Candus Burks and Kayla Nesbitt-McEwen had to wait about an hour longer than expected to compete at the Penn Relays on Friday.
The Temple University sophomore jumpers started the track and field team’s Friday slate at Franklin Field with the triple jump after a nearly hour-long morning rain delay. The Owls then ran in the 4-x-200-meter Championship of America Invitational in the afternoon.
Despite the rain, weather didn’t affect the Owls’ performances, coach Elvis Forde said. Both Burks and Nesbitt-McEwen finished in the top 10. Burks set a personal record on her first jump, earning a medal for her fourth-place 11.77-meter mark. Nesbitt-McEwen finished seventh with a top attempt of 11.71 meters.
“[Nesbitt-McEwen] seemed a little bit tense today and was pressing too hard to do well,” Forde said. “Sometimes when you’re trying so hard it just doesn’t happen. That was her case in the triple jump but [Burks] had a great day.”
The 4-x-200 relay team of sophomore sprinter and hurdler Sydney Williams, sophomore sprinter Mallorie Smith, freshman sprinter Marissa White and junior sprinter Madison Beecher placed fifth in their heat and 16th overall.
The relay squad, which was affected by injury, finished 16th with a time of one minute, 40.28 seconds.
White ran at roughly 75 percent health, which impacted the team’s performance, Forde said.
“In the four by two, we started off well, but we also have to admit that the injury bug has caught up to us,” Forde said. “[WIlliams] gave us a good leadoff leg, and then [Smith] ran a good leg to kind of keep us going. But with Marissa, you could see that she wasn’t at full speed.”
White was scheduled to be part of Temple’s squad in the sprint medley relay Championship of America Invitational race, but Temple opted not to run in the event after an evening weather delay. Beecher, Smith and sophomore Helene Gottlieb were also supposed to run in the SMR.
With next month’s American Athletic Conference championships approaching, Forde saw today as a step in the right direction for his team.
“We’ve had a good weekend so far,” Forde said. “It’s just injuries. Sydney, Mallorie and Madison all ran well today, so we’ve got positives all around us right now. I got to give them credit where credit’s due and praise them when they deserve it. …I can’t be disappointed. It’s just that being a competitive person myself, we want our athletes to shine the most out of everyone.”
The Owls are scheduled to compete in three events on Saturday, the final day of the Penn Relays. Sophomore Aisha Brown will compete in the high jump championship at 10 a.m. and the 4-x-400 relay final at 5:25 p.m.
Gottlieb, senior mid-distance runner Ashton Dunkley, sophomore mid-distance runner McKenzie Gelvin and junior mid-distance runner Millie Howard will compete in the 4-x-800 relay at 1:15 p.m.