Four wins highlights Owls’ Day 2 of Patriot Games

The Owls’ five first-place finishes in the Patriot Games marked the team’s most in a meet this season.

Coach Elvis Forde said he talks a lot about winning.

The Owls finished the final day of the Patriot Games hosted by George Mason University on Saturday with four first-place finishers, the most in a single meet this season.

Junior Blanca Fernandez, who began running for Temple a few weeks ago, took first in the mile run with a winning time of 5 minutes flat.

In her first Temple performance, Forde says Fernandez has some serious potential.

“She demonstrated why we went after her to help our program grow,” Forde said. “She won the mile quite easily and we believe she has the potential to qualify for the NCAA championships and we want to find a track meet over the next couple of weeks that can give her an opportunity to compete against the very best in the country.”

Junior Jamila Janneh brought in two first-place finishes of her own, one in the triple jump with a mark of 11.91 meters and the other in the high jump, clearing 1.66 meters. Janneh has now claimed four gold medal finishes so far this season.

“I think yesterday was a really good day just because I finally hit my bridge in high jump, so I was really excited about that,” Janneh said. “I jumped pretty decent in [the triple jump], but I’m really excited that I’m getting into the flow of things and I’m really consistent, so that’s a good thing.”

The third-year jumper also said the length of this meet took a serious toll on her energy, but did her best to stay focused.

“Being there all day yesterday was draining,” Janneh said. “At the same time I don’t really want to use that as an excuse because I have had longer days. I just try to forget about how long the day was and just focus on what I’m there to do.”

Temple’s 4×400 meter relay, made up of sophomores Bianca St. Fleur and Kenya Gaston, junior Demeshia Davis and senior Hollis Coleman also claimed first in the event with a winning time of 3 minutes, 57.88 seconds.

Senior Jenna Dubrow took second in the 3,000-meter run, finishing in 10:14.52, while freshman Katie Pinson finished third in the 1,000-meter run in three minutes.

Other notable performances were brought in by Sophomore Jimmia McCluskey who finished fourth in the long jump with a mark of 5.37 meters. Senior Kiersten LaRoche, who took home gold in the women’s Pentathlon on Friday, claimed a fifth-place finish in the 60-meter hurdles with a time of 8.87 seconds.

Although five first-place finishes for a meet is a season-best for the Owls, Forde says he still wants to get his message across.

“I want to talk them up and make them feel good about their performances and stuff like that,” Forde said. “But the message remains that we want to be much better than that. We want to be able to be recognized for the things that we are doing so it helps with our recruiting. I talk a lot about winning because I think the performances will come, but you have to also understand how to compete to be a champion, and that means winning.”

The Owls continue their season on Saturday, Feb. 7, at the Giengengack Invitational in New Haven, Connecticut.

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