CROSS COUNTRY | GU Dominates NCAA Regionals
Published: Monday, November 14, 2011
Updated: Tuesday, November 15, 2011 01:11
Led by graduate student Alex Lundy and All-American senior Emily Infeld, the Georgetown men's and women's cross country teams both earned automatic berths to the NCAA championship with stellar performances at regional championships over the weekend.
The men took first place outright for the seventh time in eight years while the women shared the victory with Villanova. The seson's goal for both the men and women has been to peak at the right time, and the Hoyas are now seeing their work pay off.
"I wouldn't say we expected [the victory], but I knew if we were the ones hunting everybody down over the last 3 kilometers then we would have a really good result," Assistant Coach Mike Banks said.
Lundy finished third overall and first for Georgetown in the 10,000 meter contest at Princess Anne, Md. Following Lundy was a trio of Hoyas, including senior Mark Dennin, junior Andrew Springer and graduate student T.C. Lumbar, who finished sixth, seventh and eighth, respectively. Junior Bobby Peavey recorded a 23rd place finish to round out Georgetown's top five runners.
"The guys executed the race plan extremely well," Banks said. "Alex Lundy did an incredible job moving all the way up to third, battling for second place up the stretch."
But it was Peavey who was most crucial to the victory, using the strategy that Georgetown has implemented all year — comfortable early on, assertive in the middle and aggressive at the end.
"Peavey had a great race," Banks said. "He went from 41st by the 5k [mark] to 23rd in the last half of the race, which is exactly what we want to do. Sit back, stay relaxed and use great finishing speed at the end to come home strong."
But Banks isn't satisfied quite yet. According to him, the team can get much better.
"The guys ran really well, [but] I think we can get a lot better over the next 10 days going into nationals," Banks said. "We're not yet firing on all cylinders."
On the women's side, Infeld led the way for the Hoyas, finishing second overall to Villanova's Sheila Reid. Following Infeld were junior Emily Jones, graduate student Claire Richardson, freshman Katrina Coogan and junior Kirsten Kasper. All of the women finished in the top 20 overall.
"It was a huge step forward," Assistant Coach Chris Miltenberg said. "Richardson ran well, [and] Jones and the freshmen made a huge jump. I knew we were going to get better."
The Hoyas' performance this past weekend may serve as good training for nationals, as the Mid-Atlantic region is by far the nation's toughest.
"We have the best region in the country," Miltenberg said. "When you're running against that level of competition in the regionals, we'll be okay in the nationals. And that's the beauty of running in the best region in the country — you don't have to change your approach for the NCAAs."
But Miltenberg, like Banks, is already looking forward to next week, when the women look to compete in the NCAA tournament.
"You almost have to look at the regional meet as the last hard practice. You have to take [the time from] regionals to nationals as a time to recover," Miltenberg said.
The women will also stick to what has been working. Their strategy all year has been for the Blue and Gray to peak when it counts: next week.
"I think you can do some good training this week. I think we'll make another jump," Miltenberg said. "We're still making progress every week, unlike some other teams, who are just holding on [to where they are]."
The women will rely on their lower runners — by far largest advantage over other squads — to have relatively big races and earn points at nationals.
"Our biggest strength is our depth — we are so much better at four and five than anybody out there," Miltenberg said. "And the bigger the meet, the more depth helps. The difference between our fifth [runner] versus Villanova's fifth is 30 seconds, and that's only ten spots in regionals. But in nationals, that difference could be 100 people."
Georgetown's cross country teams will have exactly one week to get ready for the biggest event of the year, when the Blue and Gray will travel to Terre Haute, Ind., to compete in the NCAA tournament.