After committing to training schedule, the Owls chase A-10 title.
The men’s track and field team is coming off a 14th place finish at the Intercollegiate Association of Amateur Athletes of America Championships and is looking to start to reach unprecedented heights this outdoor season.
In the Philadelphia Big 5 Invitational held March 24, distance runner Travis Mahoney started his senior season off with a bang, running the 800-meter event in a time of one minute, 53.80 seconds, earning him first-place. Sophomore hurdler Josh McFrazier also earned a first-place time of 14.65 seconds in the 110-meter hurdles.
Coach Eric Mobley said he is content with the team’s first meet and is eyeing a successful remainder of the year for his athletes.
“It was a good beginning to the season,” Mobley said. “We had some solid performances. Before the meet we had a couple of really good weeks of training, and we continue to train at a high level. I see them performing very well going forward.”
The team followed up its debut with a second-place finish at the Maryland Invitational on Saturday, March 31.
Junior Damian Myers, who is in his first year with the team, sees bright spots in Temple’s program.
“Compared to my other teams, this one is definitely stronger,” Myers said. “The training we do here is really tough, but I feel really prepared going to each meet. I’m just excited about what’s happening here.”
Some of last year’s team members are pointing out improvements to the group’s newfound sense of unity. Sophomore sprinter Alex McGee, who hopes to qualify for NCAA regionals and nationals, said the team is coming together much stronger than it did last season.
“We’re more cohesive as a team,” McGee said. “We have a lot of good team chemistry, and we’re behind each other a lot. We weren’t last year. We have a lot of good, talented people. We have people going to the Olympics. We have people going everywhere. So there’s nothing holding us back this year.”
Although the 2011 team established two All-Americans in senior Travis Mahoney and the now graduated Bob Keogh, the Owls failed to improve upon their 2010 program best second-place finish at the A-10 Championship. Many, including senior thrower Brian Littlepage, are looking to finally nab a first-place victory this season.
“Honestly, we all have one goal in common, and that’s to win the [Atlantic Ten Championship],” Littlepage said. “That’s where I see us at – winning it and bringing home the title.”
With a grin, Littlepage then added, “I’m trying to get a ring on my finger.”
If Mobley’s assessment of the team is correct, a ring for Littlepage might not be out of the question.
“It’s a really, really good team,” Mobley said. “We cover a lot of bases. We have some guys that elevated themselves from indoors to a higher level – to an NCAA caliber level. It’s comparable with some of our best teams since we’ve been here.”
Avery Maehrer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.