The men’s track and field team placed a program-best second place as well.
The men’s and women’s track and field teams, led by some record-breaking performances, finished second and first, respectively, in the Atlantic Ten Conference Outdoor Track Championships.
After entering the second day in fourth place, the women finished with 143.5 points, which topped Dayton’s 138 points and Charlotte’s 137 points en route to the program’s first-ever outdoor conference championship. The men, who led after the first day, finished second overall with 139 points. Charlotte, which also won the Indoor Championships in February, was first with 234 points. The second-place finish was the highest-ever conference placement for the program.
The women’s relay teams set two meet records during the weekend. The 4×800-meter squad comprised of junior Shadaya Bennett, junior Tashima Stephens, freshman Tonney Smith and freshman Victoria Gocht finished first with a time of 8 minutes, 48.36 seconds, which beat the meet record of 8:53.79 set last year by Charlotte. The 4×400-meter team finished first with a time of 3:41:56, which narrowly eclipsed the meet record of 3:41:88 set two years ago by Charlotte.
“You always hope that they can realize their potential,” Temple coach Eric Mobley said. “[The relay teams] went out there and did it. I’m real excited about that, and I couldn’t be more happy for them. I thought that to go out and do it at the championship meet was huge.”
The women also turned in quality individual performances. Senior Christiana Taylor won the women’s long jump and women’s 200-meter dash. She finished in the Top 5 in four additional events.
Junior Paris Williams won the women’s 400-meter dash with a time of 54.71 seconds. Williams also finished seventh in the 200-meter dash with a time of 24.85 seconds.
The men’s relay team, in an attempt to keep up with the women, finished second in the 4×100-meter relay. The team, made up of junior Miles Dryden, senior Tim Boeni, senior Daniel Lynch and junior Emmanual Freeland, finished in 40.76 seconds, slightly off Charlotte’s 40.6 second-mark.
The Temple men dominated in the hammer throw event. Senior Grant West (59 meters), junior Robert Keogh (58.23 meters) and senior Bryce Buffaloe (57.56 meters) finished first, second and third in the competition. Buffaloe’s previous personal best was 55.19 meters, which he set at the Golden Ram Collegiate Invitation in March.
“[The hammer throw competition] was just amazing,” Mobley said. “I think the next couple of guys behind them were five to 10 centimeters behind. They’ve been dominating like that all year.”
Freeland came in second in the men’s 100-meter dash with a time of 10.60 seconds, narrowly losing to Charlotte sophomore Sam Jordan’s time of 10.57 seconds. Virginia Tech’s Andre Davis set the meet record in 1999 at 10.24 seconds. Davis would later go on to play in the National Football League with the Cleveland Browns, St. Louis Rams, Buffalo Bills and his current team, the Houston Texans.
Senior Josue Louis set a meet record in the high jump at 2.14 meters. Unfortunately for Louis, Massachusetts senior Brian Miller also cleared 2.14 meters, and he did it on his first try, which meant Louis was relegated to second place.
Boeni also finished first in the men’s long jump with a meet record jump of 7.69 meters. Charlotte sophomore Dewayne Chandler came in second with a jump of 7.2 meters. UMass sophomore Daniel Wu came in third at 7.15 meters.
Following the events, Mobley became the first Temple coach to be named the A-10 Women’s Coach of the Year. Gocht also garnered A-10 Women’s Rookie of the Year honors and became the first Temple athlete to do so since Aderonke Adeniyi did it in 2002.
“It’s a huge honor,” Mobley said. “I don’t think that I could have gotten the award without the rest of my coaching staff.”
What made the performances particularly satisfying was the different ways that Temple accumulated points, Mobley said.
“We left everything out on the track,” Mobley said. “I could not be more proud of my team. They came from behind in races. They led from the front in races. They did everything … It was just an overall great team effort. We got points from people that weren’t on the list very high going in. Then they go in and score in the Top 3 or Top 5 and get us points.”
The conference championships may be over, but both the men’s and women’s squads have tournaments in the near future. The women will participate in the Eastern College Athletic Conference Championships at Princeton University on May 14-16. The men will participate at the Intercollegiate Association of Amateur Athletes of America, also at Princeton University, from May 14-16.
Kyle Gauss can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.