Several members of Georgetown’s track and field squads left the Big East Championships this weekend with individual medals, while the women’s team took fifth and the men’s eighth overall.
Junior All-American Chelsea Cox took first-place honors in the 800m, running a very tactical and well-executed race. At the outset of the race, Cox hung in the middle of the main pack and drafted off the leaders, passing the 200-meter mark in 31 seconds and sixth place. She spent most of the next 300 meters in seventh place, even dropping down to the eighth and last spot with 300 to go.
For the next few strides, Cox appeared to be dropping off but with 150 meters left put on a commanding surge that propelled her into first place. She continued her push in the final 75 meters, pulling out a comfortable win by about three strides.
“I was really happy, because Chelsea has demonstrated this year that she can win from the front but also can win from pretty far back with a sprint finish,” Director of Track & Field and Cross Country Patrick Henner said. “So I think she should be very confident right now about all race situations.”
Junior Deseree King was slightly more aggressive in her 500m performance. King came through the 200-meter mark in 26 seconds and in fourth place, hanging on to a group of frontrunners that had dropped a large portion of the field. St. John’s senior Trudy-Ann Mclean sprinted to the front after that point, opening up a two stride lead on King’s chase pack. King then ran into traffic and stumbled slightly, but she was able to regroup and stay in the chase pack in fifth. With 75 meters to go, King surged past Mclean and held on for the convincing victory in 1:12.54, a new personal record.
“Deseree’s performance was just a great example of the races we want. It was just a nitty-gritty tough performance,” Henner said. “A lot of athletes would have thrown in the towel after getting tripped up, but she had a great last 100 meters to win pretty decisively.”
Sophomore Katrina Coogan, meanwhile, continued her stellar indoor season for Georgetown, taking second place in the mile in 4:40.75, missing the win by less than half a stride. Coogan ran a very disciplined race, staying in third place for most of the opening stages behind another Hoya, freshman Rachel Paul, who led for most of the first half of the race. Paul eventually dropped back to fourth, andCoogan stayed on the new leader, Notre Dame senior Rebecca Tracy, until there were 300 meters left.
The final lap was a dogfight, with Coogan marking Tracy closely and then trying to make a move down the stretch. Tracy ended up being declared the winner in a photo finish, however, with an official time of 4:40.72, just .03 seconds ahead of Coogan.
“If you look at Katrina Coogan’s body of work in the past month, it’s pretty incredible, probably one of the best in Georgetown’s history. She’s run 4:40’s in the mile consistently, and then ran a 9:04 in Washington. She’s just had an incredible month,” Henner said.
The women’s squad, which won the indoor Big East championship last year, ran very well as a whole but in the end was simply outmatched in some events.
“We performed really well — there were a lot of standout races. We had people running some of their best times ever. It’s just that the competition was so good,” Henner said.
On the men’s side, youth was the storyline of the day, as several of the younger athletes turned in promising times that boded well for the outdoor season.
Freshman Ahmed Bile took third place in the 800m with a time of 1:51. Bile got off to a quick start, jumping into third almost immediately and sticking with the leaders through the 200-meter mark, clocking in at around 26 seconds for the first quarter of the race.
Bile continued to sit on the leaders through the next 400 meters and made a move on the final stretch. He gained ground through the final 50 but was held off by Villanova junior Chris Fitzsimmons and UConn freshman Robert Rhodes. If Bile had had 20 more meters to work with, Henner noted, he most likely would have won the race.
Additionally, freshman Devante Washington took eighth in the men’s 400 with a time of 50.19. Fellow freshman sprinter Mike Andre also ran well, contributing the 400-meter leg to the Hoyas’ second-place distance medley relay effort.
“Across the board, we’re young. The freshmen are very good athletes — it’s just that in a lot of events, the competition in the Big East is just a great conference,” Henner said. “So we just have to keep bringing these guys along, and we’re going to be fine. We really do have some great young talent.”