Both the Georgetown men’s and women’s outdoor track and field teams saw a successful weekend, as six Hoyas set personal records at the University of Miami Hurricane Alumni Invitational in Coral Gables, Fla.
On the men’s side, the Hoyas were led by senior Ahmed Bile, who ran a personal record time of 1:48.48 to win the men’s 800-meter event. Bile was followed by sophomore Charles Cooper, who clocked in at 1:50.15, also a personal record. Coming off an impressive campaign during the indoor season, Bile has tried to maintain his concentration in the early stretch of the outdoor season.
“I think the biggest thing was to stay focused,” Bile said. “It is very easy to come off the national meet and take your foot off the gas and relax, and to some extent that is fine. But definitely in the back of your mind stay focused and know the outdoor season is coming up in two, three weeks. So I think my biggest key was staying focused.”
Junior Daniel Anderson claimed 16th place in the men’s 400m event, finishing with a time of 49.28. Sophomore Joe White captured seventh overall in the men’s 400m dash, running a time of 48.42.
“I think what impresses me most about Joe is his confidence,” Bile said. “Obviously he is so young, he is a sophomore, [but] he doesn’t get nervous about racing seniors and guys who have the potential to be on Olympic teams. He kind of embraces that and looks forward to racing some of the best guys.”
Anderson, White, senior Zach Zingsheim and Cooper formed a 4-x-400m relay and seized sixth place overall with a time of 3:19.25.
On the women’s team, the Hoyas saw junior Sabrina Southerland turn in another strong outdoor performance. Southerland won the women’s 1500m event by running a time of 4:21.51, a personal record. Southerland led the way and sophomore Kennedy Weisner and senior Heather Martin rounded out the top three in that event. Weisner finished in second place overall, clocking in at a personal best of 4:22.14. Martin claimed third overall with a time of 4:24.08.
Sophomore Piper Donaghu also turned in an impressive performance, winning the women’s 800m event. Donaghu crossed the finish line with a time of 2:08.64, followed by Weisner, who clinched second place with a time of 2:09.40.
Sophomore Jody-Ann Knight continued to build on her early season momentum, running a personal record in the women’s 200m race. Knight ran a time of 25.09 in the event, winning her heat in the process.
Knight credited her recent success to hard work in the offseason.
“I think I really trained well for preseason,” Knight said. “I know I took it really seriously as I always do, but I know I made sure the summer was really important. Just making sure I never missed a workout, kept up with everything, and once first semester started, I made sure I was lifting more than I ever had. I definitely think the weight room has made a huge difference in my performance.”
The women formed two 4x400m relay squads to compete. The relay of graduate student Andrea Keklak, Southerland, freshman Sarah Schmidt and Martin recorded a time of 3:41.01 to capture fourth place overall. The race was also Schmidt’s collegiate debut.
Senior Mirabel Nkenke, Donaghu, Knight and Weisner won the second heat of the event with a time of 3:48.82, earning them sixth place overall in the event. Members of the team, particularly Knight, lauded Weisner — who ran three events — for her toughness.
“I was just excited by how she could take on all the pressure with running three events,” Knight said. “I really thought it was such a great thing for her to finish it because she had the opportunity to run off and not finish the 400 leg if she was tired. So I think when she received the baton from me she looked so excited that we were already in a good spot. I think it was really nice of her to be selfless and think of everyone else.”
Both the women’s and men’s teams will return to competition on April 22 and 23 when they are sent off to Palo Alto, Calif., for the Stanford Twilight meet and to Charlottesville, Va., for the UVA Challenge.
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