Last weekend the women’s track team got a taste of what is to come at next month’s NCAA Indoor Championships. In their most competitive meet of the season thus far, several Hoyas traveled to the Randal Tyson Track Center in Fayetteville, Ark., the site of this season’s championship, to run against seven of the top 10 teams in the nation. Another group of Georgetown runners competed in the USTCA Collegiate Invitational in University Park, Pa. Both squads proved they are among the nation’s best.

“Of the 21 athletes competing, 18 or 19 bettered their indoor PRs,” Director of Track and Field Ron Helmer said. “We keep running a little faster every weekend.”

In Arkansas, three performances met NCAA provisional standards.

Senior sprinter Sasha Spencer, who qualified in the 400-meter dash last weekend at Virginia Tech, led the way, winning the 800-meter run in 2 hours, 8 minutes and 30 seconds and running the first leg on the Hoyas’ qualifying 4 x 400-meter relay team. Also a member of Georgetown’s fourth-ranked distance medley relay team, Spencer’s performances have earned her qualifications in four NCAA championship events.

“Sasha has been having a great indoor season up to this point,” Helmer said. “When the time comes, we will have to sit down, try to figure out where her best chances are and choose what events she should run in at nationals.”

With Spencer’s qualifying time in the 800 meters currently placing her sixth in the nation, and an earlier performance in the 400-meter dash ranking her ninth, she has established herself as one of the top collegiate sprinters.

Last weekend’s 4 x 400-meter relay pitted the team of Spencer, freshman Kori Hamilton, junior Tyrona Heath and senior Nickay Penado, against a field of 13, including South Carolina, Arkansas and Clemson – the top three teams in the nation.

The Hoyas’ convincing 3:39.22 time defeated the defending champion Razorbacks’ mark and placed them in the 10th spot in the nation.

Individually, Heath placed fifth behind Spencer in the 800, recording an ECAC qualifying time of 2:10.76, and Penado and Hamilton timed 54.77 and 57.82 in the 400-meter dash, good for 10th and 31st, respectively.

On day two of competition in Arkansas, senior Emily Enstice added an NCAA provisional qualifying time in the 3000-meter run, crossing the line in 9:35.47 to finish sixth in the event.

“The highlight of the Penn State meet was Erin Sicher’s performance in the mile,” Helmer said.

Sicher, also a member of the qualifying distance medley relay team, improved her time by 2.32 seconds in the event to take first place. Her mark of 4:46.05 currently stands as 17th in the nation.

Helmer also praised sophomore Jamillah Bowman’s fourth place time of 55.89 in the 400-meter dash, and senior Lorena Adams’ 17:08.28 second place finish in the 5,000-meter run.

Other strong performances came in the 800-meter run and the pole vault.

In the 800-meters, sophomore Jill Laurendeau, senior Heather Blackard and freshman Treniere Clement came in fourth, fifth and sixth, recording times of 2:11.35, 2:11.70 and 2:11.71, respectively. In the pole vault, sophomore Emilie Mitescu cleared 10 feet 6 inches to take 13th place, coming only two inches away from breaking the school record in the event.

Next week, the Hoyas will travel to Syracuse for the Big East Championships.

“We’re set to go into the Big East Championship and compete for a title, but it won’t be easy,” Coach Helmer said. “There are 14 very talented schools, and when they are all competing at a championship level, in many of the same areas in which we’re very good, like the 400 and the 800, it means that we need a lot of first and second place finishes, and in other areas [where we have weaknesses], it means people need to go out and give quality performances to earn points. It will take a combination of that. We have a good team, but people still need to go out and perform.”

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