Leighton Spencer starts senior season with invitational win

| 18 Sep 2012 | 05:04

CHESTER — Leighton Spencer of Chester led Columbia University's top 13 runners at the Vermont Invitational in Williston, Vt., on Sept. 9.
For the third straight year, Columbia's Lions ventured to Williston before the snow started falling and returned with the title. Spencer opened his senior season with the victory, finishing the 8K run in 24:50.2.
It was a blanket finish for the top five, as Mark Feigen, Jake Sienko, Byron Jones and Mike Murphy all crossed the line less than a second behind Spencer.
Spencer said the hilly course was soft in spots, but the times achieved by his teammates and himself are considered credible. Spencer ran a time of 25:37 at the same meet last year, and Feigen returned a time of 25:17. Thus a 47-second improvement by Spencer at the same meet a year later bodes well for the remainder of the Cross Country season.
The 2011 cross-country season saw Spencer receiving the United States Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association All-Region honors for athletic achievements. As part of the Columbia team, the Lions posted the most All-Region runners in the Ivy League. Additionally, both the cross country and the track and field teams each were recognized by the association as an All-Academic teams.
This past summer, Spencer continued his dominance as one of the top distance runners in Jamaica, taking the men’s 5,000m and 10,000m crowns at the Jamaica Athletic Administration Association Olympic Trials.
Spencer defended his 2011 title in the 5,000, lapping half the field and besting the second-place athlete by more than 65 seconds. Spencer set new personal records at Princeton during the outdoor season, clocking 14:20.13 in the 5,000m at the Larry Ellis Invitational and 30:09.25 in the 10,000m at the Sam Howell Invite. Leighton ended his summer campaign by representing Jamaica at the NACAC U-23 Championships in Guanajuato, Mexico.
Leighton is the son of Patricia and Noel Spencer of Chester.