The No. 23 Georgetown men’s and No. 11 Georgetown women’s indoor track and field teams each competed at the NCAA championships in Birmingham, Ala. last weekend. The women captured 21 points and secured ninth place overall at the meet, and the men fell short of placing in the top 10.
The Hoyas were led by the relay of graduate student Andrea Keklak, senior Heather Martin, junior Emma Keenan and graduate student Katrina Coogan in a historic performance in the women’s distance medley relay. The foursome captured Georgetown’s third national championship in the event in program history with a time of 10:57.21, the ninth fastest time in NCAA history.
“That was one of those moments you wait your entire collegiate career for,” Keklak said. “I think that night we were all ready. It wasn’t like one person had an amazing leg. Everyone went out there, was calm, was confident and did their job. At those meets, I think that’s 90 percent of what you have to do and it’s easy to lose confidence at that moment. I don’t know, before the relay we all got inside a huddle and looked at each other and smiled. We were ready. I’ll never forget that.”
The men’s distance medley relay team, consisting of senior Michael Lederhouse, sophomore Joe White, junior Amos Bartelsmeyer and senior Ahmed Bile finished in 12th place overall with a time of 10:29.70.
On the second day of the meet, Coogan continued her outstanding performance, placing third overall in the women’s 3000-meter event. Coogan went out aggressively as she challenged senior Molly Seidel of Notre Dame for the lead. However, Coogan eventually claimed third, finishing with a time of 9:07.74.
Coogan highlighted the difficulty of maintaining focus after the record-setting DMR performance.
“[Director of Track and Field] Mike [Smith] told me I had to put it out of my mind because I had a race tomorrow,” Coogan said. “But that was impossible for me to do because I was so pumped. I probably slept three hours last night because I couldn’t stop replaying it in my head. So I felt pretty tired in the 3K. Because that was a huge goal for us for four years so coming off of that and just all the emotions, the 3K was just harder. But we still ran hard and competed well.”
Keklak followed up the women’s DMR with an impressive performance of her own in the women’s invitational mile. Keklak finished in fourth place, clocking in at 4:38.44. Like Coogan, Keklak also found it difficult to mentally recuperate coming off the DMR performance.
“Coach Mike said I was not allowed to think about the DMR on Saturday. But I think we were both a little tired. But I felt tired as Katrina probably did as well,” Keklak said. “In a weird way, it was one of the least stressful races of the weekend because in the prelim you are worried about making the final and there is a lot of emotional energy and obviously the DMR is emotionally taxing. By the third one you have spent your nerves. It wasn’t the best I’ve felt in the mile, but coming off the relay I felt confident.”
Bile competed for the men’s team in the 3000m run. During the race, Bile tripped over the legs of another runner and fell down. This proved to be costly for Bile, as he crossed the finish line in 14th place with a time of 8:24.15.
The NCAA championship meet concluded the indoor season for both the men’s and women’s track and field teams.