TRACK & FIELD | Top Track Programs Await in This Weekend’s Meets
Published: Friday, January 17, 2014
Updated: Friday, January 17, 2014 00:01
A week ago, the Georgetown men and women’s indoor track and field teams launched their 2014 campaigns at the George Mason Invitational in Fairfax, Va. Saturday, the teams will continue their season as they compete in the Nittany Lion Challenge in State College, Pa., and the Maryland Invitational in Hyattsville, Md., in their third weekend of meets of the indoor track and field season.
After strong performances on both the men and women’s sides at George Mason, the Hoyas have momentum on their side. At the Nittany Lion Challenge, Georgetown will face Penn State, Iowa State and Cornell. These teams will provide good competition for the Hoyas. Both Penn State and Cornell have strong, well-rounded rosters, and Iowa State has several individuals who pose significant threats in their respective events.
“Penn State’s a great all-around team, and Cornell actually has a very strong and well-balanced team,” Head Coach Patrick Henner said. “There will definitely be some great competition.”
Nonetheless, the Hoyas have their own arsenal of talent.
“I think our team is very well prepared,” Henner said of the upcoming meeting. “Across the board we’re going to be very strong.”
On the women’s side, senior Chelsea Cox alongside juniors Andrea Keklak and Katrina Coogan form a strong middle distance core for Georgetown. Graduate student Amanda Kimbers— described as “two years ago one of the best sprinters in the country” by Henner — is back and healthy after an injury. Additionally, graduate student Kirsten Kasper has turned in impressive races this season in distance events.
The men’s team also has an impressive long distance runner in All-American graduate student Andrew Springer. Springer is coming off a successful cross-country season that included a third place finish at the Mid-Atlantic Regional Final Nov. 15, which earned him an individual invitation to the NCAA Championship. He, however, will not travel with the team to compete in this weekend’s meets, as he is currently recovering from a sore hip.
“[Andrew] is a very key part of our team, and we’re hoping he recovers as soon as possible,” Henner said.
Springer hopes to be back in time for the Hoya Spiked Shoe Club Invitational, on Jan 24.
Meanwhile sophomores Devante Washington and Mike Andre and senior Billy Ledder have been impressive in the sprint events this season. In terms of middle distances, sophomore Ahmed Bile and juniors Collin Leibold and John Murray have shown promise for the Blue and Gray.
It was in the middle-distance events that the Hoyas shined brightest in last week’s meet, most notably capturing the top five spots for men and the top four spots for women in the mile.
Although it will be the second straight weekend with a meet for Georgetown, Henner does not believe fatigue will be an issue for the teams and believes the quick turnaround will actually be beneficial to the team.
“You actually need to race more frequently to stay sharp,” Henner said.
Carrying the energy from George Mason, the Hoyas are focused on a few specific goals for this weekend’s meets.
“We’re trying to learn how to run fast while staying relaxed across the board, from the short sprints to the distance races,” Henner said.
Despite the fact it is still early in the season, Henner is already optimistic about his team’s potential.
“I don’t want to pass any judgments right now, but we got off to a great start at George Mason,” Henner said. “Our whole staff and team are very excited about the upcoming season.”
Events will start at 9 a.m. at the Maryland Invitational and 11 a.m. at the Nittany Lion Challenge.