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

Hoyas Aim To Surpass Wildcats at Regionals

Georgetown’s eight-ranked men’s and 13th-ranked women’s cross country teams are set to defend their id-Atlantic Cross Country Regional Championships this weekend at Penn State. The Hoyas swept both the men’s and women’s events last year and are coming off a pair of top-three finishes at the Big East Conference Championship last week.

The top two scoring teams in Saturday’s regional championship will earn a spot in the national championship race later this month along with 13 at-large bids.

The Hoyas are almost guaranteed a trip to Nationals this year, due to their rank in the top 20 and because of both programs’ strong reputations. However, the teams will still have to run competitive races against quality talent Saturday to earn automatic bids. The main challenge on the men’s side will come from No. 19 Villanova, whose coaches ranked second behind Georgetown in the id-Atlantic U.S. Cross Country Coaches Association poll. No. 17 Penn State and Princeton are other solid teams capable of finishing near the top in the event.

No. 19 Villanova took third at the Big East Championship and have a great deal of potential when running with a complete lineup. Villanova Sophomore Tom Parlapiano took fourth at the Big East meet, finishing between Georgetown’s top two runners Franklyn Sanchez and Mike Smith. The Wildcats have been resting the team’s star runner Adrian Blincoe as of late. Blincoe won the Paul Short Invitational earlier this season, an event in which Georgetown’s developmental team placed 11th, but did not run in the conference or pre-national meets. The team’s depth also extends beyond the one-two punch of Parlapiano and Blincoe to freshman Ryan Hayden, who took 34th at pre-nationals. With all runners participating, Villanova can present a challenge to Georgetown.

Princeton, ranked fourth in the Mid-Atlantic coaches poll, has one of the top runners on the East Coast in junior Paul Morrison, but it is unlikely he will run this weekend because of a knee injury. Without Morrison, the eight-place finisher at nationals last year, it will be hard for the Tigers to run a competitive race.

No. 17 Penn State also has a strong team, finishing 11th at pre-nationals, but the team lacks a solid front-runner capable of leading the team. St. Francis and Fairleigh Dickinson are other dark-horse candidates who will fight for top finishes on Saturday.

Assistant Coach Patrick Henner emphasized the role Georgetown seniors David Rodriguez, Corey Smith and Kyle Smits will have in the race, but newcomer Franklyn Sanchez will likely have an extraordinary impact on the team’s overall performance as well. Sanchez won the 2000 junior men’s cross country national championship in February, took the top spot for the United States team in the World Cross Country Championships in Portugal last spring, and placed only three seconds behind two-time All-American Keith Kelly in his first collegiate race last week. A strong performance by Sanchez and number-two runner sophomore Mike Smith, along with the consistently reliable production of the three seniors will put Georgetown is a good position to win the race.

The women’s team has slid in the polls lately, falling from their preseason No. 5 ranking to their current 13th position, but will still enter the Regional meet as the heavy favorite. The leading runners on the team are graduate student Autumn Fogg and seniors Lorena Adams and Emily Enstice.

Freshman Amanda Pape, the seventh-place finisher at the 1999 Foot Locker National Championships, has had an immediate impact on the team, scoring points in the Pre-National and Big East Championship meets for the Hoyas. Colleen Kelly, another talented freshman runner, currently runs sixth on the team taking the top finish for Georgetown at the Paul Short Invitational last month.

All-American Kristen Gordon is also improving, after running number-four for the team in the Big East Championship and taking 22nd overall in the meet. If Gordon can return to the form that earned her a high school National Championship and a fourth-place finish at nationals in 1998, the possibilities are endless for the Hoyas.

The main competition on the women’s side will come from the 1998 NCAA champion Villanova, No. 25 West Virginia and Bucknell. The 18th-ranked Wildcats are led by Big East champion Ann cGranahan, who took 17th at pre-nationals. The Villanova team placed fourth behind Georgetown in last week’s meet. West Virginia took fifth at the Big East meet, and will likely get an at-large bid because of their regular season accomplishments. Unranked Bucknell earned a spot at nationals last year and won the Patriot League title last week, but will be hard pressed to take a top team finish on Saturday.

The regional meet will take place Saturday at noon, and the women’s ECAC and men’s IC4A meets come a week later in New York Nov. 18. Georgetown’s A teams will likely sit out the two New York meets and rest for the National Championship Nov. 20.

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