The Georgetown men’s cross country team earned runner-up honors at the Mid Atlantic Regional Meet this weekend at the Canaan Valley Golf Course in Davis, W. Va., qualifying for an automatic bid for the to NCAA Championships on Nov. 25th.

The Hoyas, with 45 points, were second behind Villanova (40). Both Georgetown and Villanova automatically qualified for the NCAA Championships while other teams will have to seek at-large bids.

Senior Mike Smith won the individual NCAA Mid-Atlantic Regional championship with a time of 30:28.9. The race strategy for Smith was to go out aggressively and get in good position. Then if he felt good, he was to go for the lead.

“Rarely does Coach Henner tell me to take the lead. I had a clear mind and a powerful inner calm that enabled me to dictate control,” Smith said.

Even teammates noticed Smith’s emotional state during the race. “When I was running with Mike during the first mile, I could see in his eyes he was going to do something great,” senior Javon Broderick said. Broderick finished 16th with a time of 31:15.7.

“We accomplished what we needed to – qualify for the NCAA Championships,” Broderick added.

Although happy with qualifying for NCAAs, the team is still disappointed with the loss to Villanova. The Hoyas have lost to Villanova twice this season at both the Big East and this regional meet. “Next Monday we’re going to prove we’re the better team,” Smith said.

Assistant Men’s Cross Country Coach Patrick Henner was pleased with the team’s performance overall. “We’re at the level we need to be in order to compete. We’re progressing and keep getting better every time we race,” he said. “What shows we’re improving as a team is that more and more people are contributing. This season I’m really impressed with seniors Ethan Kearns, Dan Tebbano, Dylan Welsh and Mike Smith who have really been stepping up.”

Saturday’s race was Tebbano’s first race of the season, and he was a big contributor for the Hoyas, finishing in 31:15.0 for 15th place. Freshman Fleet Hower also had a great race, with a strong 8th place finish in 30:56.6.

Aside from focusing on race strategy, the Hoyas raced on a tough course that was cold and muddy on race day. The course was hilly and some of the larger inclines left runners winded. In addition to worrying about hills, the Hoyas also had to be careful on sharp turns where a few runners from other schools slipped and fell.

“Given the conditions, I felt pretty good. Overall, I’m happy with the team because we finished fairly close together which we haven’t been doing in previous meets. This race definitely gives us confidence for the NCAA Championships next week,” sophomore Rod Koborsi, who finished in 5th place with a time of 30:45.1, said.

The NCAA Championships on Nov. 25 is the last cross country race of the season. “We’ve shown that we can race at this level,” Henner said. Sometimes teams are too optimistic when racing against tough competition in the Championships, but the Hoyas are ready to prove themselves among the best teams in the nation.

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