Senior Mike May led the cross country team in Saturday’s A-10 tournament.
The men’s and women’s cross country teams both faced significant adversity coming into the Atlantic Ten Conference championships, but that didn’t stop them from posting their best times to date.
Senior Mike May finished ninth overall, and freshman Stephanie Dorantes finished 74th overall to lead the Owls to one of their best showings in tournament history.
May completed the 8K race with a time of 24 minutes, 54 seconds, placing him on the all-conference team for the second year in a row. Last year, he became the first Temple runner to ever hold that honor. Senior Eddie Penetar, who came in 16th with a time of 25:07, missing all-conference honors by two seconds, followed May.
“It was a real good performance on the men’s side,” assistant coach Matt Jelley said. “Most of the men in the race had their personal best times.”
Juniors Travis Mahoney, Ben Thomas, Geoff Barletta and Dan Carreon finished 41st, 62nd, 64th and 76th respectively, while freshman Will Kellar came in 72nd in his first ever A-10 championship. The men finished 8th overall.
Dorantes led the women with a time of 19:35 in the 5K race. She was followed by freshman Sarah Rutter, who finished 75th with a time of 19:39. Senior Rebecca Mims, who is the team’s usual No. 1 runner, ran with a foot injury and could not lift off like she normally can. She finished in 82nd with a time of 20:05.
“I thought [the freshmen] did a great job,” Jelley said. “Our No. 1 girl was out, and we still ran a solid race despite the injury.”
The women finished 13th overall for the second year in a row, but improved on a player-to-player basis. The Owls’ average time per runner was 20:03, 47 seconds better than the previous best average. And other than Mims, all the girls in the Top 7 posted their best times ever. Sophomore Katherine Frank, senior Briana Linneman, sophomore Rayna Kratchman and freshman Taylor Goldsworthy finished in 86th, 88th, 89th and 90th, respectively.
“Our goal all along is to consistently improve,” Jelley said. “We thought with Mims healthy we could have moved up a place, but I can’t complain with them running so much faster than they ever have. They really stepped up.”
Along with the women’s team, the men’s team also proved it could respond in the face of adversity, Jelley said.
“It’s kind of hitting it on all cylinders at the right time,” Jelley said. “Unfortunately two of our Top 5 guys were sick last week, and if they ran what they’re capable of, I think we could have finished fifth or sixth. I think we definitely had more potential in there.”
On the men’s side, Richmond won the championship, with senior Andrew Benford posting the tournament’s best time. Duquesne and Massachusetts rounded out the Top 3, respectively, with defending champion Dayton falling to fourth place.
“We have a competitive conference,” Jelley said. “For a lot of the meets we go to, only one or two teams are good, but at the conference championships, not only is every team that’s there good, but everybody’s at the top of their game.”
For the women, Richmond took the title as well, with senior Nicol Traynor registering the best overall time. La Salle and Dayton placed second and third, respectively.
“[The A-10 Championship] is definitely one of the most important [meets],” Jelley said. “If you qualify for regionals, you go to nationals, which we haven’t been at that level yet. But those two are up there with our main goals for the season. Everything else is just leading up to and preparing for that.”
Joey Cranney can be reached at email@example.com.