From an early age, athletes hear coaches preach that their players should only focus on the next game. Looking too far ahead is dangerous. But in track, only one contest matters: the national championships.

“The thing with outdoor track is that the biggest priority is to get people qualified for the NCAA first round,” Director of Track and Field and Cross Country Patrick Henner said. “That’s the focus.”

And Henner has to be pleased that the Georgetown track and field team took another shot at qualifying runners for the June national championships this past weekend at the Mason Spring Invitational, hosted by George Mason.

On the surface, both the men’s and women’s 4×400 meter relay teams seemed to fare well, winning their respective events. The men’s squad of sophomore Hansel Akers, graduate students Toby Ulm and Kevin Wilson and senior Austin Perron finished with a time of 3:13.34. The women, whose team consisted of senior London Finley, sophomore Chelsea Cox and juniors Amanda Kimbers and Tenille Stoudenmire, clocked in at a time of 3:40.34.

But first place in April does not matter much when the goal is qualifying in June, and Henner was not fully satisfied with the teams’ performances. Only the 24 best relay times from the East Regional make it to nationals, and the Hoyas need to find more to make that cut.

“The men’s 4×4 [team] needs to get down to 3:08 to get in, and the women need to get down to 3:37 or so to make sure they’re in” Henner said.

As it stands, both relay teams are several seconds away from their goals and Henner think that their qualification is still in doubt.

“We’ve just got to pull it all together,” he said. “Amanda ran an incredible split, but Tenille ran almost three seconds slower than her best indoor time. And on the men’s side, either Hansel or Austin has to do a better job leading off.”

In the individual events, the women showed that they have one of the nation’s best groups of runners. Kimbers finished second in the 100m dash with a time of 11.66 seconds, shaving over 0.3s from her performance at the Sun Angel Classic last weekend.

In the women’s 400m dash, Finley placed third, Stoudenmire finished in seventh and Green came in 10th with times of 55.11s, 56.00s and 57.2s respectively. Even though he was happy with the overall results, Henner again thought that their times could come down even more.

The women also took three of the top 10 spots in the 1500m run, as sophomore Madeline Chambers and freshmen Hannah Neczypor and Annamarie Maag took second, fifth, and seventh place, respectively. All three times should be good enough to qualify for the first round of the national championships, although that isn’t certain until the outdoor season has been completed.

On the men’s side, junior Bobby Peavey finished 34th out of 61 runners in the men’s 800m run, just one of five pedestrian finishes in the event for Georgetown. Peavey, who had a spectacular indoor season, has had a difficult time regaining his winter form.

“He was running great through the Big East indoor [championships], and then he faced some adversity,” Henner said. “He’s in really good shape, but you can’t let a few bumps knock you off the road like that.”

Meanwhile, classmate Andrew Springer is continuing his success from the indoor season, as he placed third in the men’s 1500m run with a time of 3:43.04. The Hoyas’ assistant coach, Michael Banks, won the event, clocking a time of 3:42.37, just ahead of Springer.

Georgetown’s track team will divide — and try to conquer — next weekend, heading to both coasts in pursuit of the lower times Henner wants. One group will travel to California to compete in the Mt. SAC Relays on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, and another will make the trip north to Princeton, N.J., for the Larry Ellis Invitational, taking place all day Friday and Saturday.

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