Temple ran the Lehigh Invitational as if it was just another daily workout rather than its race debut Saturday.
Donning training shoes instead of the usual racing spikes, both of Temple’s teams stuck together in packs of three or four throughout the race and ran the six-kilometer Lehigh course at a controlled, pre-determined pace.
“[Coach James Snyder] wanted to break it down into three 2k stretches,” senior runner Will Kellar said. “The first 2k was a [five minute, 20 second] mile pace and controlled, the second 2k we slowed it down a little and were running a tempo at that point and the last 2k we were going to go faster, hammer it out and finish hard.”
Kellar (21:12.85), sophomore Owen Glatts (21:12.91) and sophomore Will Maltin (21:13) all crossed as a group while junior Alex Izewski followed up seconds behind at 21:18 for the men.
Senior Anna Pavone took the top spot for the women’s side, placing 22nd overall with a time of 23:57.74. Sophomores Jenna Dubrow (24:33.21) and Janie Augustyn (24:52.44) followed, while the pack of freshmen Gwen Porter (26:24.68), Maria Papacostas (26:24.84) and Rachel Flynn 26:25.40 rounded out Temple’s Top 6.
“I was really pleased with both performances today, specifically in our ability to group up and run as a pack,” Snyder said. “We had four guys on the men’s team finish within six seconds of one another. That’s what we wanted to do.”
“[Pavone] had a jump,” Snyder added. “She’s the most fit right now and she had a great race. [Dubrow] and [Augustyn] ran really well and then the pack of [Porter], [Papacostas], and [Flynn] I was also really pleased with. For Janie, this was kind of a coming out party for her because she’s struggled with some injuries in the past, but she was right back in the mix today.”
While running a tempo pace in a race might sound unorthodox to some, senior Will Kellar has taken a liking to Snyder’s strategy of gradually working toward the bigger meets in October instead of having the team race full-out early in the season.
“It was a different kind of race for us,” Kellar said. “We just wore training shoes and treated it as a glorified workout. That was cool to do in the beginning of the season, and especially because we’re not ready for a race yet. It was nice.
“It was pretty new for me,” Kellar added. “I personally always wanted to try something like this because these races in September don’t mean anything. It’s new and I like it a lot, it’s a good tactic. Hopefully it’ll pay off if everything goes right.”
Though Saturday’s test was more focused on getting the work in more so than the time, Snyder feels his group continued to take steps in the right direction in Temple’s first meet of the season.
“I’m excited about both of those groups,” Snyder said. “We‘re moving in the right direction. It was a great place to gage our fitness and we’re looking forward to being back here in a month for the Paul Short Invitational [on Oct. 5]. Hopefully we’ll be running a whole lot faster and beating a lot more teams by then. That’s the plan moving forward. Its’ Aug. 31 and the meets don’t matter until it’s October and November, so we have plenty of time to get fit and move forward.”
Andrew Parent can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @daParent93.