Forde’s squad competes in last meet before conference championships

Graduate runner Blanca Fernandez ran her first race of the season on Saturday at the David Hemery Valentine Invitational in Boston, Massachusetts, the Owls’ final regular season meet.

Junior sprinter and jumper Bionca St. Fleur transferred her success from last year to this year in the David Hemery Valentine Invitational in Boston, Massachusetts, the final regular season meet for the Owls.

Last year, St. Fleur ran the Valentine Invitational and set a new school record in the 200-meter with a time of 24 seconds, 30 milliseconds. This year, the Boston native broke her own record by seven milliseconds to take 10th place in the event.

She was not the only athlete to find success at this competitive meet, as four athletes placed in the top 10 of their event.

Freshman sprinter and hurdler Sylvia Wilson had the best finish for the Owls, coming in first of 91 competitors in the 60 hurdles with a time of 8.47 seconds. This is a new personal record for Wilson, breaking her previous school record.

“I have to give a lot of credit to Sylvia,” coach Elvis Forde said. “She has very gutsy performances and she is a very strong-willed person. She has done a fantastic job.”

Junior hurdler Simone Brownlee and junior hurdler and jumper Sydnee Jacques also competed in the 60 hurdles, finishing in 15th and 23rd place, respectively.

Temple’s team in the 400 relay took second place of 51 teams that competed. The group consisted of freshman sprinter Aliya Sharp, St. Fleur, junior sprinter Kenya Gaston and freshman mid-distance runner Maya Halprin-Adams.

The distance medley relay set a new school record with their its time of 11:46.25 milliseconds. Graduate student mid-distance runner Blanca Fernandez, Sharp, Halprin-Adams and sophomore distance runner Katie Pinson all contributed to the team.

“It was cool seeing the relay teams run well,” Forde said. “I think they really feed off each other when they are on a relay team.”

This meet was the first time Fernandez competed this season. She was rehabilitating an injury and came back this race to run in the 3000. She took 38th out of 118 runners with a time of 9:53.82.

“She’s very far behind what she did last year,” Forde said. “But at some point in time, she had to start back competing and this seemed like a good time.”

In the long jump, junior sprinter and jumper Jimmia McCluskey bested 50 opponents to take third place with a jump of 5.86 meters. St. Fleur also placed in the top 10 of the event with seventh place while senior jumper Imani Shell rounded out Temple’s competitors, taking 19th.

Freshman multis competitor Crystal Jones placed third in the high jump, jumping 1.65 meters.

Despite all the success Temple had in the shorter distance events, Forde’s biggest takeaway was the mid-distance group’s improvements this meet.

“Several of our athletes put up better marks today,” Forde said. “I think Blanca may have had an impact in that she motivates them to perform on a higher level.”

Each of Temple’s mile runners set personal bests. Pinson was the first Owl to finish, coming in 66th place in a pool of 242 runners, with a time of 5:07.49. Following her were freshmen distance runners Alexis O’Shea in 78th, Katie Leisher in 84th, and Ashton Dunkley in 120th.

In the 800, Halprin-Adams and freshman distance runner Brigit Andersson also set new personal bests, along with freshman distance runner Maddie Bixler in the 3000.

Maura Razanauskas can be reached at

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