Third Time’s the Charm for Georgetown Men

By Eric Kim Hoya Staff Writer

Only 0.5 points – the margin separating second-place Hoya women’s track team from the championship pedestal. It is also the number of points which prevented Georgetown from sweeping first place at the Big East Indoor Track Championships.

Last weekend at Syracuse, the Hoyas came into the Big East not really knowing what to expect. For the women, the field was wide open, as there were at least five teams capable of winning. The men were underdogs, as heavily-favored Connecticut strode into the meet with an edge in all the events. However, when the pistol smoke had cleared, it was the men pulling off a major upset in winning the Big East. It was their third consecutive championship at the meet and their 10th in 12 years.

Unlike past meets where the individuals could concentrate their efforts on their primary event, the Big East is a team meet which requires athletes to compete in more events in order to obtain more points.

With 139 points, the Hoyas surpassed second-place Notre Dame (125 points) and third-place Connecticut (114 points). Star junior Josh Rollins led the Hoyas in the men’s triple jump. In second place with one last jump, Rollins lept 51′ 7″ to not only take first but also break the meet record set in 1986 by almost two feet. Rollins also placed third in the long jump competition with a leap of 23′ 8-1/4″.

“Josh Rollins had a very good meet,” Head Coach Ron Helmer said. “It was an emotional lift for us to see him pull through in the triple jump.”

In the mile run, junior Adam Daniels crossed the finish line first with a time of 4:11.14 with sophomore Chris Miltenberg (4:12.53) following in fourth place. The 35-pound weight throw competition belonged to senior Sean Flynn as he had a first-place toss of 62′ 3-1/4″.

However, perhaps the most impressive showing at the meet was by freshman James Graham. While Graham did not deliver any first-place finishes, he took second in the 60-meter hurdles, fourth in the 500-meter race, and showed flashes of why he was the most highly recruited high school track athlete last year.

“James showed us that he’s at a different level,” Helmer said. “He really responded to high-level competition and he will become a big-time piece in this program.”

Other impressive performances came from senior Colin Dunn who placed third in the 1,000-meter run with a time of 2:24.00. In the 400-meter dash, junior Nick Reynolds (47.98) took second while in the 800-meter race, freshman Ezra Richards (1:53.08) and sophomore Brian Halstead (1:54.09) placed fourth and fifth respectively. Georgetown’s distance medley, 4-x-400-meter and 4-x-800-meter relay teams all finished second in their respective races.

It was a different story for the women who came into the meet ranked higher than their male counterparts. Even with some athletes running as many as five races in the meet, the women’s team fell half a point short to Villanova, the fourth-ranked team in the nation.

“That half a point could’ve been found anywhere,” Helmer said. “It gives you an empty feeling, and I was more disappointed than anyone. I knew how hard the women had worked.”

Junior Sasha Spencer provided the lone Hoya first-place finish as she won the 500-meter dash in a time of 1:11.79. Spencer, along with senior Katrina de Boer and junior Nickay Penado, competed in five events. Penado finished third in the 500-meter race with a time of 1:12.79. In the 1,000-meter race, de Boer posted a time of 2:50.24, good enough for third place. Just behind her was emerging freshman star, Erin Sicher (2:51.62) who came in fourth. Sicher ran in four events and set three personal records.

“I got an incredible effort out of [Sicher] similar to what James did,” Helmer said. “When freshmen do that, you know you have the real deal.”

Not only did Sicher run a personal best in the 1,000-meter race, but as anchor leg of the 4-x-800-meter relay team, she set a personal best in her 800-meter split.

“I was really nervous before the 1,000-meter because there were some studs in the race,” Sicher said. “However Coach [Helmer] said that he needed three of us in the top five or six and I just responded to what he said.”

The Hoyas also received good efforts from seniors Autumn Fogg and Kathleen Linck in the mile run. Fogg and Linck finished fourth and fifth with times of 4:53.05 and 4:53.40 respectively. In the 5,000-meter race, Linck (16:48.01) and freshman Marni Kruppa (16:48.94) ran NCAA provisional times in finishing fourth and fifth.

Juniors Kristen Gordon (9:39.27) and Emily Enstice (9:39.72) ran sixth and seventh in the 3,000-meter run with times good enough for the NCAA provisional list.

However, despite all the efforts of the Hoya distance runners, the women’s team fell short.

“Unlike on the men’s side where we cover more events, the women’s team doesn’t really cover the field events,” Helmer said. “When you ask people to run three or four races, the runners will have difficulties.”

The Hoyas will have two weeks to recover for the East College Athletic Conference Championships and the IC4A meets, respectively the women’s and men’s regional meets.

“For some who are sure shots for the NCAAs, it’ll be a tune-up for the big meet. For others, the regionals will be their last chance to attain NCAA bids. And then there are some runners who will run their hearts out because it’s the last race of the indoor year,” Helmer said.

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