Opening their season yesterday afternoon against two inter-city rivals, the Owls featured two first-place finishers at the Friend Invitational.
In the men’s 8k race, led by sophomore Cullen Davis, Temple won the event with a score of 24 points, defeating La Salle University and Saint Joseph’s University, who scored 31 and 85 points, respectively. Temple took second in the women’s 6k event, led by sophomore Jenna Dubrow, tallying 36 team points to La Salle’s 29 points. St. Joe’s women finished third with 63 team points.
Junior Will Kellar was the runner up in the men’s race, as he crossed the finish line 22 seconds after Davis, while sophomore Matt Kacyon ended in fourth place. Of the 28 runners who participated, five Owls finished inside of the Top 10. First-year cross country coach Adam Bray, who had never seen his athletes compete in a race before yesterday, had a plan going into the meet.
“Everyone was to try and run together through the first half of the race,” Bray said.” It was just kind of a controlled effort. And then for the last 3k of the race, they were allowed to go forth and put through the hard effort. So you were basically only racing the last 3k.”
Although this formula seemed to have worked, Bray believes race plans will differ throughout the season.
“Each race is specific to itself,” he said. “That one was really made for this race. Belmont is a tough course. It was our first meet of the year, and so I didn’t want the guys to go out there and go for broke from the beginning and then end up struggling in the end.”
“We have a couple young guys on the team,” Bray added. “And they just need to learn the ropes of it and get that first race under their belt and then go from there.”
The women, with the exception of Dubrow, utilized a similar plan in yesterday’s meet. Since Dubrow runs at a faster pace than the other women on the team, she was allowed to break away from the pack.
For Davis, among others on the team, running a race at the teams’ home course is something he looked forward to and enjoyed.
“It was nice to be able to run an actual race on it, instead of just practicing,” Davis said. “I felt we were all really prepared to run on it. Saint Joseph’s and La Salle practice on that course all the time also but I think the more we get on the course, the better prepared we’ll be for the [Atlantic 10 Conference Championships] later this season.”
The Friend Invitational was named after former Temple cross country member Roswell Friend, who committed suicide last year. Track and field head coach Eric Mobley plans to make host this event as an annual meet in Friend’s honor in the coming years. Senior Tonney Smith, who finished in sixth place behind Dubrow, is glad the team was able to tribute Friend in such a meaningful way.
“It was a good idea,” she said. “It was nice to run in honor and remembrance of Roswell. He was a nice addition to the team for cross country and track as well.”
The Owls will continue their season on Sept. 28 at the Paul Short Invitational, hosted by Lehigh University.
Avery Maehrer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.