Blanca Fernandez finished atop the field for the second consecutive meet, winning the individual title at the Main Line Invite at Haverford College Friday.
The senior led the field of 75 with a personal best time of 16 minutes, 27 seconds. Fernandez defeated six-time all-American Angel Piccirillo of Villanova, who finished in second place with a time of 16:30.
Last week, Fernandez was named the American Athletic Conference Player of the Week after a first place finish at the Big Five Invitational.
As a team, Temple finished fourth out of six teams.
“It was a good opportunity for the women especially to get in the most competitive race we’ve seen all year,” assistant coach James Snyder said. “La Salle was a team that beat us last week at the Philly Five and we took them down today.”
Sophomore Katie Pinson placed 32nd with a personal-best time of 18:10. Freshman Maddie Bixler, who had a ninth place in her first college meet at the Duquesne Duals, placed inside the Top 40 with a time of 18:37. Freshman Katie Leisher and junior Megan Schneider rounded out Temple’s five best finishers with times of 19:14 and 19:18, respectively.
Snyder said the freshmen have been making strides three meets into the season.
“They’ve been doing well,” Snyder said. “Anytime you come in freshman year, it’s always a big adjustment. You’re not only the top girl on the team, but now you’re not the top girl in the race. But as a group we’re moving in the right direction.”
Even though Fernandez is also in her first season of cross country at Temple, she is impressed by how hard the freshmen have put in work during practice and how they’ve matured into a different level of competition.
“The first season is always crazy,” Fernandez said. “I think they have been doing a pretty good job handling themselves. They will grow up,”
Mark McCormick can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org