Both the No. 14 men’s and No. 18 women’s cross country teams will travel to Mason, Ohio to compete in the Big East Championship as the championship season begins on Halloween. Both teams look to build on their performances at the Pre-National Meet in Louisville, Ky. The men finished in fifth place overall with 251 points in the 8000-meter race. Meanwhile, the women recorded 381 points in the 6000-meter race, good for seventh overall.
The men’s cross country team turns to junior Jonathan Green for another dominant performance. At Pre-Nationals, Green led the Hoyas with a sixth place finish with a time of 23:28.7. Green’s hard work and dedication have begun to pay off with impressive times, and his teammates have noticed.
“He just works really hard,” senior Darren Fahy said. “He had a pretty big breakout season in track last year and he’s just carried that over and has kept the momentum going. He races pretty fearlessly and goes up to the front and that really helps him.”
Fahy will attempt to push himself and his teammates as they enter championship season. He has embraced his leadership role as one of the top runners on the team, always looking to offer advice to underclassmen.
“They have done a lot of work and we’ve done a few races and everyone’s shown that they are ready for this. You don’t need to do anything else, it’s just the same thing with more people,” Fahy said.
Assistant Coach Brandon Bonsey has urged his team not to take the competition lightly and to run hard in the beginning of the race.
“I think our front three guys are going to focus on Villanova’s front three. So we need to work on potentially breaking up their front three because last [year] at Big East they went one, two, three and we don’t want that to happen again,” Bonsey said. “We want the rest of our guys to get ahead of Villanova’s fourth and fifth runners. Our strength is definitely our depth so we just need to use that to our advantage.”
The women’s cross country squad will look to continue its own successful season as the team travels to Ohio. Graduate student Andrea Keklak will try to build on her impressive performance at Pre-Nationals, running a time of 20:35.2 in just her second meet back from a serious injury. Freshman Audrey Belf will attempt improve upon her performance at Pre-Nationals, where she ran a time of 20:46.3.
“I think Audrey Belf is definitely developing as an athlete on the Georgetown cross country team, but what she’s already shown us is that she can be a team leader and collaborate really well with the team,” sophomore Autumn Eastman said.
Eastman attributes Belf’s strong performance at Pre-Nationals to her work ethic in practice.
“I think that her breakthrough last race was definitely because we’ve had these past couple of workouts where we’ve just excelled by pushing each other up as a team. So when we are talking about one of us succeeding, it is talking about all of us succeeding. It is really exciting to have everyone pull together at this time,” Eastman said.
The team is focused on supporting and encouraging each other throughout the meet.
“We can do so much more when we are working together. It’s been unbelievable what this team has been able to do by having this team support and having girls next to you knowing that they are going to claw and scratch for every second for you. So when you build that team dynamic and build that sense of leadership on the team, it’s easier to go further with everybody else,” Eastman said.
The Hoyas are not concerned about the course conditions of the race. Eastman believes they can compete on any course under any conditions.
“I think generally we are a really tough team. I think we thrive under conditions that are less than perfect,” Eastman said. “We have a lot of runners who come from running cross country courses through a foot of mud. I know personally, I had never ran on a golf course until I came here. It gets us excited to race in less than perfect conditions because it gives us something to work for.”
Following the Big East Championship, both the men’s and women’s teams will start to prepare for the NCAA Mid-Atlantic Regional Championships in Princeton, N.J. on Nov. 13.