The No. 13 men and the No. 14 women’s cross country teams will both travel to Louisville, Ky., to compete in the highly anticipated NCAA championships. The men’s team looks to ride the momentum of its recent successes, as it won both the Big East championship and the Mid-Atlantic Regional Meet. The women will attempt to build on an impressive performance at the Mid-Atlantic Regional meet where they placed second overall with 75 points.
Junior Jonathan Green, one of the leaders of the men’s squad this season, will run on the national stage against some of the top runners in the country. Green placed second overall in the regional meet, running a time of 30:41.6 on the 10-kilometer course. His teammates and coaches value his high motor and intensity and know he will bring his A-game this weekend at NCAAs.
“Well we have a nickname for Jon called ‘Psycho J’ and I think it’s an appropriate nickname for him,” senior Michael Lederhouse said. “He’s very intense and one of the toughest and craziest guys I know. He puts everything he has on the line for the team every time he goes out there. It gives you a lot of confidence knowing Jon’s going to be out there.”
Lederhouse will look to build off of an impressive showing at the Mid-Atlantic Regional Meet, running a time of 30:58.2, which put him in seventh place overall. Junior Amos Bartelsmeyer stepped up for his team as well, clocking in at 31:00.9, which earned him eighth place. The top five for the Hoyas were rounded out by junior Scott Carpenter, who finished 10th (31:04.8) and sophomore Christian Alvarado, who earned the 17th spot (31:23.6).
As the Hoyas turn their attention the biggest cross country meet of the season, Assistant Men’s Coach Brandon Bonsey urges his runners to stick together, remain focused and execute the game plan.
“I just want our two through seven runners to run together as a group,” Bonsey said. “We learned a lot from the Pre-National Meet in Louisville, that it’s hard to move around on that course. We need to get in good position early, run the first 1,000 pretty quick and stay mentally tough.”
The women’s cross country team comes off an impressive performance as well. At the Mid-Atlantic Regional meet, graduate student Andrea Keklak placed ninth overall in the 6000-meter race with a time of 21:13.5. She believes her notable performances this season stem from a newfound consistency, expressing satisfaction with her ability to succeed even when she is not having her best day.
Senior Haley Pierce, who finished with a time of 21:16.3 — good for 12th overall — followed Keklak. Sophomore Kennedy Weisner clocked in at 21:18.3 to earn 14th place. The top five for the Hoyas were rounded out by freshman Audrey Belf in 15th (21:20.4) and sophomore Autumn Eastman in 25th (21:37.3). Less than 25 seconds separated Keklak from Eastman. This continues a promising trend for the Hoyas as they have consistently posted low spreads.
Keklak believes that the team does not have a clear front runner, and mentioned her satisfaction in her teammates’ ability to motivate each other.
The women’s cross country team will run a fairly young squad in the NCAA championships this weekend. Keklak believes that the key for the team is to remain calm and to control its emotions.
After the NCAAs, both the men and women will begin their transition to the indoor track and field season.