Though no other competitor was within 10 meters, Georgetown’s coaching staff became visibly excited as their eyes bounced from their stopwatches to senior Toby Ulm and back to their stopwatches again.
Ulm, competing in the 500m at the first annual Hoya Spiked Shoe Club Invitational on Friday afternoon at the Hanley Center for Athletic Excellence on the campus of Georgetown Preparatory School, had came out of the blocks at such a torrid pace that his time through 300m would have won the 300m dash itself. Completely separated from the field, Ulm surged smoothly through the 400m mark to clock a 48.4-second split, matching his season-best 400m that he ran at the Navy Invitational about a month ago.
Ulm labored through the last 100m but finished with a time of 1:03.91, a solid time for this early in the season.
“I was really pleased … [but] the last 100[m] hurt,” Ulm said. “It hurt a lot.”
With nearly all his training being strength oriented at this point in the season, Assistant Coach Stanley Lagrenade was pleased with the kind of speed that Ulm showed through the first 400m of the race.
“I was really impressed with Toby,” Lagrenade said. “For him to come out to run a season best en route to running that time lets me know that we are in a really good place.”
In the very next event, the women’s 500m, freshman Chelsea Cox put on a show of her own, easily winning the event with a time of 1:13.36.
Cox too came out of the blocks very hard, sailing through the 400m mark in 55.5s and gapping the rest of the field. Cox tied up over the last 100m like Ulm but fought through the pain to run a strong early-season time.
“The plan was to go out hard, and I think we did,” Cox said. “All of us had a good effort the first 400m, and then the last 100, just maintain.”
As with Ulm, the most valuable experience Cox gained from the race was the strain of the final straightaway, as that’s where races will be won during the championship season.
“To get what we wanted to get out of it, you had to get out hard and tie up at the end and have to learn how to deal with it,” Assistant Coach Chris Miltenberg said. “She did an awesome job of that. Chelsea’s just a tough, tough competitor.”
While the middle distance and distance events may have been more competitive, with many professionals competing against Georgetown’s top athletes, it was both Cox and Ulm’s performances in the 500m that stood out on the day.
“Those two really showed something special today,” Director of Men’s and Women’s Track and Field Pat Henner said. “They just went out and ran the 500 like you’re supposed to run it. It’s a sprint. You’re supposed to get out and run hard. This time of year you’re going to tie up, but you have to make yourself tie up if you’re going to end up running fast later in the year.”
-The Hoya Spiked Shoe Club Invitational was Georgetown’s first-ever home indoor meet, and it went about as smoothly as the coaching staff could have hoped. Held on Georgetown Prep’s campus in Bethesda, Md., the meet featured athletes from Howard, William and Mary, Richmond and various professional track clubs. While the meet had a low-key feel, many Hoya alumni were in attendance, and there is hope for the invitational to turn into an annual event.
“This is great. Georgetown Prep letting us come in here is fantastic,” said former Hoya Hall of Fame Head Coach Frank Gagliano, who brought some of his professional athletes to compete in the meet. “Beautiful facility — I’m happy for the Hoyas. The men and women are running well.”
-The Hoyas easily took home both the men’s and women’s sprint titles in the 60m dash, with sophomore Christian Tobias winning for the men in 6.96s and sophomore Tenille Stoudenmire taking home the women’s title with a time of 7.69s.
“Personally, it’s good that I won but I know there’s a lot of things I need to improve on,” said Stoudemire, who was nursing a sore hamstring. “I wasn’t really satisfied with my time.”
-Senior Ayalew Taye easily handled former Haitian Olympian Moise Joseph in the men’s mile, surging past Joseph midway through the race en route to a time of 4:08.
“This is my first mile in a year. I felt good, you know, I was comfortable,” Taye said. “I was happy because I hadn’t done any speedwork.”
-Juniors Lauren Borduin and Katie McCafferty both ran well in the women’s mile, finishing in second and third, respectively. Borduin ran 4:52.88 and McCafferty clocked in at 4:53.88.
-Sophomore Amanda Kimbers ran well in the 300m dash to win with a time of 39.97s.
-Freshman Diana Sainvil took home the women’s 60m hurdles title with a time of 9.00s and finished second in the 200m with a time of 27.20s.
-Junior Austin Perron ran solidly in the 300m, taking first in 35.18s. Sophomore Christian Tobias finished second and senior Sean Suber finished third.
-The Hoyas had some solid debuts in the 3000m on both the men’s and women’s side. Senior T.C. Lumbar led for most of the race and came in third with a time of 8:25.01. Sophomore Ben Furcht closed hard in the last 200m to take second in 8:20. For the women, sophomore Emily Jones and freshman Joanna Stevens ran together nearly the entire race and finished in 9:40.56 and 9:40.94, respectively — good enough for second and third place.