Nov. 18, 2014
WASHINGTON - Head Women's Cross Country Coach Michael Smith and All-American Katrina Coogan (Exeter, N.H./Phillips Exeter Academy) were named the Mid-Atlantic Region Women's Coach of the Year and Athlete of the Year, respectively, as announced by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) offices Tuesday.
This is the first honor for a GU women's student-athlete since All-American Melissa Grelli collected the accolade in 2007 and the fourth honor bestowed upon the Hoyas in the record books with former Hoya All-Americans Treniere (Clement) Moser and Marni Kruppa earning the distinction in 2003 and 2001, respectively.
Coogan earns the recognition following an impressive performance on Friday, November 14 at the NCAA Mid-Atlantic Championships when she was the first GU runner to take the individual crown since 2007. Her time of 20:06 over the 6,000-meter course was enough to win the race and lead the No. 2 Hoyas to the team title. Coogan snapped a six-year streak of Villanova earning the honor. Showcasing the powerhouse status of the BIG EAST Conference, the Hoyas and `Cats have combined for the previous eight regional athlete honors.
"It feels good," Coogan said of the announcement. "I think that it's cool because I've had a lot of battles with cross country over the last couple of years - it's been a real learning process and it hasn't been the smoothest road. For it to come together now is really rewarding. It just shows that you have to stay with it even when it's hard and not going how you expect it to, because if you stick with it and work hard, the success will come."
Smith is the first Hoya women's coach to earn coach of the year honors since former coach Ron Helmer shared the honor in 2003. Smith is just the second coach in Georgetown history to be recognized with regional honors in cross country with Helmer earning the previous three distinctions (2003, 2002, 2001).
The 2014 title is the first team crown since the 2011 season when the Blue & Gray shared the title with BIG EAST foe Villanova. The Blue & Gray managed four of five point scorers among the top 10 en route to the team championship.
"Awards like this are really for the great performances the athletes are putting out there," Smith said. "It's about the athletes making the coach look good. It's a great honor, but I'm just getting the credit for coaching great athletes."
Both the women's team and the men's team, tied for No. 13 in the latest USTFCCCA national coaches poll, earned the automatic berth to the 2014 NCAA Championships following a first- and second-place performance, respectively, at the regional meet. The teams will depart for Terre Haute, Ind., on Thursday for Saturday's championships races, held at the LaVern Gibson Cross Country Course. The women's race is slated for noon ET, with the men's race schedule for approximately 1 p.m. ET.