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

Freshman Jones Impresses With Victory in GU Debut

This season, the Georgetown women’s cross country team brought in one of the strongest recruiting classes in recent years. Proving that they are just that, the distance recruits from the class of 2013 turned in numerous quality performances in their first collegiate meet this past weekend to lead the Hoyas to a commanding win at the Navy Invitational.

While the meet served as a low-key introduction to the season and a chance for a quality workout rather than an all-out race effort, women’s head coach Chris Miltenberg was still impressed with how the newest Hoyas performed in their first time out.

“I was really excited because there is a difference between training and racing well,” she said.

“They’ve all been training great and now they showed that they can race great, which is exciting.”

With the strategy of running conservatively early on and building intensity throughout the last 1000 meters, the Hoyas ran together for nearly the first three miles of the 6-kilometer course, paced by seniors Lauren Gregory and Kelsey Malmquist.

Then, as the Hoyas emerged from the hilliest section of the course, freshmen Emily Jones led the way, gapping the rest of the field and running under control the last 500 meters to easily win the race in 22:31.83.

“I wasn’t really sure how the race would play out [over the last 1000 meters], but I was feeling pretty good so I just ran as hard as I could,” Jones said.

Jones, who in high school was a Foot Locker all-American and the third-place finisher in the Nike Outdoor Nationals, made it clear that she is ready to contribute to the Hoyas right away.

“Emily Jones kind of showed right off the bat that she’s big time and that she wants to compete really well,” Miltenberg said.

Next, redshirt senior Natasha LaBeaud picked up exactly where she left off from a year ago, finishing second overall. Looking strong throughout the race, LaBeaud was also able to run a very controlled last 1000 meters and finish in 22:39.71.

Coming next for the Hoyas was freshman Kristen Kasper, another top recruit, who put together a gritty performance to finish third in 22:40.37.

“One that was really exciting was Kristen Kasper, who did a great job as a freshman of sticking right on the pack through the hard part in the middle, letting Lauren and Natasha pull her along,” Miltenberg said. “She was outstanding over the last 1000 [meters], hung really, really tough and I was excited about that.”

Gregory also hung tough and stayed composed over the last 1000 meters to finish fourth overall and completed the Hoyas’ sweep of the top-four individual places.

Rounding out the scoring for the Hoyas was yet another freshman, Rachel Schneider, who fell a little off the pack but was able to keep a consistent pace over the last portion of the course to finish seventh overall in 23:05.71.

In all, the Hoyas dominated the local eight-team field, scoring 17 points. Johns Hopkins was a distant second with 69 points.

In other women’s cross country news, senior Renee Tomlin is making big strides while recovering from a stress fracture in her foot, walking now without pain and cross training consistently. Yet another good sign for the Hoyas, sophomores Emily Infeld and Katie McCafferty looked good in a workout on the Navy course, showing that they should be ready to go later in the season.

Looking forward, the Hoyas now have three weeks of tough training until they return to action Oct. 3 at the George Mason Invitational.

On the men’s side, the Hoyas received strong performances from a trio of underclassmen at the James Madison University Open Invitational, highlighted by redshirt freshman Mark Dennin’s course record win in his collegiate cross country debut.

While many of the Hoyas’ top runners put in a solid weekend of training along the Appalachian Trail rather than racing this early in the season, Dennin showed that he is ready to contribute to that group, leading the Hoyas with a first place finish in 24:16.80.

While the Hoyas were looking to run only a tempo effort through 5 kilometers of the 7900-meter course, Dennin let loose soon after that, going with the lead pack. Then, Duke junior Bo Waggoner worked to put a gap on Dennin and the rest of the field with a little more than a mile left. However, Dennin charged back at 800 meters out, powering up a small hill and then taking the lead for good.

“It felt good,” Dennin said of the race. “I hadn’t had great races last spring [and] this being my first real cross country race in the uniform … it’s a good sign that I’m kind of right there at the beginning of the season and have a lot of potential to work off now.”

“[In his] first college race to get a win and a course record is pretty cool,” Head Coach Pat Henner said. “I was really pleased with him. He’s definitely somebody who could be a key factor if we’re going to have a really good year this year.”

Dennin’s course record is significant in that he broke redshirt senior Levi Miller’s 2008 course record of 24:43. Miller went on last year to have a great season and notched an All-American finish at Nationals. With Dennin in great shape this early in the season, he will have the opportunity to help the Hoyas in their championship meets.

Dennin said that he’s excited to contribute to a talent-laden and very experienced team.

“I’m really excited about it,” he said. “A lot of other places you could be the top guy or one of the two top guys, but it wouldn’t mean as much as it does here just because those teams aren’t as strong as we are. We’ve got some great runners here and a lot of depth so it really means a lot.”

Following Dennin was redshirt sophomore T.C. Lumbar, who also ran very strongly and came close to Miller’s record by finishing fifth overall with a time of 24:45.90. Lumbar, who redshirted the cross country season last year, showed that he too has the potential to contribute to the Hoyas’ success in 2009.

Next for the Hoyas was redshirt sophomore James Grimes, who also ran well and crossed the line seventh overall in 24:52. Rounding out the scoring for the Hoyas was redshirt senior Alex Mason, who ran a quality race to finish 11th overall, and graduate student Cabell Rosanelli, who finished 23rd.

Overall, the Hoyas score of 42 fell short to Duke’s 23, but Georgetown still finished a respectable second, considering that most of the top runners were held out.

“The thing you have to remember is our first three guys were redshirt freshmen, and redshirt sophomores,” Henner said. “[It’s great] not only for this year, but I think it really speaks well for our future.”

The Hoyas will return to action Oct. 3 at the Wisconsin Inter-Regional Invitational, where they look to run a full squad in their first real test of the season. “

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