March 12, 2016
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - The Georgetown track & field program continued its excellent showing at the 2016 NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships, held at the Birmingham Crossplex in Birmingham, Ala. All-Americans Katrina Coogan (Exeter, N.H./Phillips Exeter Academy) and Andrea Keklak (Sudbury, Mass./Lincoln-Sudbury/Princeton) were among the best in the country in the 3,000-meter run and mile, respectively. The Hoya women, tabbed No. 11 in the country by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA), finished ninth at the meet with 21 points, the best finish in 18 years. The last time Georgetown finished among the top 10 on the women’s side was 1998 when the Blue & Gray tied for third place.
“I’m proud of our program today,” Director of Track & Field Michael Smith said. “It shows the level of athletes that we bring to Georgetown University. I’m proud of all of our kids, even the ones who are not here because I do believe that the spirit that we take to what we do each day – we need that from everyone. The attitude we have as Hoyas is what ultimately allows some of our best athletes to be compelled to this stage. Our result today is a result for everyone. Our student-athletes run with pride and representing Georgetown is really important to them. If you’re a fan of Georgetown track & field and you’re watching, we want very much to make you proud. And I think today is a day we can be proud.”
Georgetown was one of two BIG EAST Conference schools as Villanova tied for 25th place. The GU women tallied 21 points for ninth place in just three of 17 events scored. Georgetown’s efficiency was at an elite level as it relied on just two point scorers and one relay for its total point tally with only one other team among the top 10 able to make the same claim in the University of Michigan.
“It is an unforgiving track meet,” Smith continued. “Only 16 of the best athletes in the entire country can make it here. Once you get here, you’re allowed zero mistakes. For some of our athletes who met bad luck or errors, we are learning those lessons from the harshest teacher. It’s harder and harder to make it here and it’s a sign of what other programs are doing nationwide to go all in on track & field. We are going to have to continue to raise our bar as well and make sure that we are here learning from what hasn’t gone right to make it right in the future.”
The Hoya men competed in four events over the two-day meet with no team score.
Women’s Recap (21 Points; Ninth Place)
Top 10: Oregon (53), Arkansas (50), Georgia (45), Texas (44), Notre Dame (35), Michigan (31), Tennessee (30), Kansas State (26), Georgetown (21), Oklahoma State (18), USC (18)
Coming in to the finals of the women’s 3,000-meter run, Coogan and Notre Dame’s Molly Seidel were the only two in the field to already have a 2016 title under their belt as Coogan anchored the champion distance medley relay (DMR) and Seidel captured the 5,000-meter title on Friday night. The two were the ones to chase at the beginning of the race as they traded the lead. When Seidel put the pressure on and increased the pace, Michigan’s Erin Finn went with her and Coogan held her own at third, eventually timing in at 9:07.74, tallying six points.
Coming back for her third race in 24 hours, Keklak ran a strong race in the mile, staying among the leaders for most of the race. With just 200 meters to go, Villanova’s Angel Piccirillo looked as if she was going to run away with it as she started to pull ahead of the field as she hit the back straight. Oklahoma State’s Kaela Edwards went with Piccirillo as Keklak was part of the chase pack. A battle down the final straightaway, Keklak took fourth (4:38.44) as she was narrowly edged out by New Hampshire’s Elinor Purrier (4:38.42), who ran the nation’s leading collegiate mile this season. Despite being clipped by Purrier, Keklak’s split over the final 200 meters was faster as she ran 31.96 to close the third-fastest mile of her career and pick up five points for the Blue & Gray.
Men’s Recap (NTS)
All-American Ahmed Bile (Annandale, Va./Annandale) competed in the men’s 3,000-meter run. As the pace picked up and runners pulled ahead, it was a tightly-packed chase group and when legs tangled, it was detrimental for Bile who took a tumble. He was back on his feet quickly, but could not recover his positioning as he clocked 8:24.15 to finish 14th in the final.
• The ninth-place team finish is the fifth-best finish in program history (1980, 1998 -T3rd; 1997-6th; 1996-T7th).
• Georgetown’s ninth-place showing is the best since the Hoyas tied for third place in 1998.
• This is the fourth-straight year Katrina Coogan has tallied points in both the 3,000m and DMR.
• Coogan becomes the first Hoya to be a four-time point scorer in the 3,000m at the NCAA indoor meet.
• Coogan and Andrea Keklak both scored points in individual events as well as a relay at the NCAA indoor championships for the second time in program history. The duo did the same in 2014 with Coogan again in the 3,000m and Keklak in the 800m.
• Keklak becomes the first Hoya to score points in the mile since Elizabeth Maloy finished seventh in 2009. Keklak turns in the best GU performance in the mile since Treniere Clement (now Moser) finished third in 2004.