SARI FRANKEL/THE HOYA Sophomore Max Darrah (4) and junior Ben Furcht (3) compete at Friday’s meet.
SARI FRANKEL/THE HOYA
Sophomore Max Darrah (4) and junior Ben Furcht (3) compete at Friday’s meet.

The Georgetown track and field team traveled to nearby Bethesda, Md. this past Friday, in what felt like a home meet for a squad that lacks a complete on-campus facility. The Hoyas competed against one school, La Salle, in the Hoya Spiked Shoe Invitational, recording a slew of Big East qualifying times.

The meet gave the Blue and Gray good racing experience in the young season, although La Salle isn’t the same caliber of the team’s late-season opponents.

“Overall, I was very pleased with the competitive effort,” Director of Track and Field and Cross Country Patrick Henner said. “We still need to get a lot better, and we still have some people who need to get healthy.”

Several Georgetown sprinters, including juniors Amanda Kimbers and Justin Crawford, missed action this weekend in an attempt to nurse minor injuries. Both are expected to race this coming weekend.

For the women, senior London Finley took the 300-meter dash with a time of 39.55 seconds, over three seconds ahead of her nearest competitor, freshman teammate Natalie Englese.

After missing all of last year with an injury, sophomore Deseree King won the 500m dash in 1:13.68 ahead of three teammates.

“I was very happy with Deseree’s performance,” Henner said. “If she does that a couple more times … she’ll come out with a great [season].”

In one of the first races of her indoor season, junior Emily Infeld — who led the Hoyas to their first ever cross country national championship earlier this year — nearly broke the school record for the 1000m run with a time of 2:43.90. Infeld has exhausted her eligibility for cross country but remains a junior for both indoor and outdoor track.

But just as impressive as Infeld’s performance was that of her teammates in the same event. Junior Rachel Schneider finished in second, freshman Hannah Neczypor in third and senior Lauren Borduin in fourth. All four Hoyas finished within seven seconds of each other, while the top La Salle runner came in a full 18 seconds behind Borduin.

The men’s performance matched the women’s, dominating the sprinting events and clocking solid times in the distance events. In the 60m hurdles, seniors Kamryn Austin and Biyerem Okengwu notched times of 8.23 and 8.25s, respectively. In the 300m dash, senior Austin Perron and sophomore Hansel Akers took the top two spots, while juniors Kadeem Hunter and Christian Tobias, who were both coming off injuries, came in first and second, respectively, in the 60m dash.

“I was very happy with the hurdlers, and Hansel and Austin both recorded [personal records],” Henner said. “Christian and Kadeem still have to get a lot faster, but it was their first race back from a couple of hamstring injuries.”

Among the distance runners, sophomore Max Darrah and junior Ben Furcht took the top two spots and recorded personal records. But perhaps the highlight of the distance squad was freshman Derek Armstrong, who will redshirt this season. Armstrong won the 3000m run with a time of 8:17.02, barely edging out La Salle junior Nick Crits.

Over 20 athletes qualified for the Big East Championships, including five each from the men’s 1000m run, the women’s mile and the men’s mile.

Henner wants his squad to peak in February for the Big East Indoor Championship without burning out for the outdoor season, when the athletes start fresh.

“That’s where training comes into play,” Henner said. “We have to do longer strength workouts, and the races themselves serve as the speed workouts. … If you’re in great shape and you maintain that, you can do it. If you back off workouts too soon, that’s where you lose it.”

This weekend, Georgetown travels to State College, Pa., to compete in the Penn State National Invitational, where the competition figures to be much tougher than what the team has faced so far this season.

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