The No. 1 Georgetown women’s cross country team sprinted to victory in its first meet of the year at the Harry Groves Invitational at Penn State.

Freshman Hannah Neczypor won her first collegiate race when she separated herself from a crowded pack of runners with 600 meters left in the race. The Hoyas finished in six of the top eight spots in that contest.

The future looks promising for the Hoyas as those finishing behind Neczypor included her All-Americann teammate, junior Emily Jones.

“I think [Neczypor] ran phenomenally in her first race,” Head Coach Chris Miltenberg said.

As a freshman, she will have time to develop as well as learn from current teammates such as Jones and senior five-time All-American Emily Infel.

“The pressure isn’t on her right now, so the transition will be smooth,” Miltenberg said. “She has the chance to be one of the best freshmen in the country and one of the best runners in the country over the next few years.”

Neczypor finished in 21:05, junior Kristen Kasper (21:09) followed her in second, with graduate student Claire Richardson (21:09) in third and Jones (21:14) in fourth.

While the competition was certainly weaker than the Blue and Gray are used to, the squad saw the early meet as a chance to race together as a team.

“It was not a very competitive meet, but we wanted to try to get the first race underway,” Miltenberg said. “We looked at this race as a low-key starter. No matter where we go, we work on the way we race and work together. … This was much more about getting back in the routine.”

Even the course itself provided an opportunity for the Hoyas. At Penn State, the most difficult part of the course comes at the 2.5-mile mark, where the race begins to get hilly, and the runners start to tire.

“I wanted to get that feeling of getting out hard and having to recover through the race,” Miltenberg said. “The NCAA [national] course is very much that way.”

Going forward, the squad will reinforce the idea of running together as a team rather than as a collection of individuals. In crosscountry, pacing and strategy is just as important as individual talent and skill.

Georgetown’s next event, the Paul Short Invitational, the weekend of Sept. 30 at Lehigh, includes competition from the top-25 teams in the country. One of the most competitive early-season meets in the nation, it gives Georgetown a chance to continue its winning ways and fulfill the high expectations for this year.

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