TRACK & FIELD | Hoyas Open Season at Father Diamond Invitational
Published: Tuesday, January 14, 2014
Updated: Tuesday, January 14, 2014 01:01
The Georgetown men’s and women’s track and field teams travelled to Fairfax, Va. to open their indoor season at George Mason University’s Father Diamond Invitational on Jan. 11. Georgetown competed against the host and eleven other colleges from D.C,, Baltimore and Virginia.
Although this was only the first major competition of the season, the Hoyas had a strong showing at the invitational, with several athletes taking the top places in their events. Men’s and women’s director Pat Henner was satisfied with the teams’ performances.
“Overall, I was pleased,” Henner said. “In a couple of areas we looked really good.”
The Hoyas certainly did look good in a few aspects of the invitational. Runners on both the men’s and women’s team turned in dominant performances, particularly in their respective mile events. On the women’s side, the Hoyas swept the top four places in the mile, and graduate student Kirsten Kasper led her teammates, finishing with a time of 4:52.86. The other top finishers were senior Joanna Stevens in second place (4:55.58), junior Hannah Neczypor in third (4:55.77) and sophomore Heather Martin in fourth (5:04.89).
These athletes dominated other events of the invitational as well; Kasper and Neczypor took the first two places of the 800 meter run in 2:13.59 and 2:13.78, respectively, and Stevens took first in the 3,000 meter run in a time of 10:09.73, finishing over 20 seconds ahead of the second place finisher.
Like their counterparts on the women’s team, the Georgetown men’s team finished all of their runners in the top spots of the mile event. Graduate student Dylan Sorensen finished first in 4:15.60, followed closely by his teammates. Junior Collin Leibold finished in second in 4:16.31, junior John Murray took third in 4:16.85, senior Max Darrah placed fourth in 4:17.62 and sophomore Zach Zingsheim sealed fifth place in 4:19.08.
The Hoyas also went on to dominate both the men’s and women’s 1,000 meter runs. Both teams took the top three places in each event. On the women’s side, junior All-American Katrina Coogan finished in first place (2:49.26), followed by freshman Emma Keenan in second (2:52.69) and senior Shanique Dasilva in third (3:00.55). On the men’s side, freshman Ryan Manahan took first place (2:26.64), followed closely by freshman Amos Bartelsmeyer in second (2:26.70) and sophomore Michael Lederhouse in third (2:30.19).
Although the Hoyas concluded the invitational with several top place finishes, Henner understands that because Saturday’s invitational was his teams’ first major competition, there is still room to improve.
“It’s so early in the season that you don’t want to make too many generalizations,” Henner said. “I think that both the men’s and women’s teams are very fit, so now it’s just a matter of taking that fitness and translating it into a [stronger] racing performance.”
Henner believes that the younger members of the team will need time to reach their full potential.
“We have a lot of really young athletes, so we want to take their fitness and translate it into fast times in the meet, which is going to take a couple more meets [to accomplish],” Henner said.
The upperclassmen’s competitive prowess is paralleled by their strong leadership, which will be a contributing factor in the underclassmen’s improvement. Henner saw this leadership on display at Saturday’s meet and predicts that it will continue to be a guiding force as the season continues.
“Dylan won the mile yesterday, and I thought he did a great job with our race plan,” Henner said. “Kasper [won the mile] on the women’s side. …I give a lot of credit to those athletes. I think that both of [them] did a great job of providing leadership yesterday.”
The Father Diamond Invitational was the first of many competitions coming up quickly on Georgetown’s schedule. Next weekend, the Hoyas will split competition between the Maryland Invitational and the Nittany Lion Invitational at Penn State.
“They have one of the best all-around programs in the country,” Henner said of the Lions. “The competition is definitely going to pick up.”
Between the upcoming meets this weekend and the Hoyas’ return to Penn State during the weekend of Feb. 1, Henner hopes to see his teams continue to improve and maximize their performances because achieving the same success as Saturday’s competition is far from guaranteed.
“The last weekend of January we go back to Penn State for their big invitational meet,” Henner said. “That will be the first time that we start really worrying about what kind of times we’re running and [about] hitting our marks.”