Temple’s Friday at the Penn State Invitational included an injured player and senior sprinter and jumper Jimmia McCluskey missing an event due to an officiating mixup . The Owls got their focus back on Saturday against some of the toughest competition they have seen so far.
The Owls got their only first-place win from sophomore distance runner Katie Leisher, who won the 3000-meter run in nine minutes, 49.02 seconds.
“I felt good about this race at the beginning,” Leisher said. “I prepared better mentally and just told myself to have faith in my training and believe in myself and focus on my form.”
Freshman distance runner Grace Moore ran right beside Leisher in the event. Moore finished the event in 9:52.95 to come in third.
“Katie is somebody who does a good job of getting out well, where Grace is more of a tactical progressive racer where she waits and buys her time and move up through the field as it goes,” distance coach James Snyder said. “It really worked out well as Grace worked up to Katie around the 2000-meter mark and the two of them were able to work together and push each other.”
Junior distance runner Katie Pinson and freshman distance runner Millie Howard both competed in the mile.
Pinson set her personal record in the event and came in fifth in the open mile with a time of 5:00.35.
“She is still a hair over the five-minute barrier, that was our ultimate goal coming in,” Snyder said of Pinson. “But I have no doubt that she’s in shape to do that and to break through to that next level.”
Howard competed in the invitation-only section for the mile and finished 14th.
Senior sprinter Kenya Gaston also competed in invitation-only events. She ran in the 400 dash and finished sixth with a time of 57.73 seconds. Gaston finished eighth out of 10 runners in the 200.
Freshman sprinter Jazmyne Williams came in 10th in the 500, sophomore multis competitor Crystal Jones came in ninth in the high jump and senior hurdler and jumper Simone Chapman came in 13th place in the triple jump to finish out the day.
Temple’s next meet is Saturday Feb. 4 in Staten Island, New York.
“We are a month away from our conference meet, the one that is the most important to our program,” Snyder said. “There is still a lot of work that needs to be done, but where we are at this time in the year we are in a great spot, but like I said before there is still a long way to go.”
Tessa Sayers can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow The Temple News @TheTempleNews and @TTN_Sports.