The Owls set milestones on and off the track. continue.
Distance coach Matt Jelley said he is greatly enjoying his fifth season coaching Temple track.
That can be attributed to a much-improved Temple squad for both the men’s and women’s teams, especially distance events.
“This is the best [women’s team] we’ve ever had, at least during my tenure,” Jelley said.
It’s hard to argue with Jelley’s claim. The women’s distance medley relay has been the big story thus far this season. The relay, comprised of freshmen Jenna Dubrow and Michelle Davis Timothy, junior Tonney Smith and graduate senior Tamisha Stevens, took third at the Penn State National Invitational with a time of 11 minutes and 59.73 seconds, good for Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference qualification. The time also shattered the previous DMR school record, set in 1982.
Dubrow has proven to be a key recruit. Along with her contribution to the DMR, she also pushed her personal record in the 3,000 meter-run to 10:07 at the Tribute to Torpey Invitational at the University of Rhode Island, and grabbed second place.
Sophomore Anna Pavone ran a 5:14 mile time at URI coming off of an injury, and will look to contribute going forward. Middle distance runner Victoria Gocht, also a sophomore, crossed at 2:16.53 in the 800 meter for third place, adding another great race to a solid 2011-12 campaign.
“It’s been a work in progress,” Jelley said. “Each year we’ve been able to improve the recruiting class and also develop the girls that were already here.”
Recruiting has helped the Owls in recent years. An influx of young talent has turned this once middle of the road women’s squad into a legitimate force in the Atlantic Ten Conference.
“Recruiting is huge,” Jelley said. “If the distance team had all walk-on runners, it would be hard to get anyone to want to run for us. They’re seeing how much our girls have improved and how much the program has improved, and now we’re starting to get those looks from higher profile recruits.”
With their regular season schedule ending last week at Rhode Island, the primary focus is now on the postseason, with both the A-10 championships and the ECAC championships quickly approaching.
“We cover more areas and have more depth as a team than we ever have before going into the A-10 championships,” Jelley said. “We have a legitimate chance to win [the A-10 championship] this year and that’s what we’re going after. We want to score everywhere and we want to win the meet.”
“I think we have the tools to do it,” Jelley added. “It’s something we’ve talked about as a staff. When we look at this team and see all that we have to offer, we all feel that we’re in a good position to win the meet.”
Drew Parent can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.