Nov. 23, 2013
WASHINGTON - The Georgetown University women's cross country team, tabbed sixth in the final U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) poll of the season, took fifth overall at the 2013 NCAA Cross Country Championships, held in Terre Haute, Ind., at the LaVern Gibson Cross Country Course, friendly confines for the Hoyas as it is the same 6,000-meter course where the Blue & Gray won the National Championship in 2011.
The day started with unfavorable conditions for the field of 31 teams with the 2013 NCAA Division I Men's and Women's Cross Country Championships Games Committee deciding to relocate the start line up 110 meters in an effort to provide the most fair and equal start for all competitors citing safety, fairness and student-athlete welfare as the deciding factors. Along with the amended start line, the field of more than 250 runners ran a course that had endured harsh rains in the days leading up to the championship as well as temperatures in the 30s and winds gusting up to more than 20 mph.
"Overall, we were really close," Head Women's Cross Country Coach Michael Smith said. "We were closer than the results even show. The way we ran is a courageous way to run a cross country race. We were very aggressive in our positioning.
Knowing the conditions of the race, the Hoyas decided to work on positioning early in the race as a come-from-behind push at the end was questionable with the rain-battered terrain. Georgetown was the top team at the 2,000-meter and 4,000-meter split through some great early positioning. However, the Blue & Gray would see their command slip just slightly and a matter of seconds made the difference today between second, third, fourth and fifth places.
"I think we're a little disappointed," Smith explained. "Our motto this season has been, if you can't be great, at least be good. And with the race plan today, we really put out everything we had in a very gutsy meet. The conditions were the same for everyone but what I'm happy about is that we can go home and know that we gave it everything we had."
The Georgetown women finished fifth of 31 teams with 226 points. BIG EAST foe Providence led the way with 141 points while Arizona finished second with 197. Newly-minted BIG EAST institution Butler finished third with 200 points followed by Michigan (215), Georgetown (226), Michigan State (236), Colorado (265), Florida State (278), Virginia (283) and New Mexico (301) for the top 10. Villanova, the final BIG EAST team in the meet, placed 19th with 397 points.
Utilizing a spread of less than 30 seconds (27.7 seconds) among the five point scorers, the Hoyas saw familiar results that have served them well all season. Samantha Nadel (Glen Head, N.Y./North Shore) led the way with a time of 20:51.2, finishing 47th overall and picking up 30 points for the team. Haley Pierce (Wilmington, Del./Tatnall School), a freshman in eligibility, was competing in her first NCAA Championships, and put in a strong performance of 20:55.1 (52nd overall, 35 points) followed by All-American Katrina Coogan (Exter, N.H./Phillips Exeter Academy) with a time of 20:57.8 (60th overall, 40 points).
Georgetown looked to the experience of All-Americans Rachel Schneider (Dover, N.H./St. Thomas Aquinas) and Madeline Chambers (Rocky River, Ohio/Magnificat) for the final point scorers as they finished with times of 21:05.3 (69th overall, 49 points) and 21:18.9 (99th overall, 72 points), respectively.
Also competing for the Hoyas were Rachel Paul (Farmingville, N.Y./Sachem East) and Annamarie Maag (Lake Oswego, Ore./Jesuit Prep) who finished with respective times of 21:34.3 (137th overall) and 21:48.2 (170th overall).
On the men's side, Andrew Springer (Westerly, R.I./Westerly), finished the 10,000-meter course with a time of 21:33.8, enough to place 129th overall.
Back on the east coast, the men's team traveled to Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx, site of many BIG EAST Championships prior, for the IC4A Championships. The men's team dominated the course and took the title with 43 points. John Murray (Shrewsbury, Mass./Shrewsbury) finished first with a time of 24:56.6, followed by Collin Leibold (Falls Church, Va./Gonzaga) in fourth (25:07.2), Dylan Sorensen (Zionsville, Ind./Zionsville) in eighth (25:24.0), Matt Howard (Blacksburg, Va./Blacksburg) in 14th (25:35.7) and Scott Carpenter (Lenox, Mass./Lenox Memorial) in 16th place (25:37.9).
The Hoyas led the field of 10 with 43 points followed by Saint Joseph's (69), Princeton (109), George Mason (112), La Salle (131), Columbia (156), Harvard (167), Rider (176), Boston College (192) and Iona (252).