– The Temple University
track and field squad kicked off their 2018-19 indoor season Saturday morning at the Lehigh Season Opener in Bethlehem, Pa. The meet was highlighted by debuts from freshmen Marissa White
and Keegan Simonsen
and included five first place finishes from the Owls.
> Crystal Jones
was the first performer of the day for Temple, kicking off the 2018-19 indoor season for the Cherry and White in the high jump. The senior put on a solid performance to start off her senior year, winning the event after clearing 1.65m.
> Near after, Jones hit the track for her first running event of the year. The Fredericksburg, Va. native did not disappoint, running an impressive 60m hurdles race in 8.92 to win her second event of the day. Neck-and-neck with Jones was sophomore Sydney Williams
, who attacked the hurdles for a solid 2018-19 debut. Williams finished second overall with a time of 9.06.
> Following the hurdles, sophomore Candus Burks
represented the Owls in the 60m dash. The Bowie, Md. native ran the straight away in 8.21, good for a second place finish overall.
> The Owls saw a talented new face in the 400m, as freshman Marissa White
made an exciting debut as one of Temple's two freshmen competing today. The Nassau, Bahamas native made a statement during her first collegiate showing, winning the event with a time of 58.65 to hand the Owls their third victory of the day. Just behind White was junior Madison Beecher
, who completed the 400m in 59.66 for a second place finish overall.
> Two other Owls finished in the top 10 during the 400m, with Sydney Williams
placing seventh with a time of 1:03.52 followed by Jaida Fenn
, who finished 10th overall with a time of 1:06.20.
> The 800m was highlighted by senior Ashton Dunkley
, sophomore McKenzie Gelvin
and freshman Keegan Simonsen
all placing in the top 10. Dunkley put on a solid performance in her first 800m off the year, finishing second overall with a time of 2:16.79. Gelvin completed her first race of the season in 2:19.12 for a third place finish. In her first ever collegiate track and race, Simonsen wrapped up the Temple performances, finishing seventh overall with a time of 2:27.43.
> The 200m saw junior Ebonee Jackson
on the track for the first time this season. The Paterson, N.J. native started the season in high fashion, finishing the one-lap race in 26.11 and winning the event. Following Jackson was sophomore Kayla Nesbitt-McEwen
, who ran a strong race in 26.95 to finish third overall.
> Burks saw her first action in the sand this year, earning an 11.39m mark in the triple jump for her second runner-up finish of the day.
> Temple put on an exciting showing in the 4x400m to wrap up its first meet of the season. The relay squad of Williams, Jackson, Beecher and White earned a come-from-behind victory after an impressive final push from White as the last leg. The group ran the relay in 4:01.37, giving the team its fifth win of the day.
From the Coach
> "At the first meet of the year, it's always good to see where the team is after training all fall," said head coach Elvis Forde
. "It was key for freshmen to get their initial races in, and I thought both of them did a good job. I have to give kudos to Marissa, getting her first race in and coming out to win the 400m as a freshman. As the season goes on, she is going to continue to get much better and we will really see her shine."
> Forde discussed the various standout performances the student-athletes put on in today's season opener. "I was happy to see Crystal get off to a good start today, having her best 60m hurdles race in a long time. This was a good stepping stone for her moving forward, along with winning the high jump. Ashton had a great first 800 of the year, and McKenzie got off to a good start that I hope will carry itself over for the competitions to come. Syd got a good hurdles race in, and Madison did well in the 400m and came back to double up and run the 4x4. Overall, we were happy to see the team fight and compete. We still have a lot of work ahead of us, but to see where we are gives us a chance to realize the amount of work we have to do. Nevertheless, it was a good start and a small meet like this is what the doctor ordered this time of year."
> The Owls are back in action for the last time in 2018 on Friday, Dec. 7 when they head to Staten Island, N.Y. to compete at the Seahawk Shootout.