Blanca Fernandez wins third race of year

Blanca Fernandez won Paul Short Run Friday with a time of 20 minutes, 27 seconds.

It was the Leon, Spain natives first 6K race win and third win in three races this season.

Fernandez, who defeated Connecticut’s Emily Durgin by two seconds, won the 4K Big 5 Invitational Sept. 11 and the Main Line Invitational Sept. 18

As a team, the Owls finished 29th out of 35 teams.

Sophomore Katie Pinson finished in 77th with a time of 21:50, topping her previous personal best time of 22:15 from last year’s NCAA Mid-Atlantic Regional Championship.

The other five Owls finished outside the Top 200.

Freshmen pair join cross country

Two freshmen have joined the men’s cross country team as walk-ons, coach James Snyder confirmed Tuesday.

Freshman Cody Cameron joined the team during the summer, while Chris Miller was added to the roster in mid-September. Both runners have redshirted for the season.

Also planning to redshirt is freshman Katie Hayes, Snyder said. Hayes suffered an ankle injury in high school that has yet to fully heal. Hayes ran in the beginning of the season, but spent most of her season recovering from the injury.

The team also looks to take advantage of the new signing period for cross country runners from Nov. 12-19.

This is the first year that the NCAA is opening up an early signing period. In the past, the signing period has started in February.

“They pushed the later period back into April and opened up a one-week window in November where we are able to sign prospective student athletes,” Snyder said.

For the Owls, Snyder feels that this can be beneficial as he thinks the coaching staff “does their homework.”

“In a program like we are, where we are kind of in a building process, trying to find out our identity, I think of it as a real distinct advantage,” Snyder said. “I like to think that between me, coach [Steve] Fuelling, coach [Elvis] Forde and coach [Shameka] Marshall, we do our homework on the front end of recruiting and identifying young men and women who we think are going to be really successful.”

“We kind of have the ability to swoop in and sign those kids early,” Snyder added, “before they end up being what we project them to be, where big school X says ‘Why don’t you come run for our school?’”

-Ed LeFurge III

Travel-heavy schedule awaits cross country

After a tumultuous eight-month period highlighted by the men’s indoor and outdoor track & field teams’ inclusion in the July 1 athletic cuts and a summer head coaching change, the men’s and women’s cross country teams are set to unveil its season next week.

The Owls will start their season at the Appalachian State University-hosted Covered Bridge Open in Boone, North Carolina on Aug. 29. The teams’ next meet will be the Big 5 Invitational on familiar grounds in Philadelphia’s Belmont Plateau.

The Owls will run in four meets before the American Athletic Conference Championships, hosted by Tulsa University on Oct. 31, followed by the NCAA Mid-Atlantic Regional at Penn State on Nov. 14, for any who qualify.

This year’s eight-man men’s team is compiled of five juniors, one sophomore and two freshmen.

The women’s team has more depth, featuring 12 runners including seniors Kiersten Brown, Jenna Dubrow and Andrea Mathis. The women’s team also features five true freshmen.

-Ed LeFurge

Forde hired as Temple track & field coach

Athletic communications confirmed Wednesday evening that Elvis Forde has been hired as Temple’s head coach of the men’s and women’s cross country programs, as well as the women’s indoor and outdoor track & field teams.

Forde spent the last 12 seasons as the Director of Track and Field for Illinois State University. The school opted not to renew Forde’s contract after the 2013-2014 season.

“We would like to thank Elvis for his dedication to our cross country and track and field teams,” Illinois State Director of Athletics Larry Lyons told WJBC Radio in Illinois. “While we have had some special individual performances during Elvis’ term, overall team results were not where we expect or need them to be.”

Forde will replace former coach Eric Mobley (2008-14), who resigned effective June 30.

“I am very excited to be selected to lead the Temple Track and Field/Cross Country programs,” Forde said, via press release. “I want to thank [athletic director Kevin Clark] along with [senior associate athletic director Joe Guinta]. Temple University is a highly-regarded academic institution and it has the potential to be a tremendous track program.”

“It also is in its second year in the highly competitive American Athletic Conference,” Forde added. “That combination should help attract quality student-athletes that will make for a successful program.”

Mobley’s six-year tenure as head coach of the men’s and women’s cross country and track & field programs was highlighted by his leading the women’s track & field team to its first-ever Atlantic 10 Outdoor Track and Field Championship title. Mobley also won A-10 Coach of the Year that season.

-Ed LeFurge

Cross country hires new assistant

Following an unprecedented summer of coaching hires, Temple’s track & field and cross country program has hired one more fresh face to its revamped staff in Grand Valley State University graduate Aaron Watson.

In what was an impending move for weeks, Watson has joined the staff as an assistant to distance coach James Snyder, it was announced via athletic communications Tuesday.

Watson worked as a volunteer distance coach at Grand Valley State for the past three seasons, and oversaw a women’s team that took two cross country NCAA Division II championships in 2010 and 2012 as well as back-to-back NCAA indoor titles in 2011 and 2012.

Watson was a member of Grand Valley State’s track and cross country programs briefly in 2008-09 and did not run, redshirting in all three seasons.

Watson is a USA track & field Level I Certified coach and graduated from Grand Valley State with a bachelor’s degree in sport management in 2012.

