It has been a breakout year for track and field teams, and they said they hope to continue the momentum on a national stage at the Penn Relays this week.
“I’d say that it’s been a breakout year,” distance coach Matt Jelley said. “In the distance events, we just keep getting better and better.”
Women’s track and field has had two Top 5 overall finishes in seven events this year. The team hasn’t finished outside the Top 15. Senior hurdles runner Assata Cowart set the Temple all-time record for the 1K run in January and senior distance runner Sarah Rutter set the Temple record for the 3K run.
“We’re a strong squad in the [400 and 800 meter run],” Jelley said. “On the girls side, across the board, we’re a pretty well-rounded team.”
The 2010 Atlantic Ten Conference Women’s Rookie of the Year, sophomore mid-distance runner Victoria Gocht, will head to the Penn Relays for the second year in a row to compete in the 800 after posting a team-best of 2 minutes, 12.38 seconds in the same event last week.
“We have a bunch of 800 runners who are doing excellent led by [Gocht], who is coming off an injury and doing an excellent job,” Jelley said.
The men’s track and field team has had six Top 5 performances in seven events this year. Junior distance runner Travis Mahoney has gained national attention for his performance in the 3K steeplechase.
“The standout would be [Mahoney],” Jelley said. “He ran an 8:41.6 [in the steeplechase], which is the second fastest time in the country this year, which qualifies him for the regional qualifiers and qualifies him for USA’s.”
Another standout on the men’s side is senior thrower Bob Keogh, who broke the Temple record for the hammer throw earlier this month.
“[Keogh’s] having an incredible season,” Jelley said. “He’s broken the school record four or five times. It seems like every time he goes out, he breaks the school record.”
“Not only does he do well on a performance basis, but he also is a great leader,” Jelley added. “He ended up helping the younger guys and girls. He’s been like a player-coach for us.”
Mahoney and Keogh have a chance to display their talents on a larger stage at the Penn Relays. Keogh will compete in the hammer throw and Mahoney will run the 1,200-meter leg of the distance medley.
The Penn Relays represent a dual opportunity for the Owls’ track and field teams. It is an opportunity for the teams to display their talent to a national audience and finish their seasons on high notes.
“The only time we’ve competed indoors, we finished fifth overall out of 88 teams, which is why we want to go and compete against the best teams in the country and show them what Temple is all about,” Jelley said.