Ben Solomon/American Athletic Conference

Women's Track and Field

Track & Field Sophomores Log First-Place Finishes at Towson Invite

Bronx, N.Y. – After a five-week break from competition, Temple women's track and field completed its first meet of 2017 at the Towson Tiger Invitational on Saturday Night. The team notched two first-place titles from sophomores Katie Leisher and Crystal Jones as well as eight other top-10 finishes among the competitive field at the New Balance Track and Field Center.

In her first indoor track appearance of the season, Leisher took first place in the 3K race and set a new personal best time of 10:02.7. Compared to last outdoor track and field season, she improved by about five seconds.

"Katie Leisher's performance spoke to her dedication and her will to be better than she was last year," says head coach Elvis Forde. "Last night to see her run as well as she did, we are looking forward to a solid year for her. We are all happy for her, she has been working very hard. She's set the tone for herself this year and we are looking forward to what she will accomplish."

Jones earned first place in the high jump. Her jump of 1.7m bested a field of 18 participants.

"Last year as a freshman Crystal set the bar high and showed us what she is capable of," says Forde. "This performance was great for her to get back into the groove, but she has got to keep it up. I'm ready to see how she can improve this season."

Kenya Gaston completed the 400 meter race in 57.51. The senior earned third place out of the event's 36 runners. Senior Bionca St. Fleur came in third place in the long jump with a leap of 5.62m, just behind Manhattan's Charlene Pohl.  

"It was good to see Bionca get out there and place in the top three," says Forde. "Her good mark on Saturday gave her some confidence. I can tell she wants more, but we have to be patient."

Saturday marked freshman Grace Moore's first indoor meet with Owls. Her best performance of the night was in the mile as she finished the race in 5:06.26 to take 3rd place overall.  Junior Katie Pinson trailed behind Moore coming in at No. 4 with a time of 5:05.91, foreshadowing that she can make a great comeback this season. The two also ran the 1K race, each placing in the top-10 with times of 3:05.49 (6th), and 3:08.21 (7th), respectively.

"We have to continue to help those who are doing very well to continue to get better," says Forde, "but we are also looking forward to helping those who are not doing their best make tremendous improvements in order to be the best team we can be. Overall I want our team to be hungry in terms of their success. I think this meet showed them, especially our freshmen, that you have to be hungry and dedicated to truly compete at the Division I level. "

Next up, the Owls head to Annapolis, Md., for the U.S. Navy Mid-Week on Jan. 19. 

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