Cross country schedule released

The men’s and women’s cross country 2013 schedule was released Tuesday with approximately five weeks until the season kicks off in Bethlehem, Pa. on Aug. 31 at the Lehigh Invitational.

The Paul Short Invitational on Oct. 5 will mark the second trip to Lehigh in five weeks, while some runners may potentially take a third trip up the Northeast Extension Nov. 15 to partake in the NCAA Mid-Atlantic Regional Championship at host-school Lehigh, pending individual qualification.

The University of Connecticut will host the inaugural American Athletic Conference Championship on Nov. 5.

8/31/2013 Lehigh Invitational Lehigh University (Bethlehem, Pa.)   Details
9/13/2013 Friend Big 5 Invitational (Hosted by Temple University) Belmont Plateau (Philadelphia, Pa.)   Details
10/5/2013 Paul Short Invitational Lehigh University (Bethlehem, Pa.)   Details
10/19/2013 Leopard Invitational Lafayette College (Easton, Pa.)   Details
11/2/2013 American Athletic Conference Championship University of Connecticut (Storrs, Conn.)   Details
11/15/2013 NCAA Mid-Atlantic Regional Championship Lehigh University (Bethlehem, Pa.)   Details
11/23/2013 IC4A Championship Van Courtland Park (Bronx, N.Y.)   Details
11/23/2013 NCAA Championship Indiana State University (Terre Haute, Ind.)   Details

Cross country hires new coach

Temple cross country will once again introduce a new face in charge of leading the team as it gets set for a new season.

Track & field coach Eric Mobley announced Wednesday that Philadelphia-area native James Snyder is the program’s latest hire, taking the position of assistant cross country and track & field coach.

Although he will not be given the title of cross country head coach yet, Snyder will handle the day-to-day coaching responsibilities for the men’s and women’s cross country teams, as well as the distance teams come track & field season, per a Temple Athletic Communications press release.

Snyder was a multiple letter winner for George Mason’s cross country and track & field teams, and is a magna cum laude graduate in exercise science. He earned his master’s degree in exercise science from Appalachian State University while also serving as a graduate assistant with the school’s cross country and track & field programs for two years.

The Downingtown, Pa. native is coming off a season working for Florida State University’s cross country and track & field program as the operations assistant, handling various administrative duties such as planning team travel, managing equipment budgets and coordinating on-campus recruiting.

Snyder is currently a USA Track & Field level I and II endurance coach and was selected to participate in the first Coaches Mentorship Program held during the 2012 Olympic Track & Field Trials.

The press release also mentioned some of Snyder’s recent pursuits in researching sport science and distance runner performance. It said that Snyder has presented his findings before the American College of Sports Medicine and the National Strength & Conditioning Association and has circulated his findings in various publications.

Snyder will be the third Temple coach to handle the cross country coaching duties in three seasons despite being the first to not hold the official title as cross country head coach.

A 2013 schedule release for cross country is still pending.

An updated version of this story can be found here.

Former track star advances in track and field championships

On Friday, Travis Mahoney certainly proved he can perform on the big stage.

The former Temple cross country and track & field member advanced to the final of the 3,000-meter steeplechase in the USA Track and Field Championships in Des Moines, IO, crossing with a mark of 8:38.67 and a sixth place finish overall. Mahoney placed top-5 in his heat, giving him the nod for a spot in the final on Sunday.

After a four-plus year running career as a Temple standout, Mahoney took his talents to the national stage this past year, running for the NJ/NY track & field club and other various track & field events around the country.

Mahoney racked up numerous individual awards in a Temple jersey, including seven Atlantic-10 Conference individual championships, three A-10 three A-10 Outstanding Performer of the Year awards, Mid-Atlantic Athlete of the Year and three NCAA All-American titles.

The steeplechase final will represent Mahoney’s first crack at a USA track & field championship race, and will start Sunday at 4:55 p.m. ET

Bray resigns to take job at Pittsburgh

Adam Bray has resigned from his positions as head coach of the cross country team and assistant coach to the men’s and women’s track & field teams, coach Eric Mobley said Sunday.

Formerly the Owls’ distance coach, Bray left Temple after accepting a full-time distance coaching position with the University of Pittsburgh in January.

The position will remain vacated for the remainder of the spring season.

“He was only part-time here,” Mobley said. “I’m coaching them right now, and we’ll open the search up for the fall at the end of outdoor season.”

Bray’s departure marked the second distance coaching change in roughly four months for Mobley’s Owls after former distance coach Matt Jelley also left Temple for greener pastures in August, accepting a full-time distance coaching position with the University of Maryland.

“[The distance team] has undergone the most changes with losing their coach in the fall and losing another coach in the middle of the indoor season,” Mobley said. “They’ve done very well with the coaching changes. They’ve really gotten together and focused on the running and not worrying about the stuff that was outside of their control. “

-Andrew Parent

Mahoney an All-American

Redshirt senior Travis Mahoney placed 37th today at the NCAA Championships in Louisville, becoming the first Temple All-American in cross country history.

 Mahoney, who is the Atlantic 10 Conference champion and Mid-Atlantic regional champion, finished today’s 10k race with a time of 28:59.6. He has previously earned All-American honors twice before for performances in track and field.
Being the last event of the season, Mahoney has now concluded his collegiate running career. He had previously voiced a desire to win the conference, regionals, and to become an All-American in cross country. Mahoney has achieved all three of those goals.
-Avery Maehrer