The No. 23 Georgetown men’s and women’s cross-country teams enter championship season as they travel to the Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx this weekend for the Big East Championship.
Both teams endured their fair share of struggles this season but have seen certain athletes flash potential, even when the team as a whole was not competing well.
In their most recent meet, the men placed 14th out of 30 competing teams at the 2016 Nuttycombe Wisconsin Invitational while the women finished 22nd out of 31 squads.
Georgetown Head Coach Brandon Bonsey spoke about his initial expectations as the Hoyas prepare to compete in their first championship meet of the season.
“I’m just expecting that the guys go out, follow the plan I give and give really good effort,” Bonsey said. “Obviously we know we won last year, but this is a different team than we had last year. We are just trying to go out, execute our plan as best we can and whatever that gets us result-wise, we’ll take that.”
Senior Scott Carpenter has led the Hoyas all season, consistently showing that he is among the top cross-country runners in the nation. Carpenter was named the Big East Conference’s Men’s Cross Country Athlete of the Week after his performance at the 2016 Nuttycombe Wisconsin Invitational.
He finished the 8-km race with a time of 24:07.0, good enough for 13th place overall. Carpenter also won the Paul Short Run earlier this month, running the 8-km course in 23:37.0, for which he was also awarded the Big East Conference’s Men’s Cross Country Athlete of the Week.
“Individually I want to be as low-key as possible,” Carpenter said. “As a team, our goal is to win the Big East Championship. I think we definitely have the personnel to do that we just need to go out and execute, race together and race for each other. I don’t want to be cocky or anything like that we can do it.”
Junior Christian Alvarado has continued to improve upon his breakout season. Alvarado burst onto the scene following his performance at the Harry Groves Spiked Shoe Club Invitational, in which he crossed the finish line at 26:31.6 — good for fourth place. Alvarado continued to improve his times throughout the season, running a 24:03 at the Paul Short Run and a 24:37.2 at the Nuttycombe Wisconsin Invitational.
Carpenter said that people have yet to see the team’s full potential.
“We definitely haven’t come together as a team yet,” Carpenter said. “We also have a couple of injuries with guys who could potentially come back for us, maybe not this weekend, but in the future. We also have guys who aren’t coming back at all so we need to put that aside and move on without them and really just run for each other, run for Georgetown and see what we can do.”
On the women’s side, sophomore Josette Norris has been a nice fit for the Hoyas, claiming 27th place at the Paul Short Run in the women’s gold 6-km course. She was the first Hoya to cross the finish line at the Nuttycombe Wisconsin Invitational, finishing in 89th place, running a time of 21:19.1.
Junior Autumn Eastman had high praise for her teammate.
“Josette is a great athlete,” Eastman said. “She is a great addition for our team. … We wouldn’t have had her on this team if we didn’t think she was the right fit for our culture. She’s made great contributions for this team so far. She has really fit in well so far and we are really happy to have her here.”
Eastman has shown consistency throughout the season, starting the year off by capturing sixth place at the Harry Groves Spiked Shoe Club Invitational with a time of 21:17. She maintained her steady performance at both the Paul Short Run and Nuttycombe Wisconsin Invitational, respectively running times of 20:29 and 21:33.6 at both.
Eastman credited her teammates for pushing her both at practice and during the meets.
“It really just comes down to holding each other accountable on the team,” Eastman said. “If I know that a teammate is going to give me the best that she’s got on that day, it makes me need to give the best that I’ve got on that day.”
Eastman spoke about how the team handles the increased pressures of performing throughout championship season.
“We really just go through the same exact motions at a small UVA meet as you would at the Olympics,” Eastman said. “We really just practice the same routine, the exact same motions and I think that this reassures you and calms those nerves. When it comes to the day, there’s no doubt that there’s going to be nerves, but knowing that you’ve put in all the work is reassuring.”
Both the No. 23 men’s and women’s Georgetown cross-country teams will regroup after the Big East Championship meet to compete in the NCAA Mid-Atlantic Regional Championship held in State College, Pa. on Nov. 11.
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