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

World Record Times Derail Georgetown’s Quest for Gold at Penn Relays

As freshman Emily Infeld, junior Renee Tomlin and seniors Christine Whalen and Maggie Infeld approached the start line of the 4×1500 meter relay, one of the competing members of the squad from the University of Washington sheepishly asked, “Hey, did you guys race at [Arizona State] a couple of weeks ago?”

Tomlin, who was one of three Hoyas in the top 6 in the 1500m at that race, simply nodded.

As the Huskies realized that they would be facing stauncher competition than anticipated, their expressions changed to unease.

“You could kind of see the fear climb into Washington’s face,” Whalen said.

The Hoyas’ performance this past weekend at the 115th running of the Penn Relays justified more than one fearful glance, as the women’s team had one of the more impressive performances at the meet in school history.

Tomlin, junior Abigail Johnson and the Infeld sisters started off the action on Thursday, competing in the distance medley relay. Emily Infeld led off on the 1200 meter leg, splitting 3:22, the second fastest leg in school history, and handed the baton off to Johnson tied with favorite Tennessee in third place. Johnson then ran a great 400 meter leg, splitting 54.4, to take over first place for the Hoyas.

Yet in the following 800 meter leg, the Volunteers, who broke the indoor world record at the indoor nationals only a few months before, used a great run from freshman standout Chanelle Price to spoil Tomlin’s gutsy 2:06.4 effort, and put the Hoyas in a bit of a hole with Maggie Infeld about to get the baton.

For the first three laps of the final mile leg, it looked as if Tennessee would go unchallenged, as the lead actually widened with senior Sarah Bowman, arguably the best college mid-distance runner in the nation, gapping Infeld. Yet Infeld turned it on over the back straightaway to give Bowman a scare as she came down the final home stretch.

“I let a pretty big gap form, but over the last 400[m] I closed the gap and almost caught up to her,” Infeld said. “I tried to sneak attack her because I don’t think she knew that I was coming.”

In the end, it proved to be too little too late as the Hoyas finished less than eight-tenths of a second behind the Volunteers but notched the second-fastest time in school history, posting an 11:02.85.

The following day, the Hoyas once again did battle with Tennessee as the aforementioned team of the Infeld sisters, Tomlin and Whalen lined up for the 4x1500m relay with one of the deepest teams in the field. Whalen, running only her third 1500m ever, was content to sit back in fifth until she kicked with about 300 meters to go and matched Price’s moves to hand off right with the Volunteers. On the second leg, Emily Infeld let both Villanova and Washington take the early lead until really kicking hard the last 100m to hand off the baton with her team right behind the Huskies.

Tomlin then ran a controlled opening 1200m of her leg, sitting in second the entire time, but from there, she started gapping the rest of the field. Over the final 200 meters, she surged ahead, leaving all the other teams behind, and gave anchor Maggie Infeld a lead of 15 meters.

“Renee Tomlin, phenomenal,” Assistant Coach Chris Miltenberg said. “She is such a competitor, just a person who, when the right time comes to get stuff done, she’ll get it done. [She] blew that race open. Her last 200[m] was just phenomenal. I think it scared the heck out of people.”

Over the next three laps, Infeld was running with a bullseye on her back as Bowman slowly chased her down to pull even with the Hoya senior at the bell lap. On the back stretch, Bowman began her kick and tried to pass, but Infeld would not allow her to do so, increasing her pace as well. Finally, with about 150 meters to go as the pair swung wide to lap a few other competitors, Bowman really turned it up and left Infeld behind, splitting 4:10.2, the fastest split ever at the Penn Relays, to win the race. After it was all said and done, it took a new Penn Relays, national, and world record to beat the Hoyas, who timed in at 17:11.80 to notch the second-fastest American and third-fastest time in the world. The quartet shattered the school record by more than 26 seconds as well.

Then on Saturday, the final day of the meet, Georgetown once more toed the line and competed hard against a stellar Tennessee relay team in the 4×800 meter relay. Because the Infeld sisters both had run a heavy load the first two days of the meet, and with Maggie’s foot being a little tender, Miltenberg went to his depth for a new lineup. Freshman Lauren Borduin led things off for the Hoyas, stepping up big in her first Penn Relays and running a strong second lap to move from the back of the pack and hand off the baton in fourth place.

Borduin, who didn’t let the record crowd of 47,904 get to her, said the excitement of the race let her run unnerved.

“On the line, you think about everything you’ve done so far to try to get you here,” she said. “And all of the adrenaline just comes and you don’t even think about it anymore. You’re just kind of in the zone.”

Following Borduin was Tomlin, who yet again stepped up big by splitting a 2:06.55 on her third relay in three days to put the Hoyas even with second place University of Maryland-Eastern Shore.

