The Georgetown men’s and women’s cross country teams are headed to Louisville, Ky., this weekend for the NCAA championships with a chance for the women to defend last year’s title and the men to claim their first-ever championship.

The No. 18 men’s team enters the meet coming off a masterful seven-second time spread performance in winning the NCAA Mid-Atlantic Regional last weekend.

“At this point, with training, you’re not going to really make many gains in fitness,” Head Coach Brandon Bonsey said. “The guys have been doing really easy running this week and also have recovered very well from the regional meet, so they should be rested and ready to go at Nationals.”

Racing for the Hoyas will be graduate students Mark Dennin and Ayalew Taye, seniors Andrew Springer and Ben Furcht, sophomores Miles Schoedler and John Murray and freshman Darren Fahy.

“We ran a pretty similar race plan at Pre-Nationals on this same course that we’re planning to be running this weekend,’’ Bonsey said. “More than anything, [the team needs] to have confidence that they’ve already run well on that course.”

There will be 255 runners in tomorrow’s race, a large field that means each second will be worth at least two or three places. That plays into the Hoyas’ race plan, especially if the Blue and Gray can maintain their small time spread and minimize the number of competitors who come in between them.

“We definitely want to finish higher than our national ranking right now, but we haven’t really talked about a team goal place wise,” Bonsey said. “We’re focusing on each individual making sure that they run a good, solid team race, and if they do that, the results should come.”

The No. 11 women’s team’s preparation has been similar to the men’s squad’s, with the team’s cutting back on the training this week to ensure that they are sufficiently recovered from last weekend’s meet.

“Our goal is to finish as high as we possibly can. I’m quite confident that this is as good a team as we believed it was at the start of the season,” Head Coach Michael Smith said. “So we’re going to have a great race out there. If we race as well as I know we can, we’re going to be right there in the mix at the top of the results.”

Seniors Kirsten Kasper, Rachel Schneider and Emily Jones, junior Madeline Chambers, sophomores Annamarie Maag and Katrina Coogan and freshman Samantha Nadel will race for the Hoyas.

With little time disparity between the nation’s best teams, Georgetown should be right in the mix at racetime.

“We’re going to need to be racing the whole time in this one. It’s really important that we make sure that we run the last mile hard instead of just sort of hanging on,” Smith said. “In this race, every second counts.”

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