Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Taking the Helm, Henner Looks to Lead GU

New coach, same gig.

After Director of Track and Field and Cross Country Ron Helmer resigned last spring, Georgetown was left looking for a new coach to pick up where Helmer left off. The Hoyas did not need to look far, however, picking former Patrick Henner to try and maintain Georgetown’s impressive track prowess.

“I couldn’t have asked for a better transition,” Henner said. “We have the pieces to the puzzle, now it’s just a matter of putting those pieces together at the right time.”

Henner has been head coach of the men’s cross country team since 1999, so his duties remain the same entering his first year leading the program. Henner has built a deep men’s squad, as the Hoyas look to improve on last year’s second place showing at the Big East Championships.

“The Big East is one of the toughest or the toughest conferences in the country,” Henner said. “Both teams should be better than last year, and each definitely has a shot at a Big East title.”

Returning on the men’s side is a slew of veterans all eyeing a conference championship. Senior Matt Debole is joined by juniors Levi Miller and Andrew Bumbalough at the head of the pack, as all three look to build on their impressive spring track seasons. At the NCAA championships in Sacramento, Miller finished 18th in the 5000-meter trials while Bumbalough took 23rd in the 1500m trials, each narrowly missing the finals. It is the depth of this year’s Hoyas, however, that will determine their performance at the big meets.

Henner pointed to seniors Dan Nunn and Justin Scheid, junior ike Krisch and sophomore Alex Mason as the keys to this season.

“Our season hinges on the other guys around Levi, Matt and Andrew and how well they perform,” he said. “If they can stay healthy and keep their confidence up, that will give us a huge boost.”

In preparation for the season, the men have been going through the motions of a pretty typical fall. Putting in mile after mile of preparation, the squad is unmoved by the coaching change.

“There is a very rich running tradition here at Georgetown, and we constantly thrive to build on that,” Debole said. “It’s been a very positive transition, if it even needs to be called that. We all enjoy the sport and everybody brings a positive mentality to our team, so it’s never a stressful work environment here.”

New assistant Chris Miltenburg (MSB ’03) will lead the women’s cross country team, as he returns to Georgetown after a three-year coaching stint at Columbia. A two-time all-American during his time on the Hilltop, Miltenburg is no stranger to Hoya running.

“It’s great to be back, especially this soon,” said Miltenburg. “Getting to know each girl and picking up where they left off last spring has gone smoothly.”

Leading the women’s side will be senior Melissa Grelli, who capped off an impressive spring season with a runner-up finish in the 10,000m at the NCAA championships.

“Melissa is definitely one of the best distance runners in the country and she can challenge anybody this cross-country season,” Miltenburg said.

Joining Grelli is graduate student Elizabeth Maloy, who has had a successful but injury-plagued career on the Hilltop. An all-American her junior year, Maloy hopes to remain healthy and peak in her fifth year with the squad. After four years under Helmer, Maloy seems at ease with a new coach.

“It’s a change, but it’s a good change,” aloy said. “There’s a completely different mindset and the communication between coaches and athletes has been really emphasized.”

Among other things, Maloy hopes to remain injury-free and help the development of a growing women’s distance contingent. aloy and senior Joanna Rodgers lead a young group headed by junior Lise Ogrodnick and sophomores Renee Tomlin, Lauren Gregory and Kelsey Malmquist. Miltenburg noted freshmen Laura Gallo and Samantha McMillan have “big-time potential.”

Miltenburg has been proactive in approaching the injury situations of many of his runners. Keeping the team competitive as well as maintaining each athlete’s health and fitness is a difficult balance to strike, but Miltenburg would rather err on the side of caution than burn out his talented group early in the season.

“A big thing I’ve done is to try and figure out why some girls have been injured,” he said. “Putting all the pieces together systematically over the next few months, we can be really good at the right time when it counts.”

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