Coming off his first race in nearly two seasons, redshirt-senior Travis Mahoney won the Leopard Invitational at Lafayette University today, leading the men’s team to a third place finish overall. On the women’s side, sophomore Jenna Dubrow led the team for the ninth consecutive race dating back to her freshman debut last year, while also setting a new personal best time of 21:28.
“Any time you win a race, it’s tremendous,” first-year Temple coach Adam Bray said. “It shows where [Mahoney] is at, and it shows that his skill level is right up there with some of the best of them. He raced very smart, and he followed our plan of getting ahead and eventually making a move to try and win the race.”
Mahoney’s strong performance today is one that Bray says will help the team in more than one way.
“It’s a big deal for [sophomore Cullen Davis] and the rest of the other guys, because it shows that they can go out there and win some races if they put in the time and trust their talent and commitment. [Mahoney’s first-place finish] is exciting for these guys to see. It’s something they need to see.”
One problem on the women’s team during the Paul Short Invitational, was a significant gap between Dubrow and Temple’s second best finisher sophomore Chelsea Carleton, who finished 100 spots behind her. Bray predicted that with junior Anna Pavone and freshman Christin Bettis making their season debuts this week returning from injuries, that gap would lessen. It did, as Pavone placed 21st with a time of 22:17, and Bettis finished 39th with a time of 22:52.
“I didn’t really know what to expect,” Pavone said. “I have been going to practices and workouts, but I didn’t know what kind of cross country shape I was in. I think I went out a little too fast in the beginning miles, but ended up with a huge [personal record] so I’m happy with how I did, and I felt really good.”
“We all got really big PRs today,” Pavone added. “I think the new training is working. Everyone did really well today, and I’m happy with how everyone did.”
The Owls will return to action on Oct. 27 for their final Atlantic 10 Championship before moving to the Big East Conference next season.
“All we can do is try to get better each week,” Bray said. “Each time we race, and each time we practice we’re just trying to get better. They’re getting better and showing improvement. You’re only going to show so much improvement each time.”
“But the cool thing about this team is that they are making those leaps and bounds, and that comes from confidence,” Bray added. “They walked away from the race today a little more confident than at Lehigh. Hopefully in two weeks, we walk away from the A-10 meet, whatever the result is, with a little more confidence.