Temple places fourth in Jack St. Clair Invitational

Four runners placed in the Top 40 on Saturday at the Jack St. Clair Invitational in the team’s second-to-last meet before the American Athletic Conference Championships.

The women’s cross country team made the short trip to Belmont Plateau on Saturday to compete in the 9th annual Jack St. Clair Memorial Invitational.

The Owls finished fourth overall out of 17 teams. Temple’s first finisher was graduate student Emily Nist, who finished 10th. This was her first race of the season, after not being able to compete because of an injury.

Junior Katie Pinson and sophomores Brianna Thomas and Erica Groomes all placed in the Top 40 in a field of 160 runners. Pinson finished 15th, Thomas placed 26th and Groomes crossed the finish line in 38th place.

This race was Groomes’ first cross country meet. She previously only competed in middle distance for track and field.

The invitational was Temple’s second to last meet before the American Athletic Conference Championships on Oct. 29. With the championship season approaching, coach James Snyder used this race to try and fill his top five runners.

Sophomore Katie Leisher and freshmen Millie Howard and Grace Moore filled the top three spots.

While Snyder has an idea of who will take the final two spots, the championship season roster will not be completed until after the Owls compete in the Leopard Invitational at Lafayette College on Saturday, Oct. 15.

Temple’s Jack St. Clair Invitational was started in honor of long-time track and cross country coach Jack St. Clair. He coached the men’s track team from 1967-1983.

St. Clair captained Penn State’s national champion squad in 1950 before graduating in 1951. Before coming to Temple, he coached at Cardinal Dougherty High School, a now-defunct Catholic school in the city’s Olney neighborhood.

In 1979, St. Clair was inducted into the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame.

St. Clair passed away in 2007, but after leading the Owls to a 104-32-1 record, this invitational is one of the ways his legacy is remembered.

After getting the week off, the men’s team will also be back in action at the Leopard Invitational.

Tessa Sayers can be reached at teresa.sayers@temple.edu or on Twitter @tessasayers11.

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