TRACK & FIELD | Hoyas Face Strong Teams at Iowa State
Published: Thursday, February 13, 2014
Updated: Thursday, February 13, 2014 23:02
After impressive performances at the Penn State Invitational and a valuable weekend of rest, the Hoyas will travel to Ames, Iowa, for the Iowa State Classic. Top-notch track and field programs from around the country will appear at the invitational, including No. 1 University of Texas on the women’s side and No. 2 University of Florida for the men. In all, there will be over 50 teams from around the country at the meet.
Though the Hoyas’ schedule indicated their participation in the Valentine Invitational Meet, the team intended to compete at Penn State, take a weekend off, and then head to Iowa. Despite the high level of competition at the meet, some Georgetown runners will be staying home to prepare for an even bigger meet that will be taking place next weekend: the Big East meet.
“We have some athletes who we just decided it was best for them to stay at home and train and get ready for Big East,” Director of Track and Field and Cross Country Patrick Henner said. “Our athletes are either resting and training or going to compete at Iowa State.”
Overall, Georgetown is an impressive team, but the middle distance is its most notable strength. At Penn State, Georgetown senior Billy Ledder took the top spot in the men’s 800 meter. Meanwhile, freshman Amos Bartelsmeyer placed first in the men’s 1000m invitational after finishing the event with a time of 2:22.75 — a meet record.
“I think our middle-distance runners have been running very well,” Henner said. “I think on the national level that’s what our main strength is right now.”
Still, Georgetown is not a team to dismiss in the other events. The Hoyas distance runners on the women’s side include graduate student Kirsten Kasper, who impressed at Penn State. For the men, juniors Collin Leibold and John Murray are both entered into the 3000m race.
The Georgetown sprinters have made strides as well. Graduate student Amanda Kimbers is back healthy after an injury, and other athletes are continuing to improve.
“Devante Washington and Mike Andre in the sprints are really starting to shine,” Henner said of the competition the team will bring to the sprinting events.
Georgetown’s other entries in the meet include junior Andrea Keklak, senior Chelsea Cox and freshman Ryan Manahan. Keklak finished second in the women’s mile at Penn State, while Cox finished second in the 1000m.
“We’ve only brought our very best athletes to this meet,” Henner explained. “There’s going to be a high level of competition. So the people we’re bringing out here, we feel, are national caliber athletes.”
Though many of the Hoyas’ best runners are well prepped for Iowa State, Georgetown’s top distance runner, graduate student Andrew Springer, is still recovering from an injury.
“He’s been out, but he’s starting to get going running again. I don’t know if we’re going to have him play indoor, but he’ll definitely be ready for a great outdoor season,” Henner said.
After the Hoyas compete at Iowa State, they’ll focus on the Big East meet. Though the results this weekend will not impact their conference standings, running at Iowa will be helpful for the Hoyas as they approach their conference championship and the closing stages of the season.
“We hope it’s going to help us to compete better at the Big East meet,” Henner said of Iowa State. “This meet is more about trying to get times that will get our athletes qualified for the NCAA championships and to further cheer us up for the Big East meet.”
Top to bottom, it is essential that they run well and adapt appropriately to whichever event they are competing in.
“We’re looking to compete well and run fast in a variety of situations — fast-paced races, slow-paced, top-level competition,” Henner said. “Just having a race mentality that’s going to work in all sorts of scenarios.”
The Big East field will present significant competition for the Hoyas. Providence boasts one of the top distance programs in the country, while Villanova and Butler also have strong programs. In all, the Big East contains some of the most talented teams in the country.
“In the middle distance and distance areas, the Big East meet is going to be one of the very best in the country,” Henner said.
Events at Iowa State will take place Friday and Saturday, and are tentatively set to begin at 11 a.m. Friday.