April 29, 2016
PHILADELPHIA - On a cloudy and chilly day at historic Franklin Field, the Georgetown University track & field team put in a strong performance at the 2016 Penn Relays, recording two top-three finishes in the Championship of America (COA) distance relays. The Hoya men finished second in the distance medley relay (DMR) for the first time since 2004. The women placed third in the 4x1,500-meter relay.
"The two relays today are just good examples of us competing all the way to the finish line," Director of Track & Field Michael Smith said after the races. "We try to teach our athletes that they have to value the process. The value has to be in how you fight the fight. If they strive for that, the journey is pretty gratifying. We were in it with 100 meters to go in both relays, and that just means we are competing and racing really well."
Championship of America Men's Distance Medley Relay
Running the leadoff 1,200-meter leg, All-American Cole Williams (San Francisco, Calif./Occidental College) made some moves down the stretch, but with such a tightly-packed field, was forced to spread the pack wide so he could manage his handoff. Daniel Anderson (Ozark, Mo./Ozark) took over the 400-meter leg, giving a strong effort, but another crowded exchange zone forced Anderson to cross a few lanes to be able to get the baton in the hands of All-American Joe White (Clifton, N.J./DePaul Catholic).
White started to pick off runners immediately, making up the gap and pulled the Hoyas within the top three, recording the best 800-meter split of the day (1:47.75), before the final handoff to All-American Ahmed Bile (Annandale, Va./Annandale). Bile competed well, splitting 4:01.25, the third-fastest anchor of the day. Bile was just behind Penn State's Brannon Kidder for most of his leg, unable to slip past the Nittany Lion, but managed to outkick Penn's Thomas Awad on his home track. The Hoyas clocked 9:36.32 for second place, the best finish in the men's DMR since 2004.
Championship of America Women's 4x1,500-Meter Relay
Coming off the distance medley relay (DMR) win on Thursday, the Hoyas were looking for the distance double on Friday. Kennedy Weisner (St. Marys, Pa./Elk County Catholic) led off for the Hoyas, staying among the top three for the majority of her frame, splitting 4:25.3. Weisner handed off to freshman Audrey Belf (Birmingham, Mich./Earnest W. Seaholm) for the second leg. A strong push from the field at the end of the second leg put the Hoyas in sixth place at the second handoff.
All-American and seasoned Penn Relays competitor, fresh off a winning anchor leg on Thursday, Katrina Coogan (Exeter, N.H./Phillips Exeter Academy) made her moves quick, making up two spots and moving in to fourth place after 400 meters and took over third after 600 meters. After 800 meters of racing, the pack came together and Coogan pulled in to the lead, choosing to dictate the pace of the remaining 700 meters until the last exchange. With a 4:21.7 split, she pulled away along with Oregon's Alli Cash and passed the baton to All-American Andrea Keklak (Sudbury, Mass./Lincoln-Sudbury/Princeton) on the anchor leg.
Keklak and the other three anchors from Villanova, Oregon and Indiana slowed down the pace and made it a kicker's race, each waiting to make a move. Going in to the final turn, VU's Siofra Cleirigh Buttner dropped a huge hammer, pushing past the field as the Wildcats took first place. With Keklak's 4:29.1 split, Georgetown finished third, clocking 17:45.45. Cleirigh Buttner's anchor split, 4:21.7, tied Coogan for the fastest split of the day.
Thursday Distance Night Recap
In the men's 10,000-meter run on Thursday night, Michael Crozier (Arlington, Va./Gonzaga) turned in a second-place finish with a huge personal record (PR) of 29:32.76, the first time the senior has broken 30 minutes in his career.
In the men's 5,000-meter run, John Murray (Shrewsbury, Mass./Shrewsbury) broke 14 minutes for the first time in his career, taking second place with a time of 13:56.1.
The meet in its entirety will be broadcast live on FloTrack.com, with access granted via a subscription.
Live results can be found on the official site of the 2016 Penn Relays.
Saturday Schedule (all times Eastern)
1:15 p.m. -- Men's 4xMile Relay
4:10 p.m. -- Women's 4x800-Meter Relay
4:40 p.m. -- Men's 4x800-Meter Relay
5:45 p.m. -- Women's 4x400-Meter Relay (ECAC)
The men's DMR second-place showing is the best finish for the Hoyas in the DMR since 2004, when Georgetown clocked 9:34.61, taking second behind Arkansas (9:33.74).