After two low-key meets to start the season, the Georgetown men’s and women’s indoor track teams’ seasons will take a twist this weekend when they travel to State College, Pa. for the competitive Penn State National Invitational. In their first big meet of the season the Hoyas will have no shortage of competition as they line up against over 1,000 athletes from more than 50 schools.
“It’s really our first bigger meet, if we are in the right situations and compete hard we can put up some pretty good times,” Director of Track and Field and Cross Country Pat Henner said. “But we don’t want the focus to just be times.”
On the men’s side the unranked Hoyas will have a chance to go up against top athletes from No. 6 Virginia Tech, No. 10 Penn State and No. 21 Ohio State. The women’s races will feature athletes from seven of the top 25 schools in the nation as the No. 23 Blue and Gray toe the line with No. 4 Clemson, No. 5 Tennessee, No. 7 West Virginia, No. 15 Central Florida, No. 20 Penn State and No. 24 Ohio State.
While many of the Hoyas will race over the course of the two-day meet, here’s a look at some of the Blue and Gray’s top athletes that will be competing this weekend:
Chris Kinney, Senior
Kinney will be running both the 60 meter hurdles and the 200m this weekend. Expect Kinney to try and lower his 60m hurdle time of 7.84 seconds that he ran at George Mason in his season opener. Kinney currently shares the 11th-best time in the country, but would like to lower that mark in order to ensure a trip to the NCAA indoor national championships. Kinney will be pushed by University of North CarolinaCharlotte junior Isaac McReynolds, who currently holds the sixth-fastest time in the nation at 7.78s.
Toby Ulm, Senior
Ulm is coming off of a very strong performance in the 500m at the Hoya Invitational and will be running the same event this weekend. Ohio State sophomore Marvel Brooks just ran a personal record of 1:02.87 at the Meyo Invitational and should give Ulm some quality competition.
Theon O’Connor, Junior
O’Connor was solid in his 800m at the Hoya Invitational but has looked even better in workouts as of late. O’Connor has a chance to log a fast time if he gets behind the right people and stays with the pack. Penn State sophomore Casimir Loxsom is one to watch in the event as he was just one of four freshmen to qualify for the 2010 NCAA championships in the outdoor 800m.
“He’s strong as an ox,” Henner said of O’Connor. “Now if he can relax early in the race and stay close I think he can run with some of the top guys in the country.”
Brian Hencke, Sophomore
Hencke had a nice 800m two weeks ago, and has looked smooth in workouts since. He lines up in the 1000m with fellow Hoyas freshman Billy Ledder and redshirt freshman Bobby Peavey. Also racing is Penn State senior Sam Borchers who holds the school record in the event.
Amanda Kimbers, Sophomore
Kimbers will be without her counterpart this weekend, fellow sophomore Tenille Stoudenmire, who suffered a concussion in practice this week. The Hoyas’ top competitor in the short sprints, Kimbers will run both the 60m and the 200m and should have no trouble finding strong competition as she lines up against some of the top sprinters in the ACC.
“Amanda Kimbers is looking awesome. She’s a big time athlete and she’s had a great attitude this year,” Henner said. “She’s going to do some great things this year, I think.”
London Finley, Junior
Finley is coming off a sore foot that slowed her down some in the Hoya Invitational two weeks ago. She will compete in the 60m hurdles and the 400m, which features Penn State sophomore All-American Doris Anyanwu and former University of Tennessee Volunteer and six-time All-American Phoebe Wright.
Emily Menges, Freshman
This weekend, Menges, also a defender on the women’s soccer team, will take her first crack at the collegiate 500m. Also competing in the event is Tennessee transfer and redshirt sophomore Nijgia Snapp, who placed second in the outdoor 400m at the Big East championships a year ago at Seton Hall.
Chelsea Cox, Freshman
Cox had an outstanding day at the Hoya Invitational and will face the first real challenge of her young collegiate career this weekend in the 800m. Fellow freshman Becca DeLoache will join Cox in the race.
“Chelsea got off to a great start,” Henner said. “She’s still a freshman so we just want her to keep getting experience. As long as she goes out there and keeps competing hard, at some point this season she’s going to end up running really fast.”
In Cox and DeLoache’s heat, Tennessee brings to the line freshman Kianna Ruff, who has the 10th-best 800m time in the nation. Racing in the second heat will be four time All-American and two time NCAA champion, Tennessee junior Chanelle Price, who is arguably the best in the nation at the distance.
Emily Jones, Sophomore
An All-American, Jones ran a strong 3000m at the Hoya Invitational and will have a chance to improve upon that this weekend at Penn State. Jones lines up against senior All-American Liz Costello of Tennessee and Penn State sophomore Natalie Bower, who qualified for the NCAA championships 3000m steeplechase as a freshman.