Several members of the Georgetown men’s indoor track and field traveled to Blacksburg, Va. this past weekend to participate in a “Last Chance” meet at Virginia Tech, where participants had one final opportunity to qualify for the national meet next month in Fayetteville, Ark. By improving their times or distances, runners and throwers had one “last chance” to improve their national ranking in either individual or team events to earn a berth in the NCAA meet.

Yet, one Georgetown team did more than simply ensure themselves plane tickets to Arkansas. In addition to running a season-best time, the distance medley relay team vaulted itself into first place in the national standings for its event, the only top spot that a Hoya team or individual holds thus far in the season.

Sophomore Dylan Welsh, and seniors Nick Reynolds, Isidro Pimentel and junior anchor Christ Miltenberg finished the relay in 9 minutes 34.52 seconds, a mere .43 seconds behind the Georgetown best time of 9:34.09 set at Virginia Tech in 1999. Pimentel was also a part of that record-breaking relay.

Miltenberg, with the14th best 3000-meter time in the nation, has run exceptionally well this year. He is in position to qualify for the nationals.

Ron Helmer, the director of the Georgetown men’s and women’s track and field and cross country teams, summed up iltenberg’s performance very simply.

“He’s just having a great indoor season,” Helmer said.

And Miltenberg is not the only one.

On the women’s side, three individual runners and one relay team are all but locks to improve their times at this weekend’s ECAC Championship to qualify for the NCAA meet.

Senior Sasha Spencer, who has the 15th best time nationally in the 800-meters and 19th in the 400-meters; sophomore Erin Sicher, 20th in the mile; sophomore Marnki Kruppa, sixth in the 5000-meters and the distance medley relay team, which is eighth in the country – all are expected to advance to the season’s final contest.

“They have better than good chances of putting themselves into the national meet this weekend if they haven’t already,” Helmer said.

But this weekend’s upcoming meets, the women’s ECAC Championship and the men’s IC4A Championship, present a challenge for both coaches and players.

“Coaches are trying to determine whether players need to run [this weekend],” Helmer said. “If someone’s already in the national meet, you want to tune them up, but you want to rest them, too. Most people who will qualify have already done so. They just want to improve their times.”

Spencer will run either the 400- or 800-meters this weekend, likely earning a time that will guarantee a spot in Fayetteville. Runners can only participate in one event at the national meet.

Kruppa, whose time in the 5000-meters seems strong enough to keep her place in the championship race, will rest this week.

Although not everyone will run, winning remains a priority for the Hoyas.

“It’s important for us to win those meets,” Helmer said. “But we try to do it in a manner that allows us to accomplish all those other goals [tuning, resting runners].”

In addition to the men’s Last Chance, this past weekend marked the Prince George’s Sports Invitational in Prince George’s County, Md., where two Hoya women placed first in their respective events. Sophomore Emily Reaman won the 1000-meters and sophomore Lori-Ann Gregory won the 500-meter dash. The wins were the first in college for both Reaman and Gregory.

“They did a nice job,” Helmer said. “Both just missed ECAC qualifying marks. They’re young, they’re developing, they won a race – that’s a big deal.”

And so are the nationals.

On Monday, the NCAA will announce the players who have officially qualified for the NCAA indoor meet. Only two days later, the Hoyas will leave for Arkansas.

“[It] is kind of crazy,” Helmer said of the only two-day notification period. “We’ve already had to purchase plane tickets.”

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