Georgetown indoor track and field’s seemingly endless road trip will come to a close today at the Hanley Center for Academic Excellence on the campus of Georgetown Preparatory School as the team plays host to its first indoor meet in the program’s 100-plus-year history.
Athletic facilities for many teams on campus are lacking, with teams such as the baseball, softball and field hockey programs traveling to off-campus sites for their home games. The track and field program, however, has been without any home whatsoever after Kehoe Track, which used to lie above Yates Field House, was removed in 2002 to construct the current Kehoe fields.
In past years the Hoyas have not had many options for a track. Duke Ellington Track, just north of Reservoir Road, where the Hoyas have been able to practice since 2006, is only 320 meters long and therefore not fit for outdoor competition. Yates Field House’s three-lane 200m indoor track with no real space for sprint straightaways isn’t large enough for a quality indoor meet.
After traveling to all meets during both the indoor and outdoor seasons for 12 years after the last outdoor meet was held on Kehoe Track in 1998, the coaching staff started brainstorming about a year ago to find a venue where they could give their athletes an opportunity to compete close to home.
“We just really wanted to have something here for our current student athletes and alumni, something to connect them to the larger Georgetown community a little bit more,” Director of Men’s and Women’s Track and Field Pat Henner said.
They found a willing partner in Georgetown Prep, which boasts a gleaming field house and a six-lane 200m state of the art indoor track.
“It’s a nice change of pace from always having to travel so far,” senior Toby Ulm said. “Hopefully we’ll see a lot of alumni or students come out to watch.”
“It’s a great way for the chance to all be together, alumni, former Georgetown student athletes, as well as just the Georgetown community,” added senior Deidra Sanders, who will be running in the 300m and the 4x400m. “Being able to finally see us compete because hardly anyone has ever seen us compete.”
Dubbed the Hoya Spiked Shoe Club Invitational, today’s meet will feature both collegiate and professional runners, with William and Mary, Howard and Georgetown running against several professional athletes, many from the Gagliano Track Club, which is headed by Frank Gagliano, who coached the Georgetown track and field program to 23 Big East championships from 1983 to 2001.
On the professional side, past Georgetown standouts Liam Boylan-Pett and Liz Maloy join nine-time All-American Frances Koons, former NCAA champion Lindsey Gallo and Julie Culley, the top American finisher at the 2009 World Cross Country Championships.
The current Georgetown team brings some of the top collegiate athletes in the sport to the table, with seniors Chris Kinney and Toby Ulm leading the way for the men. Kinney, one of the top hurdlers in the country and a two-time All-American, is sitting out the hurdles but will be competing in the 300m, while Ulm will look for his second win of the season in the 500m.
On the women’s side, junior standout London Finley leads the way for the Hoyas in the sprints and hurdles, while many of the Hoyas’ middle distance and distance runners who led the Blue and Gray to a fourth-place team finish at the NCAA cross country championships, including sophomore All-American Emily Jones and junior Katie McCafferty, will debut on the track. Graduate student Renee Tomlin, one of the Hoyas’ top talents in the middle distance events will also be running unattached as she prepares for her final season of eligibility in outdoor track.
With the meet falling early in the indoor season, the Hoyas’ focus will be on quality competition rather than on running fast times.