The Georgetown men’s cross-country team placed second out of 25 teams as the women placed third out of 31 teams last weekend at the NCAA regional championships in Bethlehem, Pa. Both teams overcame cold weather to advance to very strong finishes.
Although the men’s team’s streak of four consecutive Big East championships came to an end two weeks prior at the hands of Villanova University, it showed up ready to compete in the Mid-Atlantic regionals. It was once again bested by Villanova in the 10-kilometer race, with Villanova running an average time of 30:12 and Georgetown running an average of 30:27.
Upperclassmen showed strong leadership and strong finishes on the team. Fifth-year student Nick Wareham ran a career-best time of 30:03, managed to place fifth overall and finished first for the Hoyas. Only eight seconds behind Wareham was graduate student Spencer Brown, who finished eighth overall.
The Hoyas also claimed the 11th, 18th, 25th, 26th and 23rd spots overall to conclude the meet with 67 points, 30 back from first place Villanova with its dominant 37-point performance. Senior Matthew Bouthillette and sophomore Rusty Kujdych finished exactly two seconds apart. This finish was good enough to automatically qualify the team for a nationals bid, for the first time since the 2016-17 season.
Head Coach Brandon Bonsey was extremely proud of his runners, especially for qualifying for NCAA championships.
“I am beyond excited for the men to automatically qualify for the NCAA championships next week. All seven men ran tough team races. I was especially proud of our upperclassmen,” Bonseh said. “Nick Wareham, Spencer Brown, Jack Van Scoter and Matthew Bouthillette led us today. Those guys experienced the pain of the last two years not qualifying and made sure that wouldn’t be the case today. They raced hard and for each other.”
The women’s team showed a strong third place finish in the regionals, behind Penn State and Villanova. With an average time of 20:40, it was only six seconds on average behind the first place team, but placed in third with 46 points, 18 behind the second place team.
First for the Hoyas was graduate student Madeline Perez with a 20:22 finish, placing fifth overall for the race. Sophomore Sami Corman finished 10th overall, 12 seconds behind Perez at 20:34. The next four finishes also came exclusively from the Class of 2022, with Alyssa Aldridge finishing at 18th, Baylee Jones at 23rd, Katherine Modrall at 35th and Margie Cullen at 40th. Senior Meg Mathison also raced and placed 46th, eight seconds behind Cullen.
With their strong finishes, Corman and Perez were able to garner bids to compete at nationals individually. Unfortunately, they were not able to garner an automatic or at-large bid to nationals. An automatic bid would have required a victory in this meet, while at-large bids are chosen by the NCAA for season-long performances as a team.
Head Coach Julie Cully was proud of the team, despite the disappointment of falling short of nationals.
“The women ran the best race of our 2019 season today, and although narrowly missing the NCAA final is a disappointment, we are thrilled with Madeline and Sami’s performance finishing fifth and 10th, while nabbing two of the four automatic individual spots for the NCAA final,” Culley said. “We took a huge step as a program today and with one sixth year and the next four individual finishes being from the sophomore class, the future is bright for the Hoyas.”
While the season is over for the women’s team, the men’s team will be on the course again in Terre Haute, Ind., on Saturday, Nov. 23, in the national championships.