The cross country programs have signed five runners during the early recruiting period, which ran from Nov. 12-19.
David Fitzgerald, Johnathan Condly and Tyji Mays signed national letters of intent to run for the men’s squad, while Maddie Bixler and Alexis O’Shea signed for the women’s team.
Bixler and O’Shea are expected to run for the women’s track & field team starting in Spring 2016.
Fitzgerald was the first of the group to sign his NLI last Thursday morning. The Potomac, Maryland native ran all four years in high school at Winston Churchill High School.
Cross country coach James Snyder said he expects Fitzgerald, who has previously lived in the Philadelphia area, to make an immediate impact on the team.
“He’s a hard-working, blue-collar kid that will have the chance to come in right away and compete for a spot in our Top 7,” Snyder said.
O’Shea and Bixler were the next two to sign last Friday. Bixler is a West Chester native who runs cross country along with indoor and outdoor track & field at West Chester Henderson High School.
Bixler won the Adidas XC Challenge earlier this fall with 18 minutes, 56.2 seconds in the 5-kilometer race. She also placed 15th in the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association District 1 Championships, with a 5k personal best of 18:50.
O’Shea is an all-state runner for cross country, indoor and outdoor track at West Allegheny High School.
O’Shea has a personal best of 18:05 in the 5k.
On the following Tuesday, Condly signed his NLI. Condly ran at Jim Thorpe High School and won the Schuylkill League title for the second year in a row this fall.
The last of the Owls five recruits, Mays, signed early Wednesday morning. Mays, whose mother is a Temple graduate, has a personal-best of 16:20 in the 5k for Bensalem High School.
Snyder was happy with the early signing period and feels that it is an advantage for the developing program at Temple.
“For programs like ours, I believe that [the early signing period was] incredibly beneficial,” Snyder said. “It forces coaches to do their homework, recruit well and identify the young men and women that we want to have in our program earlier than in years past.”
“It puts a greater emphasis on following these kids during their sophomore and junior year [of high school],” Snyder added. “I feel like it gives us a great opportunity to out-work our competition and provides an advantage for us.”
The signing period will start again in the spring on April 15.
Ed LeFurge III can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @Ed_LeFurge_III.