Although the Georgetown outdoor track and field teams swept the 4×800 meter events and grabbed two individual titles at the 2015 Big East Championships, the Hoyas finished fourth out of seven teams on the men’s side and fifth of eight teams on the women’s side.
The Villanova Wildcats won the meet on both the men’s and women’s sides, scoring 243 and 247 points, respectively. Marquette came in second for both teams with 183 points for the men and 138 points for the women. DePaul (164), Georgetown (114), Xavier (68), Providence (53) and Butler (23) rounded out the rest of the men’s field, while St. John’s (130), DePaul (124), Georgetown (72), Providence (62), Butler (45) and Xavier (35) made up the remainder of the women’s rankings.
Despite a middling overall finish, Georgetown runners submitted multiple impressive individual performances. According to Track and Field Coach Pat Henner, it is these types of races that are most important.
“I think for us, as a program that revolves around the NCAA meet, we’re not really going to look as much at the team results rather than how we ran in our individual events,” Henner said.
Freshman Piper Donaghu, sophomore Heather Martin and sophomore Emma Keenan finished third, fourth and fifth, respectively in the women’s 800m finals. Freshman Aleta Looker and sophomore Jocelyn Hubbard joined Martin and Donaghu later in the 4x800m event, in which they finished first with a time of 8:39.98. The men also won their 4x800m relay, with a team comprised of sophomores Amos Bartelsmeyer and Ahmed Bile and juniors Cole Williams and Andrew Ogle.
“That’s an event area we take a lot of pride in, and we’re arguably one of the best teams in the country in that event,” Henner said of the Hoyas’ performance in the 4x800m.
Besides the victories in the 4x800m, one of the key highlights of the meet was senior Katrina Coogan’s first-place finish in the women’s 1500m, setting a meet record of 4.13.70. Coogan beat out the second-place finisher, Villanova’s Siofra Cleirigh Buttner, by nearly 10 seconds. Coogan’s time beat the record previously held by Georgetown’s Maggie Infield (4:16.37), which was set in 2009.
“That was my first track individual championship that I’ve won in my time at Georgetown, so it was really special to be able to do that for the first time,” Coogan said.
Henner did not hesitate to praise Coogan’s victory.
“I would say Katrina Coogan had the best performance of the meet,” Henner said.
Coogan led the race from start to finish, executing her preferred strategy to perfection.
“My coach and I decided that I wanted to run it hard from the front to try and drop the other people in the race, and so I just led it from the very beginning and tried to run as hard as I could leading it by myself, and I was able to do that, so I was happy with it,” Coogan said.
Another impressive individual performance came from freshman Joe White, who won the 800m with a time of 1:49.38. As a freshman competing in his first outdoor track championships, White’s victory is quite impressive. He sealed his victory with a burst of speed in the final stretch of the race.
“We initially wanted to go out pretty slow, and just let the Villanova boys take over the race, and follow in their footsteps,” White said. “In the last 150 meters, we were supposed to work off them, and just accelerate through the last 150 really well, and I feel like me and my friends did that.”
Graduate student Billy Ledder finished second in the 800m, and Bile finished fourth. In addition, Sophomore Ryan Gil finished first in the men’s 3000m Steeplechase with a time of 8:58.67.
The Georgetown men finished first in the 4x400m relay thanks to the efforts of Ledder, White, sophomore Nate Gordon and sophomore Daniel Anderson.
“It’s nice being able to win those races, because it’s real team-oriented. The crowd is always the loudest for the relays, so it’s nice winning those,” White said.
Villanova’s victory marks the ninth time that the Wildcats have completed a “track double,” winning both the Big East indoor championships as well as the outdoor championships in the same calendar year.
“They have some big time quality athletes in distance and middle distance,” Henner said of Villanova. “They’ve got a great program.”
Georgetown’s program has a bright future, as several accomplished runners, including White and Coogan, who has an extra year of eligibility because of a redshirt, will return for at least one more season. Still, the team will have to replace several important members of the program.
“I think that [the seniors] are a really good group of leaders, and the people under them have some pretty big shoes to fill,” White said.
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