Georgetown’s No. 10 men’s and No. 7 women’s cross-country teams each competed at the Pre-National Meet this past weekend in Louisville, Ky. The men finished in fifth place overall recording 214 points in the 8000-meter race, while the women placed seventh with a total of 381 points competing in the 6000-meter race.
The men’s team was led by junior Jonathan Green, who placed sixth overall with a time of 23:28.7. Green has consistently performed at a high level all season long, and his coach has taken notice.
“I was definitely most impressed with Jon Green. There were a bunch of really good runners up front, and Jon ran right with them,” Men’s Assistant Coach Brandon Bonsey said. “He even fell at the 6000-meter mark, got stepped on and had a pretty nasty spike scar, so for him to run right at the front of that race was extremely impressive.”
Bonsey further elaborated on Green’s success and team leadership by highlighting his mental approach to each race and practice.
“He’s mentally just really, really tough,” Bonsey said. “Jon always gives great effort in practice and in meets every single time and once that becomes the norm then the pressure of that stuff doesn’t seem to get to you as much. I think he’s at a very consistent approach whether we are running a low-key meet or a big meet. This consistent mental approach has allowed him to perform really well.”
Green was followed by senior Darren Fahy, who ran a time of 23:37.9 to finish 19th overall in the race. Junior Scott Carpenter finished the course in 23:55.0 and senior Ahmed Bile ran a time of 24:08.2, placing them in 48th and 70th, respectively.
Green is focused on learning from the meet as a team.
“We knew from the Paul Short race two weekends ago that we are fit. Coming into Pre-Nationals, the goal was definitely just to learn about the course in a race setting,” Green said. “I was most pleased that we accomplished that goal. We are learning from our mistakes from this past weekend so that we do not repeat them again at the NCAA championships.”
Graduate student Andrea Keklak led the women with a time of 20:35.2, finishing 33rd overall. This was Keklak’s second race back from an injury, which had sidelined her for both indoor and outdoor track seasons last year. Keklak was followed by freshman Audrey Belf who crossed the finish line at 20:46.3. That time placed her at 51st in the meet. Keklak was satisfied with her own performance and lauded Belf’s poise and grit.
“One of the things that helped me the most at Pre-Nationals was being able to run side-by-side with my teammates,” Keklak said. “It’s motivating and comforting at the same time to run in a race next to someone who you practice with every single day.”
About halfway through the race, Keklak says that she and Belf found one another and were able to move past several other competitors by running as a unit.
“Audrey really had an incredible day — it was only her second collegiate race ever, and she beat some of the best girls in the country. I think our team’s success is due to the younger members of the team, like Audrey, stepping up and having the confidence to run at the front of big races.”
Sophomore Piper Donaghu continued to build on her impressive start to the 2015 cross country season by recording a time of 21:05.5. This placed her at 93rd overall. Senior Haley Pierce and sophomore Autumn Eastman completed the race in 21:11.9 and 21:12.8, 104th and 111th, respectively.
As the Big East championships are just around the corner, Keklak is excited about the emotional and physical state of the team.
“Every week, we’ve been gaining fitness, but more importantly, we’ve been getting closer emotionally as a team. I think Saturday was a huge step forward in terms of that emotional piece — running for each other, and going through the pain for something bigger than yourself.”
“There’s something coach Mike always says, which is so true about cross-country; he says, ‘At the end of the day, there are no individual names in the results, there’s only ‘Georgetown’ with a score written next to it.’ And that’s exactly how cross country is,” Keklak added.
Both the men and women will prepare for the Big East championships in Mason, Ohio, on Oct. 31.
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