TRACK AND FIELD | Sprinters Prepare for New Balance
Published: Thursday, February 2, 2012
Updated: Friday, February 3, 2012 01:02
Coming off a strong showing at the Penn State Nationals, the Georgetown track and field team will peel off into different event groups going into this weekend. The sprinters look ahead to a competitive meet at the New Balance Invitational hosted by the Armory in New York City, while the middle-distance and distance runners will take the weekend off to train for the BU Valentine Invitational in Boston, Mass.
A mere two weeks away from the highlight of the indoor season, Director of Track and Field and Cross Country Patrick Henner is trying to get his team ready for the Big East Championship.
"I just want to get really tuned up and ready for this Big East meet," he said.
Still, Henner thinks the team has a lot to gain from this weekend's meet. Henner is looking to the hurdlers, senior Biyerem Okengwu and junior Justin Crawford, to bring their times down to 8 seconds flat, and to the 400-meter runners, sophomore Hansel Akers and senior Austin Perron, to bring their times down to 48s.
"The hurdlers are ready for a big breakthrough. They've been coming along strong," Henner said. "And Hansel and Austin are both ready to run a lot better."
On the women's side, Henner is looking for juniors Amanda Kimbers and Tenille Stoudenmire to bring their times down and is optimistic about senior London Finley's performance this weekend.
"[I think] Amanda can get an NCAA [qualifying] time," Henner said. "London is running the 400m for the first time this year, and I think she's ready to run a good race."
But more important than the individual meets is the training schedule that Henner hopes will allow his athletes to peak for the Big East championship in two weeks without burning out beforehand.
"We're trying to keep two things in balance," Henner said. "We want to be ready for the Big East [championship], but we have to be ready late into the season for outdoors."
While the sprinters make the trek up to New York, the middle-distance and distance runners will continue a tough training regimen leading up to the following weekend's meet in Boston.
"They'll do a really hard workout tomorrow, then back off between now and the Big East [championship]," Henner said. "And the sprinters will come back [from the Armory] and have two full weeks of training. … They'll start hard and then back off."
Moving forward, Henner is uncertain about Georgetown's competition in the Big East.
"Until you really see who's entered in what event, it's such a tough thing to do, to look ahead," Henner said.
The men's team has traditionally fared well in the hurdling events, but continuing this trend may prove difficult this year, as the Big East boasts some of the best hurdlers in the country.
"[Hurdling] has just blown up in the Big East this year," Henner said. "[Graduate student] Jarret Eaton from Syracuse is one of the best collegiate hurdlers."
And with freshman Tyler Smith likely out for the rest of the indoor season, the men are facing an uphill battle.
"On the men's side we're getting there, and we're getting more and more healthy," Henner said. "But I don't think we have Tyler Smith, and we thought he would possibly win a meet at Big Easts as a freshman -- he's that good. With Tyler Smith being hurt and out and [graduate student] Toby Ulm working his way back, it's going be a tough task for the men at this point."
But coming off of a record-setting performance in the distance medley relay, Henner is more optimistic about the women's team's chances.
"Our women's team, if healthy, can definitely be right up there competing with the top teams [in the Big East]," he said.
And in fact, the DMR performance has inspired the rest of the team to focus and train hard going into the final stretch of the indoor season.
"We're just trying to get excited," Henner said. "They saw what the DMR is able to do and … they're getting confident and excited about putting up some fast times."