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

GU Continues All-Around Progress at Colonial Relays

With limited scholarship money, traditional strengths and particular areas of coaching expertise, many college running programs around the country are trying to stake their claim in the collegiate running world by focusing on a particular event or series of event. Some schools are known for only cross country and 5000-meter to 10000-meter runners. Others focus on the sprints and hurdles. Some take up the field events, and others tailor to mid-distance athletes. Georgetown is attempting to do what few others are: They are building a program that is solid all around for the cross country, indoor and outdoor seasons.

The Hoyas displayed their progress this weekend at the Colonial Relays at William and Mary, where the Blue and Gray’s quality performances in a wide range of events resulted in the men finishing second overall and the women third.

In a weekend in which the Hoyas sat some of their top All-American athletes, such as seniors Dan Nunn and Buky Bamigboye and redshirt junior Andrew Bumbalough, Head Coach Pat Henner credited the depth of the program in securing high team finishes.

“I think we didn’t have some of our better athletes down there this weekend,” Henner said, “and some of them, like [senior] Maggie Infeld, ran very limited, but we were still able to do well as a team. So I think it speaks to our depth, and that we are developing into a full track and field team.”

Evidence of such progress was profound on the women’s side, where the Hoyas’ success ranged from running a 1:38.49 first place 4x200m relay performance to placing five women in the top six in the 800m run.

Leading that quintet of Hoyas was Infeld and junior Renee Tomlin, both of whom kicked hard down the stretch to notch NCAA regional qualifying times and place first and second, respectively. Senior Christine Whalen, who took on the strong winds and did a lot of the work up front during the second lap, held on to finish a solid fourth. Freshman Emily Infeld and senior Avril Ogrodnick finished fifth and sixth, respectively.

The 4x200m performance by juniors Abigail Johnson and Sarah Wernik, sophomore Deidra Sanders and freshman London Finley stands as the fourth-fastest time in school history, and was reflective of the strides that the program has made in the sprints, an area that has not been a traditional strength.

Wernik, who also placed third in the 100m, described the role that former Olympian, Assistant Coach Sheila Burrell, has played in rounding out the Hoyas by building an emerging sprint program.

“A lot of it has to come from Coach Burrell. She’s really gotten to know each runner and their qualities,” Wernik said. “The time and dedication that she puts into each one of us really has helped this year,”

Sophomore Chris Kinney, who teamed with senior Tyrell Gissendanner, and freshmen Biyerem Okengwu and Kamryn Austin to dominate the shuttle hurdles with a first place time of 57.55, also spoke to the sprints’ role in building a well-rounded program.

“Georgetown is known everywhere else as a mid-distance/distance school, and just to show that we have sprinters now, our sprinters are going out there and beating people. I guess it’s starting to surprise people because it’s unexpected,” he said.

Henner added, “It really shows that we are developing as a full track and field team. There’s not many programs trying to do what we’re doing. There’s not many programs that are trying to be top 10-top 5 in cross country and then come to track . and run good 4x100s, shuttle hurdle, 4×800 . we’re one of the few teams that’s really trying to do that out there.”

While the weekend affirmed that Georgetown is improving in many areas, senior Liam Boylan-Pett and freshman Theon O’Connor, who placed first and third respectively in the 800m run, showed that Georgetown is not backing down on their strengths either.

Boylan-Pett, a graduate student who previously ran at Columbia, noted Georgetown’s uniqueness in trying to build an all-around program.

“It’s fun just being around a group of people from all levels that are running hard whether it’s in the hurdles or the 10K,” he said. “I’m jacked to be a part of it. At Columbia we were more of a middle- distance crew, and that whole crew has the mentality of `let’s kick ass,’ but here it’s everybody and it’s really fun to be a part of.”

With solid performances across the board this past weekend, the Hoyas look to take that mentality to the program’s first-ever appearance at the Sun Angel Classic at Arizona State next weekend.

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