The Georgetown men’s and women’s indoor track and field teams will head to Akron, Ohio, this weekend to compete in the biggest event of their indoor season thus far — the Big East championships.
Georgetown runners will look to cash in on their hard work this season and earn the team a strong overall finish. Runners earn points for high finishes in specific events, which are added up to determine a team’s total score.
The men’s team placed particularly well at the 2010 Big East championships, taking second in the 16-team conference. Notre Dame is the reigning champion and returns with a well-rounded squad this year, and perennial powers Louisville and Connecticut are expected to challenge for the title as well. The Hoyas lack depth in the field events and short sprints and will have to rely on a few upperclassman standouts and underclassman distance runners to keep them in the hunt.
Georgetown is led by senior Chris Kinney and redshirt junior Toby Ulm, who give the Blue and Gray their best shot at taking home individual titles.
Kinney, the defending champion in the 60-meter hurdles, also holds the top conference time of 7.75 seconds in the event this season. He looks to repeat but will have his hands full if Syracuse senior Jarret Eaton — who currently holds the nation’s fastest college time this year — decides not to redshirt.
Ulm will be competing in the 500m, an event in which he has the fifth-fastest time in the Big East. Expect Ulm to duel with Rutgers junior Aaron Younger, who narrowly edged him out for the win in last year’s 500m.
Though Ulm has been training mostly for the 800m this season, he doesn’t anticipate problems with the switch to the 500m this weekend.
“It may be the case of going out a little slower and then hopefully coming back a little harder,” Ulm said.
In the distance events, the Hoyas are counting on redshirt sophomores Dylan Sorensen, Ben Furcht and Bobby Peavey to pick up some points along with seniors T.C. Lumbar and Ayalew Taye.
Sophomore Brian Hencke, freshman Billy Ledder and junior Theon O’Connor give the Blue and Gray a chance to tally some key points in the 800m and 1000m as well.
Depending on the outcomes of their races, several of these runners could team up with Ulm on the distance medley relay, where the Hoyas currently have the best time in the conference at 9:56.78.
On the women’s side, Villanova took home the title in 2010 and will attempt to build on its cross-country championship by relying on its distance runners. No. 19 UConn, who won the title in 2008 and 2009, will be tough to beat. While Georgetown is strong in every event from the 200m to the 5000m, the distance runners will have to run their best to make up for a lack of Hoyas in the field events.
Although they realize that nothing short of perfection will earn them a win, the Hoyas are still optimistic going into the weekend.
“I know as a team everyone is really prepared,” sophomore Amanda Kimbers said. “We have a chance even to win it if everyone just runs to their ability and [runs] what we’re capable of,” she added.
Kimbers, the Hoyas’ standout in the sprints, will be competing in the 60m and 200m and most likely 4x400m as well. She currently has the sixth-best time in the Big East for the 60m (7.56s) and the third-best for the 200m (24.00s).
In the 200m, Kimbers will be gunning for UConn senior Trisha-Ann Hawthorne, who holds the top time in the event and narrowly beat the Hoya sophomore in the 100m last outdoor season.
Junior London Finley, who put her season back on track at the New Balance Collegiate Invitational, will give the Hoyas a top threat in the 400m or 500m as well.
Fellow sophomore Rachel Schneider leads a talented squad of Hoyas in the middle distance and distance events. Schneider will be competing in the mile — in which she currently holds the fifth-best time — as well as the 4x800m and most likely the DMR.
Freshman Chelsea Cox, junior Katie McCafferty and sophomore Emily Jones give the Hoyas a chance for high finishes in the 800m, 3,000m and the 5,000m, respectively. Freshmen Emily Menges and Becca DeLoache, along with junior Lauren Borduin, could also help the Hoyas in the open events and definitely will be looked to for some of the legs on the 4x800m and DMR.
In previous track meets, recording a certain time qualified individual runners for the Big East or NCAA championships. But now that the championship stage has arrived, the Hoyas are concerned only about their performance as a team.
“We’re just focusing on placement, trying to get as many points as we can for the team,” Schneider said. “Hopefully the place will get me the time.”
Ulm echoed Schneider’s team-first approach to the event.
“Championship racing is just, when you get out there, you have to beat whoever you can,” Ulm said. “If you’ve got an opportunity to win, get the win. If you’re in third, try to get second. Just maximize the points you can get.”