Said Tomlin, who has ran at the Relays since her high school days, “You’re just out there, you get the baton, you have to chase some people down, give it off in another good position. That’s what you do at Penn. You have to get out and go for it.”

Senior Avril Ogrodnick, running the third leg, ran strong as well, surging over the last 100m to put a little gap on UMES and handing off in second to anchor Whalen.

Whalen, coming off of a tough 1500m from the day before, went out strong but faded down the stretch as UMES took second, and Tennessee won the race to take the triple crown in the distance relays and break another American and Penn Relays record.

“I think I got out a little too hard and paid for it in the end.” Whalen said. “Ideally I would have been a little more even and smart, but I went out aggressive and that’s all you can ask for.”

Having run some of the best school times in history, and in many cases times that would have won Penn Relays in years past, the Hoyas weren’t the least bit concerned that they fell to a team like Tennessee, who scorched the record books all weekend long.

“All in all I think we really showed how good we are,” Miltenberg said. “The thing we always preach at Georgetown is competing and fighting. Three days in a row, we lined up and fought hard. We’re ready to run as well as anybody out there whether other people out there realize it or not.”

Said Tomlin, “We were the only team that came out and challenged them, so that shows something. We took every single challenge that Tennessee offered and were ready to hang with them and it’s a pretty good feeling.”

Other Highlights:

-The women’s sprint squad added to the success that the Hoya women enjoyed this weekend, as it broke the school record in the 4×200 meter and notched an NCAA regional-qualifying time in the 4×400 meter on the final day of competition.

In the 4x200m, the Hoyas raced in the ECAC Championship heat with junior Sarah Wernik leading things off on a strong note for the Hoyas. Wernik then handed off to graduate student Erika Moses, who kept Georgetown in the middle of the pack. Freshman London Finley followed next and maintained the team’s position before handing off to junior Abigail Johnson, who finished strong to notch fifth place for the Hoyas. Their time of 1:37.07 broke the school record that had stood since 2000.

Later in the day in the 4x400m, Moses, Finley and Johnson teamed with sophomore Deidra Sanders to run a gutsy effort and finish just behind Seton Hall with an NCAA regional-qualifying time of 3:38.47. Moses led things off for the Hoyas and handed off in the middle of the pack to Finley, who worked her way up and ran a strong last 200m to put Sanders in good position. Sanders ran very strong closing the gap on the top three teams throughout the leg until finally handing off to Johnson within striking distance of the leaders. Johnson quickly moved into second place after receiving the baton and ran a courageous last 200m, almost chasing down Seton Hall, but just running out of real estate on the final straightaway.

-Freshman Katie McCafferty ran particularly well in the 3000m, taking fourth place with a time of 9:37.34.

-On the men’s side, the 4x800m relay team of sophomore Toby Ulm, junior John Maloy, freshman Theon O’Connor and senior Liam Boylan-Pett nearly ran down defending champions Texas, who won again this year as well. Ulm, running only his second 800m ever, ran a solid opening leg that saw a lot of bumping and shoving, including a fall. Ulm handed off in the middle of the pack to Maloy, who ran one of his finest legs of the season, splitting 1:48.7 and handing off with his team at the top chase pack behind Texas. O’Connor tucked into fourth place and maintained his position for the majority of the leg before falling back on the final straightaway and handing off to Boylan-Pett. He remained on the heels of the chase pack until the final 300m, where he made a strong move on the backstretch to catapult the team into second place. Over the final 150 meters, Pett tried to run down Texas but couldn’t quite make up all the ground, and the Hoyas crossed the line in second with a 7:16.33, the sixth-fastest time in school history.

-Boylan-Pett, Maloy, and Ulm teamed with junior Alex Bean to place fifth in the Distance Medley Relay with a time of 9:37.98. The Hoyas started in a hole early, as Bean, who ran strong, could not quite hang with the lead pack that took off with 300 meters to go. From there, the Hoyas battled back to the chase pack, but never could catch the leaders.

-Redshirt junior Mike Krisch ran a great race on Thursday night in the 5000m, barely being out-kicked in the final 100m, and finishing third in 14:00.71, an NCAA regional-qualifying time.

-Strong Hoya alumni performances were plentiful at the relays as well. Monica Hargrove ran on the champion USA Red 4x400m relay team. Matt Debole won the men’s Olympic Development Mile, kicking down senior Andrew Bumbalough, who is redshirting the outdoor season. Liz Maloy and Susan Hendrick placed fourth and fifth, respectively, in the women’s Olympic Development Mile.

The Hoyas are next in action at the Big East outdoor championships this upcoming weekend at Villanova University.

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