Temple University track and field ended its regular season on Friday at the David Hemery Valentine Invitational. The meet was the Owls’ last until the American Athletic Conference Indoor Championships in two weeks.
“We wanted to leave here feeling full of confidence,” coach Elvis Forde said. “We ran extremely well, setting three new school records and against very impressive competition. That’s not easy to do. And those that didn’t set school records, they still had very good performances. Pretty much everybody had their seasonal-best performance this weekend so that’s a good indication that things are going well.”
Redshirt-senior Alanna Lally and junior Helene Gottlieb both competed in the 800-meter. Lally finished in 12th place with a time of two minutes, 6.35 seconds despite breaking the 10-year-old program record in the 800m. Victoria Gocht held the previous record with a time of 2 minutes, 7.05 seconds.
Gottlieb ran her fastest-ever time on an indoor track in the 800m with a time of 2 minutes, 7.98 seconds, finishing in 22nd place.
In the 213-person field in the 400-meter dash, sophomore Marissa White finished in 14th place with a time of 54.93 seconds. She also competed in the 200-meter dash, running a time of 24.95 seconds which put her in 28th place in a 295-person field.
Senior Millie Howard also broke a program record in the mile on Friday. She finished in ninth place with a time of 4 minutes, 36.37 seconds, taking 10 seconds off her previous best time and breaking Blanca Fernandez’s previous record. Fernandez ran a 4:40.60 in 2015.
“[Fernandez] helped to put our program on the map when she first got here,” Forde said. “We’ve always known that [Howard] has the wheels to do what [Fernandez] did, and it was a very impressive run. [Howard] has the same qualities as [Fernandez], but the results haven’t always been there. We’ve always believed that when we go to our conference meet and the NCAA meet that we’ve underperformed. Now that she’s a senior, our junior class can notice what her performance can possibly do for the rest of the year and that’s very vital for us moving forward.”
Junior Michelle Joyce broke a third program record late Friday night. In the 5000-meter, Joyce finished in 23rd place with a time of 16 minutes, 49.56 seconds. She dropped 26 seconds off her previous time and beat Katie Leisher’s previous record of 17:06 by 17 seconds.
“[Joyce] really did well,” Forde said. “When you break a record by 17 seconds, that’s a very difficult mark but that speaks on the quality of kids that we have here. That was a very, very impressive performance.”
The Owls will next look to the AAC Indoor Championships in two weeks at the Crossplex in Birmingham, Alabama.
“Two weeks isn’t a long time,” Forde said. “We want to keep our kids healthy over the next couple of weeks and really start tapering and trying to help them build more confidence in themselves because the key is how confident are they gonna be in themselves.”
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