The Georgetown men’s and women’s cross country teams enjoyed moderate success at the Big East championships, with the men finishing in second place overall and the women coming in third. The Hoyas traveled to Kenosha, Wis. for the meet this past Saturday, Nov. 2, to race in their fifth cross country meet of the 2019 season, a meet that both the men’s and women’s teams expected to win.
The men returned to the championships this year to defend the conference title they had won for the past four consecutive years. The women, following a second-place finish last year, were ranked No. 2 by the United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association’s Mid-Atlantic Regional Coaches’ Poll.
The nine men who competed for Georgetown ran the 8k and fell to Villanova with a margin of six points and an average time of six seconds between Wildcat runners and the corresponding Hoyas. Out of the top 15 competitors, eight were Hoyas. Head Coach Brandon Bonsey commented on the depth of the Georgetown roster in placing eight runners in the top 15 and displacing the fifth Wildcat.
“The team finished with eight men in the top 15 and also placed eight runners in front of Villanova’s fifth runner,” Bonsey said. “Unfortunately, that wasn’t enough to beat Villanova as their front four ran great.”
Finishing first on the squad and fourth overall was senior Jack Van Scoter with a time of 25:44.5 and an average mile split of 5:10.7. He earned all-Big East first-team honors, alongside redshirt freshman Price Owens, who finished less than a second after the senior with an average mile of 5:10.8 for a total time of 25.44.9. Another runner, freshman Shea Weilbaker, was also awarded all-Big East first-team honors, crossing the finish line with a time of 26:01.7, coming in 10th overall.
Bonsey praised some individual runners as well, singling out the leadership of Van Scoter and the opportune success of Owens and true freshman Weilbaker.
“I was proud of the effort of the men today. The course conditions were brutal and despite that we ran a tough race,” Bonsey told GU Hoyas. “Jack Van Scoter displayed great senior leadership leading us in fourth place. After that, two freshmen, Price Owens and Shea Weilbaker, stepped up big time. I could not be more proud of the way they raced.”
After those three standouts came five consecutive Hoyas led by fifth-year student Nicholas Wareham with an average mile of 5:14.8, crossing the line at 26:04.9. Following him was sophomore Rusty Kujdych finishing at 26:22.0 with an average mile of 5:18.2. Next was graduate student Spencer Brown with a time of 26:24.2, followed by senior Matthew Bouthillette at 26:25.6 and junior Ty Brownlow at 26:27.6 among the Hoyas who placed in the top 15.
After the men’s 8k was the women’s 6k race. All nine women racing for the Hoyas finished within the top 35 out of 91 competitors. The team finished third overall with an average time of 22:21, a mere four points behind Villanova and 13 points behind the champion Butler Bulldogs.
Finishing first for the team and ninth overall was graduate Madeline Perez, earning all-Big East first-team honors with a pace of 5:57.6 and a time of 22:13.4. Then came two sophomores 0.1 seconds apart, Alyssa Aldridge at 22:21.2 and Sami Corman at 22:21.3, in 12th and 13th place. Two more runners finished within four seconds after the first two, junior Baylee Jones at 22:25.7 and sophomore Katherine Modrall at 22:26.9, placing 15th and 16th. Three sophomores — Aldridge, Corman and Modrall — were among the top 16 in the conference as that class continues to be the core of the Georgetown roster.
A few seconds later, senior Margie Cullen recorded a final time of 22:48.6, earning 22nd place. Sophomore Rachel Sessa finished 24th overall with a time of 23:01.9.
The men’s and women’s teams will continue their season next weekend and look to improve upon their Big East championships performances.
“I am sad to see our streak of winning snapped, but we ran well today,” Bonsey told GU Hoyas. “We will not hang our heads on this one and we will head into regionals with a lot of confidence.”
Georgetown will continue its postseason competition at the NCAA Regional championships Nov. 15 in Lehigh, Pa.