April 30, 2016
PHILADELPHIA - For just the second time in program history, the Georgetown University women’s track & field team pulled off a Penn Relays distance double as the Hoyas added to their distance medley relay (DMR) title from Thursday by winning the 4x800-meter relay on Saturday afternoon in front of a crowd 44,469 fans on their feet as the race came to a finish. This is just the second time in program history the Georgetown women have brought two wheels back to the Hilltop, with the previous occurrence in 1996. The Hoya men turned in a third-place performance in the Championship of America (COA) 4xMile Relay.
“I think the 4x800m is a special race,” Director of Track & Field / Cross Country Michael Smith explained in a postrace press conference. “As a program, we’ve got a lot of depth at 800 meters. To have the ability to show that depth by assembling a team and go race other great teams in America, we don’t get that opportunity every day. I’m really happy for them today.”
Championship of America Women’s 4x800-Meter Relay
Having already won the DMR title on Thursday, the Hoyas lined up for the 4x800-meter relay boasting one of the deepest lineups in the field and returning two athletes from the winning DMR squad in All-Americans Heather Martin (Fayetteville, N.Y./Manlius-Fayetteville) and Sabrina Southerland (New York, N.Y./Benjamin N. Cardozo).
“I think it’s pretty awesome,” Southerland explained of being a part of two championship relay squads. “We all tried our best. We are excited to go home with not one, but two wheels. We’re just really happy with where we are as a team right now.”
Martin led off for the Hoyas, splitting 2:07.98 before turning the baton over to Southerland on the second leg. Southerland made up ground with a 2:06.35 leg, maximizing the benefit of a slower last 400 meters from Oklahoma State’s second leg.
At the second exchange, All-American Emma Keenan (Gwynedd Valley, Pa./Gwynedd Mercy Academy) took over for the Hoyas in front of a familiar crowd for the Philadelphia-area product. Keenan waited to make her move, taking over first place with a split of 2:06.27. In her first Penn Relays, Sarah Schmidt (Viersen, Germany) took over the anchor leg for the Blue & Gray. Taking over in the lead, Schmidt held off a storming Kaela Edwards (Oklahoma State) as the freshman split 2:05.46. The Hoyas managed the win with a final time of 8:26.02 while Oklahoma State finished second (8:26.34).
“I think this was a really good start to the second half of the season,” Martin explained of the successful weekend. “It puts us in a good place with some forward momentum going in to some of the important races to come.”
The win marks just the second time in program history that Georgetown has pulled off a distance double at Penn Relays with the other time coming in 1996 when the Hoyas also won the DMR and 4x800-meter relay.
Championship of America Men’s 4xMile Relay
Leading off for the Hoyas in the men’s 4xmile was All-American Darren Fahy (Carlsbad, Calif./La Costa Canyon). Fahy kept the Hoyas among the top three (4:06.8) before handing off to All-American Cole Williams (San Francisco, Calif./La Costa Canyon). The Hoyas stayed in contention as Williams split 4:08.3 over his four-lap frame.
Freshman Spencer Brown (Wilton, Conn./Wilton) was responsible for the third leg, but as the field pushed forward the Hoyas slipped back in the pack before the final exchange. All-American Ahmed Bile (Annandale, Va./Annandale) anchored GU, turning in the fastest split of the day with a 4:00.2, but the day belonged to the University of Pennsylvania Quakers on its home track as anchor Thomas Awad dropped a big kick on the field for the win. The Hoyas finished third with a time of 16:27.52.
ECAC Women’s 4x400-Meter Relay
The foursome of Mirabel Nkenke (Orange, N.J./Immaculate Conception), Piper Donaghu (Portland, Ore./Grant), Jody-Ann Knight (Bentonville, Ark./Bentonville) and Kennedy Weisner (St. Marys, Pa./Elk County Catholic) finished fourth in their section of the 4x400-meter relay, clocking 3:52.12.
What’s Up Next
The Hoyas will return to action on Friday, May 6 as they stay in the DMV for the Kehoe Twilight Meet, hosted by the University of Maryland in College Park, Md.
• The Georgetown women win the fourth Championship of America 4x800-Meter Relay in program history. It is the first time the Hoyas have won the event since 2000.
• The 2016 Penn Relays marks 20 years since the Hoya women managed a double in the relays titles, winning the DMR and the 4x800-meter relay in 1996 as well.
• Running on both the DMR and 4x800-meter relay, Sabrina Southerland and Heather Martin become the fourth and fifth Hoyas in program history to have run on multiple winning Penn Relays squads. They join Hoya standouts Miesha Marzell, Amy Ross and Julian Reynolds. Southerland, Martin, Marzell and Ross are each on two different winning squads while Reynolds leads the crew as she has appeared on three (1996 DMR, 1996 4x800m, 1998 4x800m).
• With four 4x800-meter Penn Relay titles, the Hoyas move in to a tie for third with Florida for most titles. Villanova leads all teams with 12 followed by Tennessee (7).
• The Georgetown women now tally seven Championship of America relay victories in program history, three in the DMR and four in the 4x800m relay.