The women’s distance medley relay team had one of the most prolific indoor seasons in Blue and Gray history, breaking the school record and winning the Big East, while setting a meet record in the process.

This past weekend at the NCAA Track and Field Indoor Championships the team did not disappoint, with its fifth place finish highlighting a list of solid performances that saw all 10 Hoyas who competed come home as All-Americans.

Junior Renee Tomlin led off the relay with the third fastest 1200-meter leg in school history, staying right with the front pack despite the erratic pacing, and handing off in fourth. Classmate Abigail Johnson hung tough with a strong group of 400m runners, splitting a 54.8 to keep the Hoyas in the race. Senior Maggie Infeld had perhaps the best leg, racing to sit on Oregon sophomore Zoe Buckman for the first portion until she surged over the last 150 meters to build a sizable lead on the chase pack and hand off in third.

“Maggie Infeld was just really, really aggressive,” Head Coach Chris Miltenberg said. “Her last 150 was just so impressive to watch just how tough she was and how hard she was trying to pull away from people.”

Her younger sister, freshman Emily Infeld, took the stick all alone, with Tennessee and BYU far ahead, and UNC, Stanford, Oregon and Michigan a bit behind. Infeld, the lone freshman at the meet for the Hoyas, was faced with the task of trying to hang with elite anchors such as UNC senior Brie Felnagle and Stanford senior Lauren Centrowitz, girls she had seen compete on TV before.

As the chase pack soon ran her down, Emily was stuck up front doing the work while the other teams sat behind on her. About 1000 meters into the leg, the pack made a move but she hung right with them. Finally, kicking it in the last 80 meters Emily managed to hang on for fifth place, edging Oregon sophomore Alexandra Kosinski to split 4:38 and secure fifth place with a total time of 11:02.67, breaking the school record yet again.

As a freshman anchor matched up against the nation’s best, Miltenberg said that he was extremely pleased with how she handled the difficult situation.

“Emily Infeld probably got it in about the toughest situation a freshman could get it in. She handled it unbelievably well. She could not have handled it better for somebody her age.”

“I was just trying to have fun and not really worry about the big name people that were in there and just kind of run my own race and compete well,” Infeld said.

With Tennessee setting the blistering pace by running a world-record time in the race, the Hoyas were more than pleased to finish fifth, with a time that in most years would have won the race.

“More than anything else the things we always talk about is competing really tough and fighting hard and being competitive, and that’s what leaving Texas I was most impressed with,” Miltenberg said.

Senior Buky Bamigboye also had a standout performance for the Blue and Gray finishing an All-American in 12th place in the pentathlon.

Running a 2:16 in the 800m to take third and setting a new personal record with a throw of 11.83m in the shot put to take seventh, Bamigboye moved up six spots from the pre-meet rankings. Although she has competed at the NCAA Outdoor National Championships, USAs and even the Olympic Trials, this was Bamigboye’s first time appearing in the Indoor National Championships.

“I was happy with the performance … happy to be able to move up six spots. I’ve never been quite in good enough shape come indoor nationals to make it to nationals. … it puts me ahead for outdoors,” said Bamigboye, who is eying a top-five finish at the outdoor competition.

On the men’s side, senior Dan Nunn garnered All-American status as well in the 5000m, placing 13th with a time of 14:11.28. Nunn, who has run much faster this season, had a tough time dealing with the stop-and-go pace set up front. He was able to recover and get back in the race after the first surge, but could not do the same later in the race.

“Dan’s a great runner,” Head Coach Pat Henner said. “Now he needs to really believe that he can run with those guys and that’s what the bottom line is, I think.”

The men also competed in the DMR as well, with the team of juniors Sandy Roberts, Danny Harris, John Maloy and redshirt junior Andrew Bumbalough finishing eighth overall to notch the final four All-American honors for the Hoyas.

Having qualified only a week before at Notre Dame, the men ran in the slower of the two heats as they came into the meet with the 10th best time. Roberts started off with a solid opening 1200m, yet with a lot of traffic at the end of the leg he and Harris did not have a clean handoff, hurting Harris’ 400m split. Yet Maloy ran his second best 800m split ever, timing in at 1:50.2, keeping the Hoyas in the race and handing off in seventh place.

Bumbalough was then faced with the all too familiar task of reeling in the rest of the field. Opting to slowly work his way back to the pack rather than chase it down from the handoff, he caught it and made a decisive move with about 600m to go to catapult the team into a battle for second place in the heat. Fighting down the stretch, Bumbalough was just edged by Indiana at the line to finish 9:37.50, good for eighth place overall.

While the All-American finish was nice, the Hoyas were hoping to place a little higher and score more points, seeing as a year ago they finished 17th overall, compared to 59th this year.

“It was a good solid performance, it wasn’t anything to jump up and down about, it was something where we qualified the week before, we ranked 10th to come in and score. That’s a good thing but at the same time we had our sights set a little bit higher than that,” Henner said.

Bumbalough added, “Eighth to get All-American, that’s solid and that’s good … it’s something that we can get confidence on for outdoors, but it’s definitely not something that we want to be satisfied with because it definitely leaves us hungry.”

The meet marks the conclusion of the indoor season, but the Hoyas will not have long to wait for the outdoor season as they head to the Raleigh Relays and Stanford Invitational next weekend.

Have a reaction to this article? Write a letter to the editor.

Comments are closed.