Owls top leaderboards at final event of 2016

For the second straight event, more than 10 athletes placed in the Top 10 when the Owls competed at the Seahawk Shootout on Friday in Staten Island, New York.

The track & field team took a break from studying for finals when it competed at the Seahawk Shootout, hosted by Wagner College, on Friday.  The Owls took home five first-place finishes in Staten Island, New York.

“The semester is coming to an end,” coach Elvis Forde said. “It was a tough week as our athletes are trying to find time to buckle up for their finals, but nevertheless we had good performances from the bunch.”

More than 10 Owls placed in the Top 10 for the second time in two events. Temple earned 15 Top 10 finishes at the Lehigh Season Opener on Dec. 2 and followed it up with 11 on Friday.

Senior sprinters Jimmia McCluskey and Kenya Gaston, freshman sprinter Jazmyne Williams and freshman distance runner Millie Howard all finished in first in their respective events.

The 4×400 meter relay team made up of Gaston, Williams, sophomore multis competitor Crystal Jones and freshman sprinter Madison Beecher also came in first.

Williams and Gaston were the only Owls to record two first place finishes on the day.

In addition to their wins in the relay, Williams finished first in the 600 and Gaston won the 300.

“Williams is a freshman probably doing an event that she has never done that I know of,” Forde said. “I am still trying to find where her best skill set is, but there is a lot of promise in her longer runs. I hope she can stay healthy, I’m looking forward to see what she can do the rest of the year.”

Freshman sprinter Mariah Slade joined McCluskey in the Top 10 of 60. Slade came in sixth at 8.11 seconds, less than half of a second behind McCluskey, who ran the race in 7.84 seconds.

Howard’s 4:55.30 mile and first-place finish in her first indoor meet impressed Forde.

“Millie Howard is more of a track person and she was excited about getting to run on the track,” Forde said. “Her running the mile today was quite easy. It was not very challenging, but it was a good race to get her track season going. We are excited to see what she will do in future races.”

Junior Katie Pinson ran in her first indoor meet of the season, finishing second in the 3000 with a time of 10:14.45.

The most successful event for the Owls was the 60 hurdles, where three athletes finished in the Top 10.

Senior hurdler Simone Brownlee, Jones and senior hurdler and jumper Sydnee Jacques finished third, fourth and sixth, respectively.

With more than a month until its next meet, Forde is hoping his team will stay focused.  

“We have a lot of work ahead of us,” Forde said.  “When we come back, I hope we can have much better performances, the conference is going to be tough, and I want our athletes to realize to not become complacent as they go home, but to use every opportunity to work out and find time to do the little things.”

Tessa Sayers can be reached at teresa.sayers@temple.edu.

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