Courtesy Georgetown Sports Information Junior Rod Koborski led the Hoyas to their first Big East championship in nine years Friday afternoon at Bronx, N.Y.

Led by junior team captain Rod Koborsi and sophomore Chris Lukezic, the Georgetown men’s cross country blew away the competition at the Big East Championships, capturing the title with aplomb.

“I was a bit nervous before the race. Then as I was running, I turned around and saw my teammates running with me and it made me feel a lot better,” Koborsi said, “It was the greatest feeling to turn around at the finish line and see four of my teammates coming in. At that point I knew we had won.”

This victory was the Hoyas’ first conference title in nearly a decade as Georgetown knocked off three nationally ranked teams: No. 11 Villanova, No. 20 Providence and No. 24 Notre Dame. The Hoya’s performance at the meet, held this past Friday at Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx, N.Y, became etched into the record books as their margin of victory was the largest since 1982. Equally as remarkable, their score of 29 points was a meet low as they placed all their scorers within the top 10.

Koborsi’s and Lukezic’s runner-up and third place led Georgetown’s team effort, as they finished the 8,000m course in respective times of 24:38 and 24:42. Following them was sophomore Fleet Hower in a close fifth place, crossing the line in 24:45. Wrapping up the scoring were junior Chris Esselborn and senior Javon Broderick, who had a 9-10 finish. The incredible depth of the Hoya team resulted in a mere 16-second difference among their five scorers. Freshman Matt Debole was the sixth Hoya finisher, capturing 15th place.

“The plan was to have them go out as a group and stay with the leaders, and most importantly keep contact with their key opponents in the hills, so they can be right with them when they get out onto the final straightaway,” men’s cross country head coach Pat Henner said. Koborsi and Lukezic were able to stay with race winner senior Jonathan Fasulo from Villanova who won in 24:35.

The top five Hoya scorers along with Debole, because of his high placing, would earn All-Big East Honors. Coach Henner and Director of Track and Field and Cross Country Ron Helmer were honored with the Coaching Staff of the Year award for leading their team through this championship season and guiding them to this major victory. Henner described the meet as “one of the best team performances I have ever coached.”

The triumphant Hoyas were followed by runner-up Notre Dame, who picked up 66 points. After them was Villanova, who lost by one point to Notre Dame and Providence in fourth place with a total 75 points.

On the women’s side, the Hoyas were equally as impressive as they garnered a third- place finish in the conference against a stellar field of teams. Georgetown, ranked No. 13 in the latest coaches’ poll would fall short of only Notre Dame with 59 points and Providence with 80 points, which are ranked seventh and eighth respectively in the nation. The Hoyas also beat out some highly-ranked schools such as fourth-team finisher Villanova with 91 points and Boston College with 120.

This breakthrough team effort was led by top 10 performances from senior Treniere Clement and junior Nicole Lee who finished in 21:00 and 21:12 for respective finishes of fifth and ninth place in the 6k. Behind them were senior Amanda Pape and junior Jodee Adams-Moore who came through the course in 15th and 26th places respectively. Rounding out the Georgetown scorers was senior Colleen Kelly who came through in 29th place. To the squad’s dismay, they ran without freshman star Elizabeth Maloy for the second week in a row due to back pains. With this, they only missed runner-up position by four points as the Hoyas accumulated 84 points.

The race was led from the beginning by Providence’s Kim Smith, the eventual winner, who held a commanding lead throughout the race. She would go on to establish a new meet record with her swift 20:01.

“We are competing against one of the hardest conferences in the nation. Some of the top teams from the Big East are the top teams in the whole nation,” Helmer said.

These results produce high hopes for the chief meet of the season, the upcoming NCAA Championships. “From here, we can use the success of the Big East championships as a stepping stone for the Regionals [on Nov. 15] and most importantly to place in the top 10 at the NCAA champs [on Nov. 24].” Henner said.

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