After finishing first and second at the 2015 Big East championship meet and top 20 at NCAAs, the No. 7 Georgetown men’s and No. 19 Georgetown women’s cross-country teams look to replicate their success as they open their seasons on Sept. 9 at the Harry Groves Spiked Shoe Invitational in State College, Pa.
The Hoyas are prepared despite changes to the coaching staff earlier this summer. After serving as an assistant coach last season, Brandon Bonsey has been promoted to head coach of the Georgetown men’s cross-country team. During his time as an assistant coach, Bonsey saw his student athletes capture 22 total Big East titles and 16 student athletes claim 36 All-America honors in nine different events.
Last season, the Hoyas finished the 2015-16 cross-country season ranked 10th nationally, leaving Bonsey in a position to improve. Senior Jonathan Green looks to build on his accomplishments from last year and lead his team to more post-season success.
In 2015, Green saw his times go down after spending a summer training at altitude, a method of training that exercises the body by sending oxygen to muscles at a faster rate. While the direct effects of training at altitude have not been medically proven, it definitely helped to lower Green’s times.
Green enjoyed a breakout performance during his 2015 campaign, finishing in second place at the Big East championship with a time of 22:40.0 on the 8,000m course. His time helped the Hoyas claim their first Big East championship since the 2008 season.
Green turned in another sensational performance at the 2015 NCAA National championship, placing fifth place overall at 29:49.5 over the 10,000m race course. His impressive showing helped the Hoyas capture a top-10 finish in the National championship.
Senior Amos Bartelsmeyer joins Green as another experienced upperclassman who had a strong finish to last season. At the 2015 NCAA Pre-National meet, Bartelsmeyer crossed the finish line in 71st place with a time of 24:08.9. He showed his mental fortitude once again at the Big East championship meet, finishing at 23:20.8 on the 8000m race track, scoring a total of eight points. At the Mid-Atlantic Regional championship, Bartelsmeyer, on a 10,000m course, crossed the finish line at 31:00.9, recording eight points for the Hoyas. At the 2016 NCAA National championship, Bartelsmeyer came in 128th place, running a time of 31:00.2. This time he scored 103 points for the Hoyas.
Georgetown will also be looking to graduate student Michael Lederhouse to lead the men this season. Lederhouse came in sixth place at the Paul Short Invitational with a time of 24:09 on the 8,000m race course. At the Mid-Atlantic Regional championship, Lederhouse was the second Hoya to finish the 10,000m course, coming in at 30:58.2, good enough for seventh place. He also scored 126 points for the Hoyas at the 2016 NCAA National championship, running a time of 31:30.7. With the presence of Green, Bartelsmeyer and Lederhouse, Bonsey has inherited a talented group of experienced runners who are eager to return to the NCAA National championship.
For the women’s team, the Hoyas will be relying on juniors Piper Donaghu and Autumn Eastman to improve upon their impressive sophomore year campaigns. In 2015, the dynamic duo burst onto the scene early in the season and never looked back. At the Big East championship meet, Eastman captured seventh place with a time of 20:01.0 on a 6,000m race course. At the 2015 NCAA championship meet, Donaghu ran a time of 21:34.4 on a 6,000m path.
If Donaghu and Eastman can carry last year’s momentum into the 2016 season, they should each hit new personal records before nationals.
Additionally, sophomore Audrey Belf enjoyed a very promising freshman season for the Hoyas. At the 2015 NCAA Pre-National meet, Belf came in 51st place, finishing with a time of 20:46.3. At the Big East championship, Belf turned in an impressive performance, crossing the finish line at 20:10.4 and scoring 11 points for the Hoyas.
Belf, also having a positive impact for the Hoyas in both track seasons, ran primarily longer distances in the winter and spring seasons. Known for her stamina, she appears to be poised to take the next step in her early Georgetown cross-country career.
Although the Hoyas experienced many individual accomplishments this past season, cross-country is ultimately a team-oriented sport. The men scored 33 points to capture first place at the Big East championship while the women took second place with 54 total points. At the 2015 NCAA championship meet, the men came in 10th place overall, recording 352 points, and their female counterparts finished in 20th with 491 points.
The Hoyas face a short schedule this cross-country season. After their opening meet, they will travel to Bethlehem, Pa., for the Paul Short Invitational on Oct. 1, which the men won last year. On Oct. 14, both teams will compete at the Nuttycombe Wisconsin Invitational in Madison, Wis. The Hoyas will then enter championship season, competing in the Big East championship in New York, N.Y,, the NCAA Mid-Atlantic Regional championships in State College, Pa., and the 2016 NCAA championship in Terre Haute, Ind.
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