CROSS COUNTRY | GU Third In Lehigh Meet
Published: Tuesday, October 2, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, October 2, 2012 00:10
The Georgetown cross country program had a promising day on the course Friday, with both the men’s and women’s teams taking third place at Lehigh’s Paul Short Invitational.
All-American graduate student Mark Dennin took first place, leading the men’s team to a third-place finish out of 37 teams.
Dennin hung with the front pack for the first 2000 meters of the race, made sure he kept good position until the 6000-meter mark and then began to increase the tempo for the last 2000 meters.
With 400 meters left, he dropped the hammer and outdistanced USC Upstate’s Gilbert Kemboi to break the tape in a time of 23:57.
“Mark is a very talented runner, and he spent the summer living at altitude, which really helped him out,” Men’s Distance Coach Brandon Bonsey said. “He ran the race like a fifth-year, like an experienced veteran, finishing really well and even maybe having another gear if he needed it. We were really happy with his race.”
Seniors Andrew Springer and Ben Furcht, who clocked times of 24:26 and 24:29 — good for 13th and 16th place, respectively — followed Dennin across the line.
Next to finish for the Hoyas was sophomore Collin Leibold, who took 34th with a time of 24:43. Junior Brian King was the final finisher for the Blue and Gray, closing in 41st place with a time of 24:51.
“A lot of the guys got pretty excited coming off the line and they started off a little fast, which made the race harder than they expected,” Bonsey said. “But they still ran tough races with pretty good times.”
The men’s team scored 101 points, one behind second-place finisher William and Mary, but 32 points behind champion Villanova. Despite Dennin’s victory, Villanova had a total team gap of only 24 seconds, allowing the Wildcats to register such a low score.
“We’ve been doing pretty hard workouts, so our guys were by no means rested going into the race,” Bonsey said. “You have to train through early season meets, which means racing on tired legs. … It is still early in the season, so we’re just looking to keep getting better and keep running tough, and let the results come in the postseason.”
Meanwhile, the women’s team made a significant improvement from their first meet. The Hoyas took third place out of 40 teams, even without the help of key contributors sophomore Annamarie Maag and senior Emily Jones, who did not run for training purposes.
“The team is in the middle of pretty heavy training right now, it being September, so they had to just go out there and position themselves and run hard,” Women’s Head Coach Michael Smith said. “They were not going to feel that sharp, but that is one of the things that you sacrifice in September so you can have results in November.”
Georgetown was led by junior Madeline Chambers, who took 10th place overall with a time of 20:37 in the 6000m. She was closely followed by senior Kirsten Kasper who placed 12th with a time of 20:42. Senior Rachel Schneider was next up for the Hoyas, in16th with a time of 20:53.
“We sent out Rachel, Kirsten, and Madeline together for the first half of the race, and then they got competitive with the field the second half,” Smith said. “Fitness-wise they are so close together that any of them could be the number one runner on any given day. They operate at such a high level that the finish order does not really matter.”
The Georgetown score was rounded out by the sophomore pair of Hannah Neczypor and Katrina Coogan, who took 31st and 37th places with times of 21:04 and 21:10, respectively.
The women scored a total of 106 points, only narrowly beaten out of second place by William and Mary’s 102. The champions, Cornell, scored 55.
“We had a great start at Paul Short, not even running our ‘A’ squad, and [we are] still in a tough training cycle. Once the bigger meets at the end of the season come and we line up our full team, we’re going to be a force to be reckoned with,” Smith said.
Both the men’s and women’s teams will be back in action Oct. 13 at NCAA Pre-Nationals in Louisville, Ky.