Lucye Rafferty/The Hoya Despite the muddy conditions Saturday, the Hoyas placed eight runners in the top 10 sports to take home the victory in the inaugural race of the 2003 cross country season.

Opening the season in a promising fashion, the Hoya cross country team proved the preseason coaches’ poll rankings right as they won the Great Meadow Invitational, held Saturday in Great Meadow, Va.

On the men’s side, the Mondo Preseason Poll had ranked Georgetown 13th in the nation and second in the Big East. The team was led by the one-two-three finish of senior Dan Tebbano, sophomore Fleet Hower and freshman Matt Debole, who all finished within two seconds of each other. Winner Tebbano clocked a time of 21:56.72 for the four-mile course. Georgetown placed eight runners in the top 10 spots to solidify the win.

Despite the strong finish, the weather during the race consisted of heavy rain and wind, which slowed the times. Also, the coaches chose to sit out key runners due to illness, such as junior team captain Rod Koborsi, who has given coaches high hopes for this year.

“Rod has emerged as a leader on the team and has the potential to be competitive at a national level,” Director of Track & Field and Cross Country Ron Helmer said.

The Hoyas have many returning stars from last year who are ready to pick up where they left off and help propel the team up the national rankings. Besides Koborsi, returning runners include juniors Nat Glackin, Tim Manning and Chris Esselborn.

In addition to this strong field, the freshman class has a myriad of key runners who have the potential to pose great threats in the league. Debole, who helped the team this past Saturday to victory with his third-place finish, starred in high school as one of the most dominant runners in the nation. He was the Millrose Games mile champion as well a five-time North Carolina state champion.

Another addition to the Hoyas is freshman Brian Dalpiaz, who was forced to sit out this past weekend’s race due to illness. Having led the nation in high school as a N.Y. state record holder and a two-time Penn Relays 3000m champion, he will be an asset to the Georgetown squad.

On the women’s side, the FinishLynx Preseason Poll had the Hoyas ranked eighth in the nation and fourth in the Big East. Turning in promising performances both individually and collectively, the women’s team tied No. 15 University of Arkansas for first place.

The cross country trifecta of junior Nicole Lee, freshman Elizabeth Maloy and senior Treniere Clement crossed the line for the 5K in second, third and fourth places, respectively. Lee came through in a time of 18:25.81, Maloy registered 18:28.17 and Clement finished at 18:31.55. These three key runners plus eighth-place finisher senior Colleen Kelly, 11th-place finisher junior Jodee Adams-Moore and other up-and-coming runners should come together nicely as a strong pack in future competitions.

“This was a great chance for the girls to get a race and to get the competitive juices flowing,” Helmer said. “Now that I see where we are, we can train accordingly. The girls needed to get the ball rolling and to gain experience.”

Expectations for the season are to finish in the top ten in the national rankings – a standard that the women’s team has accomplished in each of the past 15 years. For the men, the first big goal is to compete well at the Big East Championships, which marks the beginning of the championship season.

“Overall, the team has come together nicely and has a very positive and productive team chemistry,” Helmer said. “The recent two years have shown to be some of their most successful, finishing third and fourth at Nationals. This season shows signs of repeating this trend.”

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