Underclassmen excel at Towson Invite

The Owls competed in their first meet in more than a month in Saturday’s Towson Invite.

After five weeks off and three days of practice, the track & field team finally had its third meet of the season when it traveled to the Bronx, New York to compete in the Towson Invite on Saturday.

“We saw some good things and some things that need a lot of work so it was a bag of mixed emotions yesterday,” Coach Elvis Forde said. “But at the same time you have to temper how we felt about yesterday knowing that our athletes only got back to school on Monday and being realistic you have to realize that some of the kids go to places that don’t have the facilities to run and train at this time of the year.”

Six of the 13 Top 15 finishes were by sophomores and freshmen, including two first place finishes.

This was the first meet for some of Temple’s distance runners and they made their presence known. They combined for five Top 10 finishes, three of which in the top five and one in first.

Sophomore Katie Leisher notched a first place finish in her first meet of the indoor track season, completing the 3,000-meter with a time of 10 minutes, 2.7 seconds.

“Katie Leisher made tremendous improvements from her freshman year to her sophomore year,” Forde said. “She has dedicated herself to the discipline that is required to excel and because of that the performances that she is having are a product of her commitment and her dedication.”

Freshman Grace Moore and junior Katie Pinson also came home with good marks. In her first track meet at Temple, Moore finished sixth in the 1,000 and third in the one mile with a time of 5:06.26.

Pinson was right behind Moore in both events, earning seventh in the 1,000 and fourth in the one mile.

Senior sprinter Kenya Gaston also finished in the Top 10 on the track. She came in third in the 400 with a time of 57.51.

Gaston was also a part of the 4×400 relay team that finished in 11th. She was joined by freshmen Jazmyne Williams, Madison Beecher and Crystal Jones. Each member of the relay team also had Top 15 finishes in respective events.

Williams finished 12th in the 800 with a time of 2:27.52. Beecher, who competed in the 500, came in 13th.

Jones joined three other Owls with top finished in the field events. She got a first-place finish in the high jump with a jump of 1.70 meters.

“Crystal Jones had a great year last year and got a first in her first jumping event of the year,” Forde said, “We are looking forward to her go much higher as she continues through the rest of the year because we know the potential and skill sets are there.”

Freshman hurdler Ebonee Jackson finished last in the 60 hurdles with a time of 10.62 seconds.

Senior Bionca St. Fleur came in third place in the long jump with 5.62 meters.

Seniors Simone Chapman and Sydnee Jacques both competed in the triple jump and finished in fifth and eighth places, respectively, with jumps of 11.49 meters and 11.29 meters.

“Our focus and our level of fitness need to improve because we fell off some,” Forde said. “We need to get back into pushing them and challenging them so they can see what happened between December and January and they can realize there is still a lot of work ahead of us.”

Tessa Sayers can be reached at teresa.sayers@temple.edu. Follow The Temple News on Twitter @TheTempleNews and @TTN_Sports.

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