TRACK & FIELD | Hoyas Set Meet Records
Published: Friday, January 24, 2014
Updated: Friday, January 24, 2014 01:01
After a strong showing, which included seven first-place finishes and two meet records, in Penn State’s Nittany Lion Challenge last weekend, Georgetown’s track and field team will return to action at the Hoya Spiked Shoe Club Invitational on Friday.
The Hoyas opened their indoor season two weekends ago with a dominant performance at George Mason University’s Father Diamond Invitational. The Blue and Gray swept several events in the men’s and women’s competition. Riding this momentum, the Hoyas were prepared to face several challenging and well-balanced teams in their second major invitational of the season, including host, Penn State, and Cornell.
Georgetown’s track and field director, Pat Henner, was pleased with the overall performance of his team.
“The vast majority of [our] athletes did a great job of …staying relaxed with good competition,” Henner said.
Penn State proved to be tough competition over the weekend, with several of their athletes grabbing top-place finishes. The Nittany Lions boast an impressive core of athletes who run middle distance, an area of competition where Georgetown has found success this season, claiming the top spots in the men’s and women’s mile events at George Mason. The middle-distance matchup at Penn State was certainly a challenge for the Hoyas, but Henner viewed it as a good measuring stick for his runners.
“I would say that, especially on the men’s side, Penn State has been one of the best middle-distance programs in the country over the past couple of years,” Henner said. “I think that right now in a couple different events, like the 800 and the 1000 [meter events], they’re a little bit in front of us. But I think we’ve covered a lot of ground…we want to keep closing that gap.”
Georgetown had seven first place finishes and two meet records. All-American junior Katrina Coogan placed first in the 800 meter event in 2:08.23, breaking the previous meet record of 2:08.89 set in 2010 by former Hoya and All-American Emily Infield.
On the men’s side of the competition, junior John Murray also broke a record. Murray finished first in the 3,000 meter run in 8:10.31, a time that broke the previous record set in 2012 by over six seconds. Junior Collin Leibold finished right behind Murray, grabbing second place in 8:10.67.
For their performances, Coogan and freshman Ryan Manahan were named Big East Female and Male athlete of the week. While Coogan had a record-breaking performance, Manahan placed fourth in the 800-meter with a time of 1:49.88 — the fourth fastest in the country and fastest in the Big East this season.
The Hoyas will return to State College at the end of the month for Penn State’s National Invitational, and Henner looks forward to racing against the Nittany Lions again.
“It’s a great thing to have meets like that with such a great program,” Henner said.
Before Georgetown returns to Penn State, it will play host to La Salle University, Delaware State University and American University at the Hoya Spiked Shoe Club Invitational. The meet will be held at Georgetown Preparatory School in Bethesda, Md. on Friday.
Georgetown dominated the meet last year, finishing first in 13 events. However, this year’s invitational will not necessarily yield the same results; Henner believes the Hoyas will be matched up against stronger competition, including American University, who Henner believes has a quality middle-distance program.
“It’s going to be a pretty competitive meet across the board,” Henner said.
Not only will the opponents have changed from last year, the makeup of Georgetown’s roster will have as well.
“There are a few athletes that we won’t have compete this weekend,” Henner said. “They’re not hurt or anything, they’re just a little bit banged up and we don’t want to take any chances.”
Graduate student Amanda Kimbers, who recently returned from an injury and All-American graduate student Andrew Springer are among the athletes that will not be competing this weekend. By resting his athletes now, Henner hopes to be at full strength in time for the Big East Championships, which are to be held less than a month from now.
With these vacancies, other athletes will need to step up. Henner says that some runners will participate in events that are different than the ones in which they are used to competing and will need to rise to the occasion.
“This meet is going to be a great opportunity for some of our other athletes to step up, so we’re not really that concerned with how many events we win,” Henner said. “We’re looking at running events that they can be competitive in …and prepare them for faster times for their events later in the season.”