Both the Georgetown men’s and women’s cross country teams will travel to Louisville, Ky., this weekend to compete in the 2015 Pre-National Meet. The No. 10 men’s cross country team looks to continue its success after capturing first place — beating out rival No. 12 Villanova — at the Paul Short Invitational in Bethlehem, Pa. Meanwhile, the No. 7 women’s cross country squad, after a week off, will try to build on a solid performance at the Coast-to-Coast Beantown Invitational, in which it placed third.
“This is another opportunity similar to Boston, where we are going to face national caliber competition,” Head Coach Michael Smith said. “We want to have a strong showing against those top tier teams in the country. At the same time, we want to preview the national cross country course which we will race at the end of November.”
Smith will look to senior Samantha Nadel to continue her impressive performance in the Pre-National Meet. At the Coast-to-Coast Beantown Invitational, she ran a time of 17:11.3 on the 5000-meter course and finished eighth overall, leading the way for her teammates. Graduate student Andrea Keklak will attempt to push herself and her teammates in her second meet back from an injury that sidelined her for indoor and outdoor track last season.
“Since Boston was my first race, the plan was to go out more conservatively. I definitely think I will be running with a group of my teammates in the beginning and we will work our way up,” Keklak said.
Even though the Hoyas placed third out of 24 teams in Boston, they look to improve upon certain tactics during the race.
“We are going to focus on running as a group and running together. I am not exactly sure where that will put us, but at this stage of the season, running together will be our best strategy from a scoring standpoint,” Smith said.
Keklak echoed her coach’s viewpoint by saying that supporting and pushing each other throughout the race is the best recipe for success.
“I think Boston was an interesting meet because even though it’s not a huge meet, there are a lot of competitive teams there and because of this it is hard to find your teammates,” Keklak said. “I think the best thing we can do in the next meet is make a conscientious effort to run together especially in the second half of the race. When you are running with your teammates, it makes it so much easier to keep your momentum going.”
Using a fairly inexperienced squad in the first two meets of the season, the Hoyas’ upperclassmen have embraced roles as leaders both on and off the course.
“We graduated a lot of people this year and all of the seniors came to the realization that they were the oldest and they weren’t used to leading,” Keklak said. “But after the first few weeks, people stepped into that role really well. They’ve been vocal and encouraging towards the underclassmen.”
On the men’s cross country team, junior Jonathan Green will try to continue his success after a notable performance at the Paul Short Invitational. Green led the Hoyas on the 8000-meter course with a time of 23:59 and secured third place overall. Senior Darren Fahy finished with a time of 24:04 in the race, placing fifth overall. Senior Mike Lederhouse placed sixth overall with a time of 24:06 and was the third Hoya to cross the finish line.
The men’s team displayed grit and determination as it placed five runners in the top 13 (Green, Fahy, Lederhouse, sophomore Christian Alvarado and junior Connor Sheryak) and placed a total of ten runners in the top 50 in the Paul Short Invitational. The men’s side will look to continue this impressive all-around performance at Pre-Nationals this weekend.
After the Pre-National Meet, both the men’s and women’s cross country teams will have the following weekend off to prepare to travel to Mason, Ohio, to compete in the Big East Championships.