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

Infeld Runner-Up at NCAAs

Renee Tomlin put her hands over her face and shook her head in a mixture of joy with a touch of disbelief. The redshirt senior who decided to return to the Hilltop for her final year of eligibility was struggling to describe the emotions behind the fact that the Blue and Gray would soon be standing on the podium at the NCAA national championships to be honored as the fourth-place team after finishing 21st only a year ago.

“I have no words for this. Just incredible,” Tomlin said.

While the words may have been hard to come by, the Hoyas let quality performances up front do all the talking as Georgetown earned its best team finish since 2002 when the Blue and Gray also finished fourth. Georgetown used four All-American performances to separate themselves from most of the 31-team field, finishing fourth at the Lavern Gibson 6K championship cross country course in Terre Haute, Ind., with 167 points behind only Texas Tech, Florida State and national champion Villanova.

Junior Emily Infeld led the way up front, notching her sixth All-American finish in her most impressive cross country race as a Hoya. With no clear individual favorites in the women’s race, the field bunched up quickly in the front, as more than 30 individuals found themselves in the lead pack. On what was a warm but blustery day, Infeld played it conservative early on, tucking in toward the back of the pack. The pack began to dwindle from the 2K to the 4K mark, but Infeld kept her focus and stayed with lead runners who were setting the pace. Then Texas Tech junior Rose Tanui made a move to put herself out in front, and for the moment, Infeld and the pack let her go. However, with about 1000 meters to go, Infeld went with Villanova redshirt junior Sheila Reid and Oregon sophomore Jordan Hasay as they began closing in on Kimaiyo.

“Having people right there with you pushing you that much more made me think, `I want to stay with them. I’m not going to fall off,'” Infeld said. “I just got really fired up mentally.”

As the trio overtook Kimaiyo, they found themselves battling for the individual title on the final 600m straightaway. Reid, the Big East and Mid-Atlantic Regional champion, started to pick up the pace, leaving Hasay behind. Infeld hung tough, side-by-side with Reid with about 200m to go until the Villanova standout pulled slightly ahead and held on for the win. Infeld crossed the line less than three seconds behind Reid with a time of 20:10 for second place, the highest finish ever by a Hoya at the NCAA national championships.

“I was really hoping for top five. I honestly didn’t think I could get second,” Infeld said. “It was really exciting, and then when I was there I was like, `You know what, I’m going to try. I’m going to go for it.'”

“She just did an awesome job of staying composed,” women’s Head Coach Chris Miltenberg said. “Huge, huge race for her. Fantastic.”

Coming next for the Hoyas was sophomore Emily Jones, who ran with Infeld for the first 2K of the race. As the pace started to quicken, Jones fell to the back of the second pack and continued to fight to hold onto her position. Trying to keep Infeld close, Jones finished 29th in 20:42, notching the first All-American finish of her collegiate career.

“I just tried to keep Emily in my sight and stay collected and calm, and at the 3K I just focused on raising intensity,” Jones said.

But Georgetown received its biggest boost from their third and fourth finishers, Tomlin and freshman Maddie Chambers. The duo ran together from the start, trading the pacing duties at times, though it was Tomlin pushing hard over the final 2K.

“As Coach Miltenberg says, `When everyone else is running out of the fire, we’re running into it,'” Tomlin said. “You’ve got 2K between you and All-American, between you and your team finishing in the top five, so you’ve just got to go for it. There’s nothing left to do, just take the risk and finish it up.”

Tomlin would go on to finish 32nd in 20:46.3, her third All-American performance as a Hoya, while Chambers finished 36th in 20:47.6 for her first All-American distinction. Chambers kept her composure well in a race where inexperienced runners often struggle, notching the second highest freshman finish of the day.

“Even Emily Infeld got 60th as a freshman, so that shows you what Maddie Chambers is doing,” Miltenberg said. “[It’s] phenomenal to be an All-American as a freshman.”

After Chambers, there was a bit of a drop, as sophomore Kirsten Kasper and freshman Joanna Stevens didn’t have their best races. Junior Katie McCafferty plugged some of the gap by finishing 119th overall and 89th in the team race with a time of 21:30. Kasper, running early on with Tomlin and Chambers, fell off the pace and finished 136th in 21:39, while Stevens finished 147th in 21:43.

All in all, the Hoyas couldn’t have been happier to finish as the fourth best team in the nation and bring home four All-Americans after a disappointing 21st place performance last year.

“It was awesome,” Miltenberg said. “I’m just so proud of these guys.”

“We just wanted to show the country what we were ready to do and capable of doing,” Chambers said. “This is just the beginning, I think, because we’re so young.”

On the men’s side, the injuries and inexperience that marked their season were too much for the Hoyas to overcome in their second competitive meet in 10 days, as Georgetown finished 29th overall.

Senior Ayalew Taye, who ran well all season and was expected to finish as an All-American, had a disappointing race, finishing 129th in 31:26. Taye was in good position at the mile mark, stting between 30th and 40th place, but things started to unravel from there as runners passed him.

“I felt like we didn’t do well as a team, and it starts with me because I didn’t compete,” Taye said.

Redshirt sophomore Mark Dennin, in his second race of the season, came next for the Hoyas, finishing 147th in 31:34 after a slow start in the first 1000m set him back.

“He was almost last at the 1000m,” Men and Women’s Track and Field Director Pat Henner said. “He should have been out a little quicker, but he gave by far the best effort of anyone today.”

Redshirt freshman Andrew Springer also got out slower than than the team would have liked and then ran with Dennin for most of the middle of the race, only finishing 154th in 31:37. Senior TC Lumbar couldn’t regain his early season form that he had through the pre-nationals race and finished 169th with a time of 31:48.

Redshirt junior James Grimes rounded out the scoring for the Hoyas, finishing 188th in 32:02. Redshirt freshmen Ben Furcht and Bobby Peavey finished 190th in 32:03 and 235th in 33:07, respectively.

On a whole the Hoyas were off the line too slow, which made it hard to move up during the later portions of the race.

Henner stressed that it was a challenging situation for the Blue and Gray given their lack of training due to injury and the fact that they had to race hard at regionals just over a week ago to qualify. Taye, Springer and Lumbar are the only Hoyas that entered the season healthy and had been training consistently. Dennin was coming off of a sports hernia that sidelined him for the summer and most of the season, Grimes missed time struggling with his IT band and Furcht and Peavey missed training with illness early in the season.

“Obviously we wanted to do better on the men’s side. But to be honest for the men this year the main goal was making it here, and we did that,” Henner said. “It was a great day for the women’s team. … I give all the credit to Coach Miltenberg. Overall for Georgetown cross country, today was an awesome day.”

More to Discover