Georgetown track and field is competing in the culmination of its regular season this weekend at the famous Penn Relays, which began last night in Philadelphia and will continue on through Saturday.
Several elite Division I teams will be competing on both the men’s and the women’s sides, including Oregon, Tennessee, Indiana and Duke. The strength of the competition, coupled with the thousands of fans expected at historic Franklin Field, should help to generate some very fast times.
Last night, the women’s distance medley relay team got the Hoyas off to a rocky start in Philadelphia, taking seventh place in the event in 11:22, a good deal slower than what they were hoping for. Graduate student Andrea Keklak led off in the 1200-meter leg, running a 3:30 and putting the Hoyasin a deficit that they were unable to make up. That slow leg was compounded by a mishap in the second exchange, as junior Chelsea Cox collided with another competitor and subsequently dropped the baton.
“Ugly is the only real way to describe this,” Director of Track & Field and Cross Country PatrickHenner said. “Andrea had strep throat last week, and she wasn’t recovered. And then with Chelsea dropping the stick, it was just one bad thing after another.”
On Saturday, however, that same relay squad will get a chance to redeem itself in the 4x800m relay. Right now, the Penn Relays race preview has Georgetown projected to go around fourth in this event, close behind Tennessee and Louisiana State. Oregon is seen as the heavy favorite, perhaps even as candidates to break the 8:17 national record.
The Hoyas have clocked in at 8:41 in previous 4x800s but should be able to run a lot faster than that this weekend, according to Henner. It will really come down to Cox, who has run 2:05 so far this season — if she can get down to around 2:02, it should put the Hoyas in the mix for a trip to the medal stand.
The men’s distance medley, meanwhile, is slated to compete today. This Georgetown unit is also heavily stacked, with senior Bobby Peavey taking the 1200m leg, freshman Devante Washington the400m, junior Billy Ledder the 800m and senior All-American Andrew Springer anchoring on the mile leg. Peavey had a stellar performance a few weeks ago at George Mason in the 1500m and should be ready to lay down a solid opening leg for the Hoyas. Washington has also been solid in the 400m, and Ledder seems ready to run 1:47 or better in the 800m.
Just how high the Hoyas can go, then, is likely to come down to Springer’s performance. The Rhode Island native suffered from a slight illness in the past weeks, but all signs thus far point to a complete recovery.
“I think we can run faster than we have been — we’ve run 9:33 in the indoor season, but I think we’ll be right there,” Henner said. “There are some very good teams in the race, but I think we can have a shot at doing really well in this one.”
The meet may not bear much influence on Big East or NCAA qualifying standings, but — given the event’s history — the Hoyas will still be looking to excel.
“We want to do really well at the Penn Relays and are looking at this as a way to see what we need to do leading up to the end of the season, but overall, it is a pride thing,” Henner said. “It’s just a big, prestigious event in front of a lot of fans.”