Nationally-Ranked Cross Country Squads Open at JMU and Navy

Michael Lederhouse

Sept. 12, 2015


WASHINGTON - The nationally-ranked Georgetown cross country teams opened the 2015 season by splitting sites with the women, ranked preseason No. 5 by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA), winning the JMU Invitational with the men, tabbed No. 16, finishing second behind the host Midshipmen at the Navy Invitational.

“I’m really happy to see how the women executed a conservative race plan,” Director of Track & Field / Cross Country Michael Smith said. “It was good for the team to get out there in those conditions with their spikes on to see where they are at this very early stage of the season.”

Despite Smith’s race plan to go out conservatively over the first mile, it had little effect to the overall outcome of the race with the Hoyas taking the top three spots and all five point scorers among the top seven. Led by returning cross country All-American Samantha Nadel (Glen Head, N.Y./North Shore) in the 5,200-meter race, she ran 18:37.30 to win the overall race followed by Piper Donaghu (Portland, Ore./Grant) and Autumn Eastman (Hinesburg, Vt./Champlain Valley Union) in second (18:43.50) and third (18:59.40), respectively. The sophomore duo have a handful of collegiate races under their belt but look poised to take on the new roles that will be presented to them this season.

Following up in sixth place was Kennedy Weisner (St. Mary’s, Pa./Elk County Catholic), clocking 19:31.40, with Heather Martin (Manlius, N.Y./Fayetteville-Manlius) behind her in seventh place (19:45.70).



“Races like this are a great way to see where we are and the areas where we can improve,” Smith said after the race. “This team has a lot of talent and potential and I think we are excited to see how this season comes together.”

Competing closer to home in Annapolis, the men’s team finished second among seven teams at the Navy Invitational.

“Overall I was pleased with the effort that the men put in today,” Men’s Distance Coach Brandon Bonsey said. “Mike Lederhouse showed great leadership finishing third overall, while Christian Alvarado made his cross country debut and proved why he was one of the top recruits in the country coming out of high school.”

Bonsey put together a strategic race plan for the men, instructing the likes of track All-Americans Jonathan Green (Berlin, Mass./Saint John’s), Darren Fahy (Carlsbad, Calif./La Costa Canyon) and Amos Bartelsmeyer (St. Louis, Mo./Saint Louis Country Day) to complete a tempo run within the race – one that was executed perfectly.

Without the trio of All-Americans racing hard and instead using the competition as a practice, the squad was led by Michael Lederhouse (Glen Ellyn, Ill./Glenbard West), who finished third overall with a time of 25:02.36 over the 8,000-meter race. Christian Alvarado (Fairfield, Conn./Fairfield College Prep), in his first cross country race as a Hoya, finished fourth timing in at 25:05.77.

Connor Sheryak (Louisville, Ky./St. Xavier) was the third point scorer for the Blue & Gray with a time of 25:15.53, good enough for eighth place overall. Completing their tempo run, Green and Fahy turned in the last two point-scoring performances, finishing 15th (25:42.44) and 16th (25:42.85), respectively.

“We showed our depth today,” Bonsey explained. “I’m excited to see where we are when we line up a full squad in three weeks at Paul Short.”

The women’s team will return to competition on Friday, September 25 at the Coast-to-Coast Battle at Beantown in Boston, Mass. Both squads will compete at the Paul Short Invitational in Bethlehem, Pa., the following week on Friday, October 2.

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