s 8,000-meter race and women’s 6,000. He used the meet to get an idea of who can fill out the final spots at the American Athletic Conference championship meet on Oct. 28.
“I was a little disappointed how everything played out today,” Snyder said. “On the women’s side comparing these times to earlier in the year doesn’t show the progress I thought we made. It made my decision for the conference championship meet a lot easier.”
Snyder said he plans to have nine runners on each side compete at the conference championship race. Though Snyder has a “good grasp” of what the final roster will look like, he is going to let his runners’ performance in the next meet and the coming weeks of training inform his decisions.
The Owls will run on Saturday at the Princeton Invitational in New Jersey before they begin final preparation for The American’s championship meet at Belmont Plateau.
“Now we will begin to see where we are,” Snyder said. “We have a bunch of healthy men and women that will need to work these coming weeks. These are all grown-ups here, they’ll figure it out.”
Two runners, Gelvin and Fitzgerald, stood out in the battle for a final roster spot after Saturday’s results, Snyder said.
“McKenzie was the only girl who didn’t disappoint today,” Snyder said. “In her first ever race she held her own, and showed me a lot from a girl who has never really ran cross country.”
“[Fitzgerald] ran aggressive like I told him to, and he jumped into the conversation to be on the line for the conference championship,” Snyder added.
Saturday’s race honored of longtime Temple cross country and track coach Jack St. Clair, who died in 2007.
St. Clair won a national championship with Penn State in 1950 as the team’s captain. He coached at Temple from 1967-1983 and compiled a 104-32-1 record in track & field.