The Georgetown men’s and women’s track and field teams rewrote the record books this past weekend at the Penn State Relays, shattering several school and national milestones.
Individual standouts from this weekend’s meet include junior Ahmed Bile, who became the seventh Hoya ever to run a sub-four-minute competitive mile, and senior All-American Katrina Coogan, who anchored this season’s fastest women’s distance medley relay time in the country.
“This past weekend was a pretty historic weekend for us,” Director of Track and Field Patrick Henner said. “Right now, the women’s distance medley relay is No. 1 in the country, the men’s distance medley relay is No. 1 in the country. … the men got the No. 5 time in Georgetown’s history. Those performances were pretty incredible. The men raced against Penn State, who most people believed were favored, so to beat them was a big step forward for us.”
Bile’s official mile time clocked in at 3:59:04, good for second place in the event. Incredibly, the Penn State Relays marked was the first collegiate meet at which Bile ran the mile, as he previous focused on the distance medley relay and the 800m and 1000m events.
“It’s amazing, it’s a great honor and I’m really excited,” Bile said “I’ve been battling a lot of injuries over the last two years, so to finally [run a sub-four-minute mile] is amazing. … To finally put together the last six, seven, eight months of training felt really great.”
Bile, however, was quick to give credit to his teammates.
“I think we have a couple other guys that are ready to [run a sub-four-minute mile] as well, and maybe go even faster,” Bile said.
Henner was impressed with Bile’s performance.
“Ahmed [Bile] joining the sub-four-minute mile club is a pretty big deal, and I think we have four or five other guys that have a good shot at doing that too,” Henner said.
Running as the final leg of the women’s distance medley relay, Coogan keyed the Hoyas’ victory, as the team recorded a record-setting time of 10:57.71. In addition, she ran the second-fastest mile in the women’s division, finishing with a time of 4:36:16 and likely winning herself a spot in the NCAA Nationals in the process.
“On the women’s team, the number one person I’d point to as a leader is Katrina Coogan,” Henner said. “She was an All-American last year and led us to the fourth place in cross-country. She anchored our distance medley relay at Penn State and then came back and ran a time in the mile that’ll probably get her into the NCAA meet.”
For her part, Coogan explained that she was not concerned with her individual or team time during the distance medley relay.
“Our main goal was just to beat Villanova. … We have a rivalry with Villanova that goes back to when the track program first started at Georgetown,” Coogan said. “Both schools, ’Nova and Georgetown, have a really strong history of middle-distance running which is what the [distance medley relay] is all about. Ever since my freshman year, there’s been a lot of close races where they narrowly beat us or we narrowly beat them.”
“We beat them pretty handily,” she added. “It was awesome … the competition brought out the best [in us].”
Other notable performances include those by junior Samantha Nadel, junior Michael Lederhouse and senior Hannah Neczypor. After battling through weeks of injuries, Nadel finished in first place in the women’s 3000m race with a time of 9:18.23. In the men’s 3000m race, Lederhouse took first place as well, finishing with a time of 8:03.11. Neczypor not only finished fourth in the women’s mile event with a time of 4:48.28, but also earned the women’s team a massive lead in the first leg of the distance medley relay.
Above all, Coach Henner attributed his team’s success to its strong leaders.
“Right now we have some great leadership,” Henner said. “Guys like [graduate student] Billy Ledder [and graduate student] Brian King — I think those guys are great leaders.”
The team’s next meet comes on the weekend of Feb. 12. The team will travel to Boston to race in the Boston Invitational.
Coogan is confident about the team’s chances.
“Now that we’re getting sharper and we’re getting closer to the championship, I think it’s going to be really exciting to see what people can do,” Coogan said.
Correction: A previous version of this article incorrectly indicated that Ahmed Bile focused on the 1600m, instead of the 1000m event, prior to earning his sub-four-minute mile record.