Temple University track and field left the American Athletic Conference championships with mixed feelings.
The Owls did not improve last year’s result and finished 10th at the conference meet in Birmingham, Alabama on Friday and Saturday. Last year, Temple finished in sixth place, the best in program history.
“We left a lot of points on the track that should be added on to our scores,” coach Elvis Forde said. “We’re somewhat disappointed in our other kids because we expected them to score more points. That part hurts because they’re more talented than that, but that’s how we feel.”
Houston won the women’s conference championship with Cincinnati and Wichita State finishing second and third, respectively.
Sophomore mid-distance runner Helene Gottlieb, freshman sprinter Marissa White and sophomore high jumper Aisha Brown each recorded top-five finishes. However, Gottlieb was the only Temple athlete to earn a medal for a top-three result.
Junior distance runner Mille Howard finished eighth place in the mile and 800-meter race. Distance runners sophomore Michelle Joyce and senior Katie Leisher placed 12th and 15th in the 5000-meter run.
Gottlieb ran the mile in four minutes, 52 seconds to place third. She earned a bronze medal and all-conference honors for her finish.
In the 800-meter, Gottlieb won the silver medal with an indoor personal best time of 2:08.39 minutes.
“Helene ran five races this weekend, and still was our top performer,” Forde said. “The way she ran in the mile was fantastic, and then to see her come back in the 800 finish second was great. She executed and did her job and was rewarded for it.”
White entered the 400-meter sprint as the ninth overall seed but placed fourth in the event. White ran a personal best 55.20 seconds and finished less than one second behind third place.
“That is a tremendous accomplishment on her part,” Forde said. “I don’t really think she understands what she’s doing in the 400-meter yet. She knows what she wants. She dedicates herself and hopefully the other kids that, especially the sprinters, realize that.”
Brown battled through an injury to finish fifth in the high jump. Brown, who finished in sixth place in the high jump at the conference meet last year, injured her hamstring on Friday during warmups.
“Instead of being in fifth, she would’ve been in the top three in not for her injury,” Forde said. “But the way she competed has nothing to do with coaching. That’s to do with the drive of an athlete. You can’t coach drive and determination.”
With the indoor season completed, Temple will wait for the outdoor season to start on March 15 and 16 at the Charlotte 49ers Invitational in Charlotte, North Carolina.