TRACK AND FIELD Georgetown Delivers All-American Performances at National Meet By Scott Homa Hoya Staff Writer

Fayetteville, Ark. may not be your typical spring break destination, but to collegiate indoor track and field athletes, it’s the hottest ticket in town.

The three-month indoor regular season consists of mainly unscored meets used by athletes to meet nationally qualifying marks and earn a trip to the NCAA Championships, held annually at the Randal Tyson Track Center on the campus of the University of Arkansas.

Although many Hoyas met NCAA provisional requirements throughout the course of this season, Georgetown sent only seven athletes to nationals. But what the teams lacked in quantity, they more than made up for in quality, with all but one runner earning All-American honors, which are awarded to the top eight finishers in each event.

“We came up short in several places and didn’t get as many people qualified as we would have liked,” Director of Track and Field and Cross Country Ron Helmer said. “[Qualifying] is just extraordinarily difficult. They only take 14 people in individual events, and 10 in relays, so already, you have to be really, really good just to get there. But what we know is that once we do get there, our history is that we compete very well.”

Junior Jill Laurendeau led the Hoyas, continuing her breakout season by running both the mile and the anchor leg of the distance medley relay to earn a pair of All-American certificates. Laurendeau notched a time of 4:45.19 in the mile for eighth place, and joined graduate student Heather Blackard and sophomores Treniere Clement and Monica Hargrove to take seventh in the distance medley.

Senior Tyrona Heath, who recorded Georgetown’s only automatic qualifying time of the season, added a fifth place performance in the 800m run.

“Tyrona went into the race seeded 16th, made the finals, and took fifth, which is big-time,” Helmer said.

Heath’s performance pushed the women’s team score up to seven points, which placed Georgetown in a three-way tie for 30th with Seton Hall and Connecticut.

Junior Erin Sicher, a two-time indoor All-American, timed 4:51.41 in the mile preliminaries on Friday to fall just six seconds short of making the finals.

While the women’s team effectively overcame the paucity of its participants, the men’s team was in for an even stiffer challenge.

Graduate student Josh Rollins entered as Georgetown’s lone competitor on the men’s side, securing his ticket to nationals in the last weekend before nationals with his triple jump of 16.04m at the Intercollegiate Association of Amateur Athletes of America (IC4A) Championships.

At nationals, Rollins posted a jump of 15.89m, well off his personal best of 16.58m, but good enough to take eighth place and earn him All-American honors.

The one point Rollins earned with his jump placed Georgetown in tie for 61st place with Iowa and Connecticut.

With the indoor season now in the books, both teams will now turn their attention to the outdoor season, which Helmer said he plans to begin over Easter weekend.

The longer races of the outdoor season, along with a conditioning program that is designed for athletes to reach their peak fitness level in the spring should be advantageous for both teams.

“We’ll see soon enough if our plan works out,” Helmer said. “We have some very good 10k runners, with one great runner in junior Marni [Kruppa], and that’s an event we’ve always done well in, so that should help.”

Kruppa and sophomore Colleen Kelly will both return after redshirting the indoor season, while the men’s team will be aided by the return of junior James Graham and senior Davin Williams.

The outdoor season is slated to begin March 29, with the distance runners traveling to Palo Alto, Ca. for the Stanford Invitational and the sprinters, middle-distance and field athletes competing in the Florida and Raleigh Relays.

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