Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

CROSS COUNTRY | Understrength Women’s Team Stumbles to Fourth

The Georgetown men’s and women’s cross country teams traveled to Bethlehem, Pa. this weekend and fared credibly well in their toughest test of the season so  far. The No. 22 men’s team placed second, while the top-ranked women — who held out four All-Americans — finished fourth.

The men’s team planned out conservative pacing in the beginning of the race in order to run down their opponents in the last 1200 meters. Unfortunately for the Hoyas, several runners may have put themselves too far back from the outset.

“A couple of our guys got caught off guard when the starting gun went off, and a few guys started out in dead last, so that was further back than we wanted [to be],” Director of Men’s and Women’s Track and Field Patrick Henner said.

Still, the Blue and Gray recovered to finish respectably in second place, especially given the quality of the competition they faced. Oklahoma was the runaway winner, taking four of the top 10 places and putting another runner in the top 20.

“Right now Oklahoma is out of our league, but we’re going to keep getting a lot better,” Henner said. “It’s going to be tough to compete with Oklahoma, but we need to focus on beating teams we can beat. Oklahoma might compete for a win [at nationals], but we can potentially be a top 10 or 15 team by the end of the season.”

Given that Georgetown was projected to finish in fifth or sixth based on rankings, Henner thinks a runner-up finish proves that the Hoyas are only going to improve.

“Nothing [about the race] was too surprising. … That’s why we can get a lot better,” Henner said. “When we start racing as a team, then a few guys can pop out and have great individual races. And that’s what’s going to take us to the next level.”

The women, ranked No. 1 in the country, finished in fourth place amidst a cluster of Big East squads at the top.

“If you look at the overall placing, especially behind three Big East teams, it would seem a bit concerning,” Assistant Coach Chris Miltenberg said. “But for me, I’m looking at it as far as who we ran.”

Georgetown withheld seniors Emily Infeld and Katie McCafferty, junior Rachel Schneider and sophomore Chelsea Cox — the top runners on the team. Instead, Miltenberg opted for a mix of youth and experience.

Led by junior Emily Jones, who finished eighth overall, the Hoyas ran a pair of freshmen — Annmarie Maag and Katrina Coogan — for the first time this year.

“Annmarie was phenomenal. She was really aggressive,” Miltenberg said. “She didn’t hesitate to make a commitment from 3K to 5K when the course gets more challenging. And Katrina did a great job through 5500-meter [before she fell at the end].”

Freshman Hannah Neczypor ran despite being the the process of recovering from the flu. She was not able to finish.

The seemingly disappointing team finish will surely hurt the Hoyas’ ranking, but Miltenberg thinks it may be a blessing in disguise.

“This No. 1 ranking thing was hanging over us a little bit, and we’ve always been a team that can grind,” Miltenberg said. “We’re going to drop dramatically in the polls, and that’s the best thing that could ever [have] happened to us.”

The men and women both look forward to two weeks of rest and training before going their separate ways. The men will travel to Madison, Wis., to compete in the Adidas Invitational while the women will run in the Pre-National Invitational in Terre Haute, Ind.

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