Sept. 13, 2014
WASHINGTON - The Georgetown University cross country program opened the 2014 season as the men and women split sites with the men's team traveling to State College, Pa., for the Harry Groves Spiked Shoe Club Cross Country Invitational, hosted by Penn State University, while the fifth-ranked women traveled to Harrisonburg, Va., for the JMU Invitational. The women took five of the top six spots to easily win the JMU Invitational as Hoya All-American Katrina Coogan (Exeter, N.H./Phillips Exeter Academy) crushed the previous course record, set in 2009.
"Races like today really give you an idea of what the next two months of training will be like," Head Women's Cross Country Coach Mike Smith said. "We had a race plan for five to go out aggressively in the first mile and that would determine the pacing for the rest of the race. I was really pleased to see how some of our athletes finished up today and closed over the last 400 meters."
Coogan handily took first place in the 5,200-meter race with a time of 17:46.00, besting the rest of the field and her very own teammates by more than 30 seconds. Taking second place was All-American Andrea Keklak (Sudbury, Mass./Lincoln-Sudbury/Princeton) - who broke out in the half mile during the 2014 track season. Haley Pierce (Wilmington, Del./Tatnall School), Annamarie Maag (Lake Oswego, Ore./Jesuit) and Kelsey Smith (Blacksburg, Va./Blacksburg) were the final point scorers for the Blue & Gray, taking fourth, fifth and sixth, respectively.
Coogan set a new course record while Keklak ran the third-fastest time in course history (18:19.30) followed by Pierce (18:22.10, 7th-best in course history), Maag (18:25.10, 9th-best in course history) and Smith (18:33.20, 10th-best in course history).
The women handily won the race with a score 17 in the six-team field followed by host James Madison (57), George Mason (64), Virginia Military Institute (113), Longwood (149) and Concord (174).
The men's team opened the season with a third-place finish at the Harry Groves Spiked Shoe Cross Country Invitaional behind the performances of Scott Carpenter (Lenox, Mass./Lenox Memorial) and Darren Fahy (Carlsbad, Calif./La Costa Canyon), both competing in their second season of cross country eligibility.
"Though I was not pleased with the end result today, I saw a lot of good things out there," Men's Distance Coach Brandon Bonsey said after the meet. "Scott and Darren took the lead with 1,200 meters to go and really pushed the pace. They weren't quite ready to run away from people yet but I liked their aggression ... I'm confident that we will be rested and ready to compete better in two weeks in Boston."
The Hoyas missed the presence of veterans Brian King (Sonoma, Calif./Cardinal Newman) and Collin Leibold (Falls Church, Va./Gonzaga) and despite the performances of Carpenter (26:16, fifth) and Fahy (26:18, seventh) in the 5.2 mile race, the main pack of GU runners were too far back when the field started to hit their stride and make moves on the rainy course.
All-American Ahmed Bile (Annandale, Va./Annandale), Jonathan Green (Berlin, Mass./Saint John's High School) and John Murray (Shrewsbury, Mass./Shrewsbury) were the remaining point scorers as they finished 11th (26:23), 12th (26:23) and 13th (26:26), respectively.
Host Penn State bested the field (41 points), followed by Syracuse (47), Georgetown (48), Saint Joseph's (Pa.) (126) and Pittsburgh (136) to round out the top five.
The Hoyas return to action in two weekends as they travel to Boston, Mass., on Friday, Sept. 26 for the Coast to Coast Battle in Beantown.