It's no surprise that Villanova and Penn are represented at the NCAA Track and Field Championships, which get under way tonight at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa.

It seems there are always Wildcats and Quakers there.

But Owls? Temple?

Before long jumper Tim Boeni qualified last year, you'd have to go back to 1994 to find "Temple" listed among the entrants at the meet.

And now this year there are two "Temples" competing, and one, 3,000-meter steeplechaser Travis Mahoney, is seeded second in his event.

"It's amazing that I'm one of three guys [to represent Temple] in the last 15 years," said Mahoney, a junior from Old Bridge, N.J. "I like it when no one knows who you are."

The other Owl is hammer thrower Bob Keogh, a senior from Archbishop Wood High.

"It's the first time I'm going to the NCAAs and the last time," said Keogh, who was a discus thrower in high school and became a hammer man in college. "It's fantastic that two people are representing Temple."

Mahoney's best time of 8:36.10 puts him behind only Louisville's Matt Hughes' 8:35.74 among the 24 steeplechase entrants. Both ran those times at the Eastern Regional meet at Bloomington, Ind., during the Memorial Day weekend.

"[This year] I beat my PR [personal record] by 14 seconds and then by 19 seconds, and now I'm number two in the nation," Mahoney said in amazement.

The semifinals in the steeplechase are tonight, with the 12-man final on Friday night. Mahoney's parents are flying to Des Moines for tonight's race, but then have to fly home for their daughter's senior prom.

"They won't be back if I'm in the final, but they'll have a party watching it at home," he said.

Keogh's parents began driving from their home in Willow Grove last night to see him compete in both trials and, hopefully, finals tomorrow.

"It hasn't really hit me yet," Keogh said. "I'm trying to stay calm and focused and then plan to be a head case before I throw."

Two from Penn

Sophomore Leslie Kovach is entered in the women's 5,000-meter race Friday night. She's seeded 18th in the 24-women field . . . Freshman high jumper Maalik Reynolds, the Penn Relays champion in the event, is the other Quaker entrant.

And four from Villanova

Sheila Reid will run both the 1,500 and 5,000 meters for Villanova, with teammate Bogdana Mimic joining her in the longer race; both are seeded below Kovach. Reid is the second seed in the 1,500 . . . Matthew Gibney, who anchored the Wildcats' winning distance medley relay champs at the Penn Relays, will run the men's 1,500 meters, and Shericka Ward is entered in the women's 100-meter hurdles.

All the Penn and Villanova athletes open competition tomorrow night.