April 23, 2015
PHILADELPHIA - The Georgetown University track & field team took third place in the women's distance medley relay on a blustery and chilly day at historic Franklin Field on the first day of the 121st Penn Relays Carnival. The Hoyas seemed out of it but a remarkable performance from All-American Katrina Coogan (Exeter, N.H./Phillips Exeter Academy) saw the Hoyas move from eighth to third over her anchor leg. With a time of 11:16.83, the Hoyas finished third behind Villanova (11:09.06) and Stanford (11:11.07).
"I think Katrina's performance was a great example of running for the team," Women's Distance Coach Michael Smith said. "That's what big time athletes do. That's just another example of how she's been running for us all year. We're really proud of her and we're proud of the team today."
The cold conditions were favorable to no one as the race opened to a seemingly slow pace. It was Villanova's Angel Picirillo who would open up the race, splitting 3:23.25 on the opening 1,200-meter leg. Georgetown's leadoff, All-American Becca DeLoache (Charlotte, N.C./Myers Park), and the rest of the field couldn't keep up the pace as the `Cats took an early lead with the Hoyas handing off seven seconds off the lead pace.
All-American Piper Donaghu (Portland, Ore./Grant) took over the second leg with just one lap to make up as much ground as she could. The freshman, participating in her first Penn Relays as a Hoya, split 57.25, handed off to fellow All-American Sabrina Southerland (New York, N.Y./Benjamin N. Cardozo) for the 800-meter frame.
The pack had thinned out with Villanova and Stanford leading the field and the remaining teams on the chase. Southerland's 2:10.02 kept the Hoyas in the same spot, with the baton hitting Coogan's hands in eighth place.
Coogan, ever the racer, paid no attention to her position and executed her race plan to close the gap and pick off runners. Coogan split 4:39.03 over the 1,600-meter anchor leg and moved the Hoyas from eighth to third, edging out North Carolina over the final straightaway.
Coogan recorded the fastest anchor split of the race, besting Villanova's Stephanie Schappert (4:39.61) and Stanford's Elise Cranny (4:40.87) and made up an impressive five spots, picking off runners from start to finish.
Her split is the fifth-fastest 1,600-meter relay carry in GU history, nestling just after former Hoya All-American and Penn Relays champion Miesha Marzell (4:37.8, 1997 Penn Relays) and ahead of former Hoya All-American and standout Maggie Infeld (4:39.5, 2009 Penn Relays).
Distance Night ...
Distance night at Penn Relays is known for being cold and always a late night at Franklin Field and 2015 was no different. The Hoyas battled the frigid temperatures and put up strong times, including a handful of personal records (PRs) for the athletes. Sarah Cotton (Madison, Conn./Daniel Hand) ran 16:14.71, a PR, and took fourth place in the college championship section of the women's 5,000-meter run. In the Olympic development section, a trio of Hoyas turned in especially impressive performances as Madeline Perez (Glen Ellyn, Ill./Glenbard West), a freshman, ran 16:32.76 for fourth place in her first collegiate attempt. She ran on the shoulder of Annamarie Maag (Lake Oswego, Ore./Jesuit Prep) who is competing unattached as a redshirt, as Maag finished third (16:31.20). Autumn Eastman (Hinesburg, Vt./Champlain Valley Union) was not far behind in 12th place, also her first collegiate 5,000-meter run, clocking 16:52.45.
On the men's side, Christian Alvarado (Fairfield, Conn./Fairfield College Prep) finished 19th (14:23.92) in the college men's championship section of the 5,000-meter run, followed by Silas Frantz (Henrico, Va./Douglas Freeman) in 23rd (14:30.49). In the Olympic development section of the same race, Austin Gregor (Chalfont, Pa./Central Bucks South) clocked a 15:13.87 (30th).
Friday's Events ...
The men's DMR will compete on Friday at 2:30 p.m., with a foursome of All-Americans in Amos Bartelsmeyer (St. Louis, Mo./Saint Louis Country Day), Billy Ledder (Washington, D.C./Gonzaga), Joe White (Clifton, N.J./DePaul Catholic) and Cole Williams (San Francisco, Calif./Occidental College). The quartet is no stranger to elite levels of competition, placing fourth at the 2015 NCAA Championships, the best finish for a GU DMR at nationals since 2006, another fourth-place finish.
The day will start with the women's 4x1,500-meter relay at 1:20 p.m. Richard D'Ambrosio (Collegeville, Pa./Malvern Prep) will compete in the men's long jump at 2 p.m.