CROSS COUNTRY | Bar Set High for Regionals
Published: Friday, November 9, 2012
Updated: Friday, November 9, 2012 00:11
The Georgetown cross country teams are ready to roll at the NCAA Mid-Atlantic Regional today in State College, Pa., after two very strong performances at the Big East Championships and a couple of weeks of solid training.
The two top-finishing teams at Regionals receive an automatic bid to the NCAA Division I Championship in Louisville, Ky. If a team finishes third or fourth, it still has a chance at making the national meet based on points accrued against ranked opponents during the regular season.
Women’s Head Coach Michael Smith is confident that his Big East-champion Hoyas have gotten even better since the conference meet.
“We’re right on schedule — our training has been perfect,” he said. “The athletes are rested now and sharper with the training, … so we’re going to go out looking to win this meet.”
Seniors Kirsten Kasper, Rachel Schneider and Emily Jones, junior Madeline Chambers, sophomores Annamarie Maag and Katrina Coogan and freshman Samantha Nadel will all race for the Hoyas.
“Emily Jones, Maddie Chambers and Katrina Coogan are really coming on right now. They will have the best race of their season so far at this race, and then they will have an even better race eight days later at Nationals,” Smith said.
Pack running will be essential to victory today, as has been the case throughout the season for the women’s side. The Blue and Gray will need to keep team gap times low — which they have succeeded with all season — and stay composed in the early stages of the race, when runners are likely to make rash moves to push the pace.
Most of the competition for Georgetown will come from Villanova, whom the Hoyas have already defeated this season, while Penn State and Princeton will also bring competitive squads.
“We’re right where we want to be. We don’t try to be the best team in the country in September. We want to be the best team in the country come November 17,” Smith said. “Some other teams right now are hanging on for dear life, hoping that they will feel fresh again for Nationals. We don’t have to think like that, because we’re just coming up, so it’s really exciting.”
The men’s side brings equally promising prospects, with a progression in training that indicates a high fitness level going into the home stretch.
“Our training this whole fall has been as good and as consistent as any Georgetown team I can remember,” men’s Head Coach Brandon Bonsey said. “Our guys are really fit right now, so I’m pleased with where we’re heading.”
Adding to the team’s prospects is the return of All-American graduate student Mark Dennin, who had been sidelined as a cautionary measure in recent weeks with a slight Achilles tendon injury. He will be joined by fellow graduate student Alayew Taye, who, now likewise healthy, will be racing for the first time this season. With an individual first-place finish at the 2010 Mid-Atlantic Regional, Taye brings a wealth of experience to the table.
Also competing for Georgetown will be seniors Andrew Springer and Ben Furcht, sophomores Miles Schoedler and Colin Leibold and freshman Darren Fahy.
The keys for the men in this race are to shorten their team gap from the Big East Championships and keep tabs on Princeton’s and Villanova’s movements, as each will be making strong cases for a NCAA Championship berth. Division I men move up from an 8k race to a 10k race in the postseason, which favors the Hoyas’ training scheme.
“We’re going to make sure that our intensity level is highest at the end of the race, and our training has reflected that. We’ve made tactical adjustments to stay relaxed at the beginning of the race, so they should be ready to go,” Smith said.