The Georgetown men’s and women’s cross-country teams’ successful seasons culminated with 17th place and fourth place finishes, respectively, at the NCAA Championship meet on Saturday. The Hoyas improved on their results from last year, when the women finished fifth and the men failed to qualify for the meet.
“I think we’ve come a long way in the past year,” Men’s Distance Coach Brandon Bonsey said. “We didn’t make it in last year and then we added in a bunch of young guys who had never really run high-level cross-country before and obviously had a much better year so if you’re looking at the progress over the course of the entire year, I’d say I’m very pleased.”
Women’s Head Coach Michael Smith praised his team’s overall performance on the season as well.
“Fourth in the national meet with three All-Americans, it’s definitely been a great season,” Smith said.
“We had a solid day – it wasn’t a great day, but I think we’re just happy with the season as a whole,” Senior All-American Katrina Coogan said. “Overall, it was a really great season and people made huge steps forward. I think, if anything, it got us really excited for the rest of the year and next year, too.”
The No. 2 women’s team finished behind No. 1 Michigan State, No. 5 Iowa State, and No. 9 New Mexico. Coogan led the Hoyas with a time of 20:20, finishing 16th overall on the six-kilometer course.
“She’s allowed the other athletes to trust that they have a leader up front and she’s going to be hard to replace,” Smith said of Coogan.
Coogan finished among some of the top female cross-country athletes in the country, aided by her aggressive race strategy.
“My strategy was to go out with the top 15 or 20 girls and see how many of them I could beat,” Coogan said. “It was a solid race.”
Junior Samantha Nadel finished next for the Hoyas in 37th place with a time of 20:41, while senior Andrea Keklak finished 40th with a time of 20:44. Junior Haley Pierce came in fourth place for the Hoyas at 57th place, while senior Madeline Chambers rounded out the top five Georgetown runners at 104th place. Iona College junior Kate Avery finished first in the women’s division.
The Hoyas’ top-five runners’ finish was impressive, but Smith acknowledged that the team had the potential to put on an even better performance.
“We might have been able to be a little bit better had a couple things gone differently, but for the most part, [our race] was really good,” Smith said. “I think it’s a good result – I don’t think it’s a great result. Had we gotten out a little bit better I think we could have been third or second in the meet.”
The No. 13 men’s team finished behind its Big East foes Syracuse, Villanova and Providence. The Orangemen came in fifth, while the Wildcats and Friars finished seventh and 13th, respectively.
Senior John Murray led the way for the Hoyas, finishing 82nd with a time of 31:25 on the 10-kilometer course. Junior Darren Fahy was not far behind, coming in at 96th place with a time of 31:30. Sophomore Jonathan Green (105th, 31:34), graduate student Brian King (109th, 31:37), and senior Ryan Gil (140th, 31:52) followed in suit.
While Bonsey applauded the team’s top-20 finish, he acknowledged that the Hoyas failed to take advantage of their tremendous position mid-race.
“I don’t think it was a bad result, but we were very close to running a great race,” Bonsey explained. “It was just a little bit frustrating that I felt we had an opportunity to have a great result – and even halfway through the race we were in tremendous position – but we just came up a little short of that.”
The team’s race strategy was to keep up positive momentum beginning from the middle of its race to the final stretch of the course, but the team’s youth became a weakness as the race progressed.
“I think their youth and lack of high-level training caught up with them in the second half,” Bonsey said.
As the cross-country season comes to a close, the Hoyas will continue their training throughout the winter in preparation for the spring track-and-field season.