Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Top-Ranked Women Prepare for Big Meet

While the women’s cross country team came into this season sporting an underdog mentality, having jumped six spots from their No. 11 preseason ranking to No. 5 after their dominating early season performances, the Hoyas find themselves entering this weekend’s Pre-National Invitational as the top-ranked team in the 6K White Race.


Held by Indiana State, the Pre-National Invitational stands as the largest and most competitive meet of the regular season. Held on the LaVern Gibson Championship Cross Country Course in Terre Haute, Ind., where the NCAA National Championships will take place in a little more than a month, many of the nation’s best clubs come year after year to familiarize their runners with the course and the wide field of competitors.




So many teams register that the field is split into two separate races. The Hoyas find themselves this year in the 6K White Race, lining up against 40 other teams that include seven other nationally ranked clubs. While the Hoyas have the top ranking, looming large are perennial powerhouses No. 9 Colorado and No. 17 Stanford as well as newcomer No. 12 Stony Brook.




While the numbers game may eventually be important if the Hoyas have to vie for an at-large bid in their loaded region, the Blue and Gray are focusing more on themselves heading into their first big test of the year.




“We just kind of want to make a note of going out and being the hardest fighting and hardest competing team out there,” women’s Head Coach Chris Miltenberg said. “Whether we’re ranked No. 1 of any race that we go into or No. 20, we have to make sure that we always execute with that






The Hoyas enter their race with a bit of a question mark next to the top of their lineup, as junior and five-time All-American Emily Infeld is nursing a sore foot. Infeld, who took a few days off of training earlier this week, will most likely race but could be held out.




“It looks like her foot is good. The plan right now is for her to run. We’ll see how it goes over the next 48 hours to be 100 percent sure,” Miltenberg said.




While Infeld’s presence would surely be a boost to the Hoyas, both Miltenberg and Infeld said that they won’t take as aggressive an approach to the race as they normally would.




“I’ll go out more conservatively, especially because of my foot, and if I’m feeling good just kind of pick it up and see what I can do,” Infeld said.




After Infeld, the Hoyas bring to the line a very talented squad that has competed well in the young season but lacks experience in big-time cross country meets. Sophomores Emily Jones and Kirsten Kasper, who struggled on this course at the national championships almost a year ago, are looking to take another step forward from their strong efforts at the Paul Short Invitational.




“They are such different runners than they were a year ago. It’s almost like starting over. The experience for them is going to be just as valuable as it is for the freshmen,” Miltenberg said.




Freshmen Maddie Chambers and Joanna Stevens will get their first crack at a large collegiate race, as the Hoyas are counting on the duo to step right in and make a contribution to the team. Chambers has raced extremely well early on for the Hoyas, while Stevens is coming back from illness and will be at 100 percent for the first time this Saturday.




Finally, Saturday’s pre-nationals will be a valuable experience in a large-scale, competitive cross country meet even for the Hoyas’ upperclassmen. Junior Katie McCafferty, who ran strong on this course at nationals as a freshman, has largely missed out on the big events over the past two years due to injury and illness.




Redshirt senior Renee Tomlin has more than proven herself on the track but last raced in a national-caliber cross country event at the 2008 national championships.




“She’s such a different person than she was in ’08 when she last ran here that it’s kind of like running with her new engine in Terre Haute for the first time,” Miltenberg said. “Two years ago in cross country she was running in survival mode. Now she’s running in attack mode.”




Also racing this weekend for the Blue and Gray will be sophomore Rachel Schneider and redshirt sophomore Lauren Borduin in the open race.




Regardless of the facts that Infeld may not be at her best come Saturday and that the group is relatively inexperienced, the Hoyas are convinced that they will live up to their high ranking.




“I have so much faith in them as individuals, as competitors, even though maybe we don’t have as much experience as some other teams out there, we got people that are fighters,” Miltenberg said. “I’m confident no matter what situation they’re in this group is going to do a great job of doing their thing [and] focusing on what we need to do.”




The men come into the pre-nationals meet with even less big-race experience than the women. With that in mind, Head Coach Pat Henner is looking for the No. 22 men’s squad to focus on running solid team races.




“It’s easy to get distracted with a lot of people in the field. It’s easy to feel sorry for yourself because you’re not up there in the front,” Henner said. “All the guys just have to remember is, it’s a team sport, and they have to keep their composure and make sure they’re running a race to help the team out.”




Senior Ayalew Taye looks to lead the way for the Hoyas and continue his strong season. Taye comes into the race as the only Hoya at the line with real experience at the course, having raced there at the national championships in both 2007 and 2008. Fellow seniors T.C. Lumbar and Alex Bean will also be expected to contribute up front.

Redshirt freshman Andrew Springer will have his first chance to compete in a big-time collegiate cross country meet as he looks to improve upon a somewhat disappointing performance at the Paul Short Invitational two weeks ago. Springer, one of the top high school milers in the country from the Class of 2009, has the potential to make the Hoyas significantly better this season. Fellow redshirt freshman Bobby Peavey, returning from illness that held him out of the Paul Short Invitational, has looked good in his past few workouts.




The Hoyas’ lone true freshman and top recruit, Tyler Anyan, looks to build off of his solid effort two weeks ago, and rounding out the lineup for the Hoyas this weekend is sophomore Evan Bloomberg.




Although the Hoyas get Peavey back for this weekend, they still are far from full force as a number of Hoyas are still recovering from injury. Redshirt sophomore Mark Dennin had his first real workout this week and should be ready come regionals. Redshirt sophomore Ben Furcht and redshirt junior James Grimes have been looking a lot better in training and will be joining redshirt sophomore Brian Manning in the open race. Unfortunately for the Hoyas, redshirt sophomore Will Ahearn is most likely done for the season with a stress fracture, while redshirt sophomore Dylan Sorensen’s sore knee leaves him doubtful for the remainder of the season as well.




Despite those injuries, the team has looked solid over the past few weeks and could be a threat to knock off one of the seven ranked teams in the 36-team 8K White Race that features No. 4 Colorado, No. 13 North Carolina State and No. 19 BYU.




“We’re starting to see glimpses of a really good team, but just being that consistently good team . we haven’t quite been there yet. But we’ve made a lot of progress over the last month,” Henner said.”

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