Behind the stands of the Temple Sports Complex, isolated from the track, is an open field where Temple’s only javelin thrower practices.
Sophomore Cortlyn Raynes has had to manage a new school and an increase in athletic competition, with the added pressure of being the sole member of her team to compete in the javelin event.
After the 2015-16 academic year, Raynes transferred to Temple from Ithaca College, which has a Division III track & field program. She earned second-team all-Empire 8 Conference honors for her 34.3-meter throw during the 2016 outdoor season.
The jump to Division I has been a challenge for Raynes, but it’s a challenge she’s willing to take on.
“Being a part of something bigger really intrigued me,” Raynes said. “Going from D-III to D-I was exciting because I never had the athletic background that goes with the typical D-I athlete.”
Raynes is the only javelin thrower on coach Elvis Forde’s roster, so she often has to practice alone. Forde commends Raynes’ work ethic and willingness to embrace the task of transitioning to a D-I athlete, despite having to work with Raynes’ practice situation.
Raynes is the only javelinist Forde has coached since joining the Owls in August 2014.
“She’s a hard worker and still has some growing to do,” Forde said. “She’s a good student of the sport, which makes training sessions easier because she communicates on what she wants to do better.”
“It can be challenging at times,” Raynes said. “Coach Forde hasn’t had a thrower yet, so the two of us are working out the practice situation together.”
Raynes said she used the indoor season to train for the outdoor season, as she didn’t do much competing because there weren’t any javelin events during the indoor competitions.
She ran the 60-meter dash at the Lehigh Season Opener on Dec. 2, finishing the race in 9.03 seconds to place 32nd. The following week, she competed in the shot put at the Seahawk Shootout in Staten Island, New York. Raynes won her flight but finished 25th overall.
She made her javelin debut at the Joe Walker Invitational on March 24 in Oxford, Mississippi. She finished eighth out of 20 competitors with a 32.18-meter javelin throw.
Raynes was scheduled to compete in the javelin at the Colonial Relays, hosted by the College of William & Mary, on March 31 and April 1, but the event was canceled. She said she can improve from her performance in her first javelin event and will treat the outdoor season as a chance to constantly progress.
“It’s going to get better,” Raynes said. “I’ve started off rough, but I know that it has been awhile since I’ve been competing.”
“She has some skill sets that will allow her to continue to develop and help our program,” Forde said. “When you’re in a competitive atmosphere, you’re always looking for results. But sometimes, the results don’t always come as fast. From her vantage point, it’ll be a learning process.”
Forde has been recruiting more throwers for the 2018 season. He said when he first arrived, the coaching staff wanted to focus on the team’s strengths. Now it’s time to “branch out,” he said. Raynes won’t have to practice alone next year.
Raynes thought her transition to D-I was going to be difficult. But now that she has grown more comfortable, she said her main goal is to improve and help pioneer Forde’s javelin program.
“Looking back on everything I’ve accomplished since the beginning of the season, I’m proud of the progress I’ve made,” Raynes said.
Addison Hunsicker can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.