Matt Kacyon made sure to stay out of “no man’s land” Saturday during the American Athletic Conference Championships.
“The goal was to keep pushing up to the competition,” the senior said. “You have to keep up to avoid the gaps, so you don’t get stuck in no man’s land where it is hard to keep your pace going and close the gap to be with the pack when they make their move.”
Kacyon ran a personal-best time of 24 minutes, 17.79 seconds to come in eighth place overall in the 76-man field, helping the Owls finish fourth—their highest finish in school history at The American Championships.
Senior Alex Izewksi, junior Stephan Listabarth, senior Will Maltin and freshman Johnathan Condly, who rounded out the top five finishers for the Owls, all set personal records in the 8K race.
“We have three seniors in the top five, and it’s nice for them to go out on a high note in conference play,” coach James Snyder said. “It is an incredible accomplishment for the guys and it’s incredibly gratifying as a coach to see things we talked about three years ago come to fruition in their races now.”
The team, which finished eighth last season, had two runners improve on their individual times from last year’s championships.
After a 19th place finish last year, Izewski finished 12th Saturday and Maltin finished 27th this year.
“The guys took advantage of a great opportunity and put us in uncharted waters as a team, which is really special,” Snyder said.
Both Kacyon and Izewski received all-conference honors, another first-time accomplishment for the men’s cross country team.
The Owls, who are No. 12 in the U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association Division I Cross Country National Coaches’ Poll in the Mid-Atlantic Region, also had two freshmen run in the top seven. Condly and freshmanTyji Mays finished 43rd and 49th, respectively.
“This was great experience for the freshmen that ran today and it will prove to be invaluable going forward,” Snyder said.
“I was hopeful for the freshmen to step up and they did,” Kacyon said. “We are progressing as a team and it is exciting to see that progression. Now we are looking to make a statement at regionals and let them know what Temple is about.”
Maura Razanauskas can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org