FILE PHOTO: SARI FRANKEL/THE HOYA Senior Autumn Touchstone competes at the Hoya Spiked Shoe Invitational.
Senior Autumn Touchstone competes at the Hoya Spiked Shoe Invitational.

A week after the season’s lone home meet, Georgetown track and field hopes to log another strong performance when it makes the trek to State College, Pa., to compete in the Penn State National Invitational.

The invitational will provide the Hoyas a higher level of competition than last week, as schools like Ohio State,Bucknell, Pittsburgh, Connecticut and Syracuse will be represented in a field that will include more than 1,000 athletes.

At last week’s Hoya Spiked Shoe Invitational, Georgetown’s only opponent was La Salle. But Director of Track and Field and Cross Country Patrick Henner says that his athletes’ mindset is consistent regardless of the competition.

“The mental process should be the same,” he said. “We want to use the same mechanics and processes [in every meet].”

Part of this steadfastness stems from Henner’s strategy for most of the regular season. He is more focused on making sure his athletes get times low enough to qualify for the Big East and National Indoor Championships than on winning any given event. The team’s training regimen allows it to peak for these championships in late February and early March.

“Our goal is to keep getting better to get some NCAA times,” Henner said. “We haven’t yet … but I think we will this weekend.”

Part of Henner’s confidence comes from an anticipated response to the competitiveness of this weekend’s meet.

“[The competition] in and of itself is going to help everybody run faster,” Henner said. “The nature of competing brings out faster times.”

The magnitude of the meet has also affected Henner’s workout schedule for his athletes.

“We’ve definitely backed off the training this week,” Henner said. “They’ve been training really hard all fall … so they should go into this meet [well rested].”

In track and field, athletes compete during both the indoor and outdoor seasons. Therefore, while it is ideal to peak at the end of indoor season for the Big East and National Championships, Henner also has one eye on making sure his athletes are in shape for the spring outdoor season.

But much of this meet will focus on individual efforts. On the men’s side, Henner is looking to juniors Andrew Springer, Bobby Peavey and Christian Tobias and freshman Omar Kaddurah to make big strides this weekend.

For the women, Henner has high praise for senior London Finley and junior Amanda Kimbers, the latter of whom is coming off a minor injury. Kimbers’ presence should improve the women’s 4x400meter relay team and Henner hopes she will return to sprinting events by next weekend.

“Kimbers might be one of the most talented athletes in the country,” Henner said. “And London Finley should do a lot for us this year [too].”

Georgetown relies much more on track events than on field events, but that freshman RichardD’Ambrosio has a chance to bolster the Hoyas performance in field events this weekend.

The Hoyas compete on both Friday and Saturday before travelling to New York for the New Balance Collegiate Invitational and to New Haven, Conn., for the Giegenback Invitational next week.

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