Oct. 16, 2015
WASHINGTON - The nationally-ranked men’s and women’s cross country teams are both in Louisville, Ky., for the 2015 NCAA Pre-National Meet. The meet serves as a course preview for the NCAA Championships, held Saturday, Nov. 21 on the same course. The men are coming off an impressive performance at the Paul Short Meet, bolstering the ranking to No. 10 nationally. The women had a handful of individual performers at Paul Short, but the perennial powerhouse will compete as a team for the first time since the Coast-to-Coast Battle at Beantown on September 25.
“We are really looking to run together as a team,” Director of Track & Field / Cross Country Michael Smith said. “We are looking to gain experience and learn the course because this is a new experience for a lot of our athletes.”
The look of the No. 7-ranked women’s team is much different than it has been in recent years with the eligibility exhaustion of All-Americans Katrina Coogan (Exeter, N.H./Phillips Exeter Academy) and Madeline Chambers. With the choice to rest some athletes, GU’s lineup will feature just two athletes with experience at this level in All-American Andrea Keklak (Sudbury, Mass./Lincoln-Sudbury/Princeton) and Autumn Eastman (Hinesburg, Vt./Champlain Valley Union), who competed at the 2014 NCAA Championships as a freshman.
Also competing for the Hoyas will be Audrey Belf (Birmingham, Mich./Earnest W. Seaholm), Piper Donaghu (Portland, Ore./Grant), Heather Martin (Manlius, N.Y./Fayetteville-Manlius), Haley Pierce (Wilmington, Del./Tatnall School) and Kennedy Weisner (St. Mary’s, Pa./Elk County Catholic).
The women are among eight nationally-ranked teams competing at the meet with five among the top 10 (No. 2 Colorado, No. 4 Oregon, No. 5 Michigan, No. 7 Georgetown, No. 9 Stanford).
The men, who surged into the top 10 after defeating then-No. 7 Villanova at the Paul Short Meet, will send a similar group to the Pre-National Meet to compete against some of the best teams in the country with 11 ranked nationally and three among the top 10 (No. 1 Colorado, No. 3 Oregon, No. 10 Georgetown).
“We are really going to work on executing well late,” Men’s Distance Coach Brandon Bonsey said. “This is the last meet that is similar to the NCAA Championships and we want to go out hard and focus on being tough in the middle of the race when the pace has been fast early on. The final step is to execute well toward the end and beat as many people as we can late.”
The lineup will feature Christian Alvarado (Fairfield, Conn./Fairfield College Prep), Amos Bartelsmeyer (St. Louis, Mo./Saint Louis Country Day), Ahmed Bile (Annandale, Va./Annandale), Scott Carpenter (Lenox, Mass./Lenox Memorial), Darren Fahy (Carlsbad, Calif./La Costa Canyon), Jonathan Green (Berlin, Mass./Saint John’s High School) and Connor Sheryak (Louisville, Ky./St. Xavier).
Fahy will be the only Hoya competing who has competed on the course in Louisville – the last time the NCAA Championships were held in Kentucky was in 2012 on the same course. The rather flat and hard-packed course should bode well for the Blue & Gray and suit the Hoyas’ skillset.
This meet serves as the last race before the championship portion of the season for the Blue & Gray with the BIG EAST Championships scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 31 and the regional championship another two weeks after that. Both races will be more tactical and strategic than the all-out racing that the Pre-National meet will provide.
The men’s red race (seeded) is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. ET while the women’s red race (seeded) is slated for 10:15 a.m. ET at E.P. “Tom” Sawyer State Park.