After a strong showing from younger athletes last weekend in Williamsburg, Va., Georgetown track and field is geared up to unleash its premier talents this weekend at the George Mason Spring Invitational in Fairfax, Va.
“We’re pretty much going to be running all of our top athletes, and hopefully we get some good weather so [that] from the 400-meters on up, we can put up some pretty fast times,” Director of Track & Field and Cross Country Patrick Henner said. “We’ve set up our training to have a great opportunity to hit qualifying marks in this meet.”
If the weather does hold up, several Hoyas will find themselves in great positions to hit NCAA Regional first-round qualifying standards. The top 48 marks in each event from the country’s East and West regions automatically qualify for the NCAA championship first round.
Several Georgetown athletes are currently well on their way to securing a regional spot. Senior All-American Andrew Springer is ranked fourth in the region in the 5000 meters, ranked just five seconds behind the No. 2 time and 12 seconds from the top spot. Sophomore Katrina Coogan is ranked second in the East in the women’s 5000m, just 0.5 seconds behind the No. 1 time in the region. Junior Chelsea Cox, meanwhile, is holding down 16th in the 1500m and is a few seconds ahead of the current cutoff.
There are also a number of Hoyas who are on the bubble for a regional spot, and this weekend’s meet should generate some fast times to put them very much in the mix. Junior Deseree King, for example, is sitting in 69th position in the 400m dash but is less than half a second back from the current cut time. With good conditions this weekend, she should be able to break well into qualifying range.
In the men’s 10,000m, graduate student Mark Dennin is currently in 53rd position on the East performance list, just four seconds off of the qualifying pace. The final few spots for this event remain wide open, as there are a significant number of athletes all around the same time range.
While the focus on this meet may be on the more experienced runners, look for several younger athletes to have breakout days as well. Freshman sprinters Devante Washington and Mike Andre will be running the 400m, and both have been steadily improving through the indoor season and should be ready to put together a quarter mile that will turn some heads in the East region.
The likelihood of quick times at George Mason is augmented by the fact that it is an open meet, meaning that it is not required for competing teams to be collegiate. As a result, some young, post-graduate professional teams from the Eastern Seaboard typically compete at the Mason Invitational, which makes the event fields very competitive. Competitive fields translate to fast times, so keep an eye out for personal records and qualifying marks out of Georgetown track and field in Fairfax.