Temple’s distance medley relay team finished first at the Fasttrack National Invite on Friday at the Ocean Breeze Complex in Staten Island, New York.
Out of the A squads, the distance medley relay team, which consisted of sophomore distance runner Millie Howard, junior distance runner Ashton Dunkley and freshman distance runners McKenzie Gelvin and Lucy Jones, finished first with a time of 12 minutes, 17.64 seconds out of five teams.
Two freshmen also earned top-two finishes at the Ocean Breeze Complex.
Sprinter Mallorie Smith set a personal best and finished second in the unseeded 200-meter dash out of 41 contestants with a time of 25.81 seconds. Sprinter and hurdler Sydney Williams placed second out of 66 runners in the 400 with a time of 57.5 seconds.
After having meets in three consecutive weeks, Temple should have more of a normal routine now, coach Elvis Forde said.
“We’re going in the right direction, and that means we still want to be able to knock a few more seconds off of what we’ve done at this point,” Forde said. “Because everything that we’re going to do is going to require a high level of performance, and that’s what we’re going to expect at the conference championships. So, we’re hoping that on those competition days, everybody can raise the bar a notch.”
The distance team competed on Friday for the first time since the Penn State National on Jan. 26 and 27.
“Some rest never hurts, but you can always see a little bit of rust in terms of their mechanics,” Forde said. “Those are things that you need to remember when you race, especially on the close indoor circuit, which is only a 200-meter track which isn’t very wide. So how you position yourself can really make a difference in terms of what the outcome of your performance is, and we saw some of that this weekend that our athletes need to put themselves in the best position to succeed.”
Freshman distance runner Michelle Joyce finished in third place in the 3,000 with a time of 9:59.72.
Smith, freshman sprinter Grace Gillespie and freshman distance runner Helene Gottlieb all finished in seventh place in different events. Gillespie finished the 200 in 26.08 seconds, while Gottlieb placed seventh in the 800 invite. In the 400, Smith had a time of 58.2 seconds.
Sophomore distance runner Grace Moore finished in sixth out of 16 runners in the 3,000 invite with a time of 9:39.29.
Howard had a time of 4:54.86 minutes in the mile run invite to finish eighth out of 40 runners.
The Owls’ next meet is the American Athletic Conference Indoor Conference Championships in Birmingham, Alabama, on Feb. 23 and 24.
“We can’t go back and do the last 10 weeks of work and fix all of that in the next two weeks,” Forde said. “It’s just a matter of having to polish some things up, and the athletes are the ones that need to go in with full confidence. We as the coaching staff can only be their motivational support and hope that they can use all that they’ve learned this year and put it all on the line for a championship.”