The Georgetown distance squad did take some small steps in the right direction this weekend at the Mt. SAC Relays in Walnut, Calif.
It still did not, however, deliver an overly impressive performance.
“It wasn’t spectacular racing, but some of our athletes took a step forward this weekend with some [personal records],” Director of Track & Field and Cross Country PatrickHenner said. “We didn’t run a lot of our top athletes this weekend, as we’ve had a number of big meets in the past weeks and some big ones coming up.” Racing for the men’s distance squad at Mt. SAC was junior Brian King and a sophomore trio of Silas Frantz, John Murray and CollinLeibold. All of the Hoya athletes ran in the 5000-meter competition, which was split into five sections of about 30 competitors each.
Murray ran in the Open-A division, which was designed to be the third-fastest section behind the Olympic Elite and Invitational Elite divisions. Murray executed the beginning and middle stages of the race well, keeping in contact with the main group of runners. With about 1000 meters to go, however, Murray was unable to make a strong move and ended up fading towards the end. He crossed in 14:15, good enough for 24th place in the section. This time does get Murray into the Big East Championships, and the 5000m is the second event that he is eligible for there, as he hit the 10,000mstandard previously.
“I think John just needs to be confident that he can really step it up in the last few laps,” Henner said. “I think he executed well, and it was a good step forward, but he can definitely go for it more in the last few laps. However, he should get in a good few weeks of training and be really ready to go at the Big East meet.”
Another Hoya who crossed the line with a Big East qualifying time was Frantz in 14:26. Frantzcompeted in section C, taking fifth place and narrowly missing the section win. The pace for Frantz’ssection went out a little slower than in Murray’s section, and so there were about 15 athletes bunched together through most of the race. The ending, therefore, came down to a battle of leg speeds — in which Frantz had good position — but he was unable to close in the last 200m.
“I feel like Silas can close faster, although he did happen to get in a race that was not that fast the whole time, and so I know he can run faster through the whole race,” Henner said.
The other two Hoya men, Leibold and King, had some bad luck this weekend. King fell sick with a suspected stomach virus a few days before the race, and so he struggled in his last mile, coming in at 14:32. Leibold, who was running unattached, was knocked down and then accidentally stepped on in the first lap, crossing in 14:29.
The women’s squad at Mt. SAC, consisting of senior Kirsten Kasper and sophomores Kelsey Smith and Annamarie Maag, also took steps in the right direction.
Kasper ran a Big East-qualifying time of 16:23 in the A division, taking ninth place. She ran a well-disciplined race that set her up to finish well in the last few laps. Kasper finished in a pack of runners, just three seconds back from a possible third-place finish.
“Kirsten has been working her way back from an injury and has really started to perform well,” Henner said. “She’s been showing great progress, and so I think that by Big East and NCAA regionals, she can be a factor.”
Maag and Smith were also in the A section, and Maag turned in a decent performance that is an improvement over the past few weeks. She took 19th place in the section in 16:37, which indicates that she should be ready to go faster in the next few weeks. Smith struggled to a 17:42 performance but seemed to be fighting the same stomach virus that plagued King in his race.
“I think that we had some nice forward progress this weekend, but we did have a few people sick and some unfortunate turns of events,” Henner said. “However, we should be ready to go for the Penn Relays next week and then the beginning of the postseason.”