Redshirt senior Travis Mahoney dominated the field again today, earning a first-place finish at the Mid-Atlantic Regional at Penn State and thus qualifying for the NCAA Championship.
The victory for Mahoney comes less than two weeks after he won the individual title at the Atlantic 10 Conference Championship at Belmont Plateau. His race today led the men’s team to a 12th place finish overall in the 25 team event. Mahoney is the first Owl to ever win a regional title and will become the university’s first NCAA Championship participant in program history.
“It’s huge for us because no Temple athlete has ever won the regional race in cross country or been in the NCAA Championship,” coach Adam Bray said. “Looking at what he did, it shows how talented a guy he is and he puts in a lot of hard work. It’s tremendous—A tremendous accomplishment.”
“This is the race I wanted to come back to in cross country,” Mahoney said. “This was one of my goals in mind for coming back. One was to win A-10’s, one was to win regionals. I achieved both and I’m extremely happy. But I still have one more race, I want to focus on that and try and hit All-American for cross country.”
Junior Will Kellar continues to impress after earning All-Conference honors at the A-10 Championship, earning a 27th place finish. Sophomore Matt Kacyon finished in 37th place. Sophomore Cullen Davis, who has been battling a knee injury, was not able to finish the race today, which at a 10k distance was 4,000 meters longer than any other course the team has run on this season.
“Will Kellar just missed being All-Region,” Bray said. “He has continued each week being really good, and it’s showing his hard work. The guy is talented and he ran an amazing race. Matt Kacyon really stepped up big for us. If you add Cullen into the mix, I think it changes the whole team dynamic. It makes the team that much better. Overall though I thought they ran really well.”
For the first time in her collegiate career, sophomore Jenna Dubrow did not lead the women’s team as junior Anna Pavone finished four seconds ahead of her with a 68th finish overall. Dubrow came in 74th, as her streak of leading the Owls ended at 10.
“Both of them ran pretty solid races,” Bray said. “Jenna’s been having some knee problems the past week for some reason. I credit Anna, she stepped up and ran really well. Both of them improved tremendously from last year’s finish at the meet. To their credit, the hard work is paying off and getting better.”
“It’s a good thing for Jenna to be challenged to step up a bit and give someone for Jenna to train with,” Bray added. “Most of the season, Anna was injured and Jenna was out training on her own. They’re good friends and good teammates, so it’s a healthy relationship.”
Senior Diedre MacFarlane and Kelly Broadbent set new personal best times as the team as a whole placed in 23rd overall. Last season the Owls fared slightly better at the event placing in 22nd overall. Senior Tonney Smith and sophomore Chelsea Carlton did not race in the event, as both are being held back for the remainder of the season to focus on the upcoming track and field season. In addition, the recent loss of freshman Christin Bettis, the team’s top recruit of the year, hurt the team in terms of overall placement.
“It’s been a big affect,” Bray said. “[Bettis] would have been one of our top three girls. To not have her be out there, it definitely hurts us. But she had to deal with her own things in her life, and that’s OK, we accept that. I don’t hold any grudge against her, she’s a great person. She’s going to do well.”
The cross country teams, minus Mahoney, will travel to Van Courtland Park in Bronx, N.Y. on Nov. 17 as the men’s team participates in the Intercollegiate Association of Amateur Athletes of America Championships and the women’s team participates in the Eastern College Athletic Conference Championships. Mahoney will race in the NCAA Championships on Nov. 19 at Louisville University, which will be his final race as a Temple Owl.
Avery Maehrer can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @AveryMaehrer.