Leisher sets program record but Owls finish 10th at indoor conference meet

Sophomore distance runner Katie Leisher broke the program record in the 5,000 but Temple only finished ahead of South Florida at Friday and Saturday’s American Athletic Conference indoor meet in Birmingham, Alabama.

Freshman Grace Moore (left), sophomore Katie Leisher and freshman Millie Howard practice at Belmont Plateau on Oct. 26. PATRICK CLARK | FILE PHOTO

Temple had four individuals break their personal records on Friday and Saturday at the American Athletic Conference Indoor Track & Field Championships. While the Owls finished 10th out of 11 teams in The American’s end-of-season meet, ahead of South Florida, there were still positive takeaways, coach Elvis Forde said.

The two-day event started with the women’s pentathlon on Friday, and sophomore multis competitor Crystal Jones did not disappoint. She finished the event in second place, scoring a personal-best 3,528 points in the 60-meter hurdles, high jump, shot put, long jump and 800.

Out of the five events in the pentathlon, Jones placed best in the high jump, where she finished first. Jones was looking to carry that momentum into Saturday’s high jump, but suffered a hip injury that prevented her from finishing where she wanted. Jones’ 1.61-meter leap tied for ninth.

“We also expected her to contest for the championship in the open high jump,” Forde said. “She could’ve been one of the top three finishers, but a hip injury curtailed the weekend for her.”

On Friday, sophomore distance runner Katie Leisher broke the program record in the 5,000 with a time of 17 minutes, 6.09 seconds. The previous record was held by Jenna Dubrow, who ran a 17:18.85 in 2015.

Senior sprinter and jumper Bionca St. Fleur finished seventh in the long jump.

On Saturday, freshman distance runner Millie Howard and junior distance runner Katie Pinson recorded personal bests in the mile. Howard finished sixth in 4:53.99, while Pinson finished eighth in 4:55.87. Pinson’s previous best came at the Penn State National on Jan. 27, when she ran a 5:00.16 mile.

The Owls had four distance runners compete in the 3,000. Pinson, Leisher, senior distance runner Megan Schneider and freshman distance runner Grace Moore represented Temple in the event. Leisher and Moore finished in seventh and ninth, respectively, and both broke personal records.

Leisher ran the 3,000 in 9:44.21, beating her previous record of 9:49.02 seconds set at the Penn State National.

Moore finished the event in 9:47.12, surpassing her previous record of 9:52.95 seconds set at the Penn State National.

“Our long-distance freshmen and sophomores really stood out,” Forde said. “The future is looking promising for us. Not only did they score points this year, but they now know what to expect as they continue to make strides.”

Temple will start its outdoor season on March 17 at the Philadelphia College Classic.

Addison Hunsicker can be reached at addison.hunsicker@temple.edu. Follow The Temple News on Twitter @TheTempleNews and @TTN_Sports.

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