Ayalew Taye (pictured) is now a BIG EAST Champion after running a stellar anchor leg in the men's DMR at the 2011 BIG EAST Championships.
Feb. 19, 2011
AKRON, Ohio - Escaping the 35 degree weather and the wind that gusted up to 30 miles per hour, the Georgetown University track & field program went indoors to the Stiles Field House on the campus of the University of Akron for the first day of the BIG EAST Track & Field Indoor Championships. The facility that boasts a 320-meter six-lane flat track played host to the league championships and was quite the change of scenery from the famed Armory in New York where the championships has been held in years past. From today's prelim rounds, the Hoyas secured 21 spots in tomorrow's finals from 19 student-athletes in 15 different events.
Sophomore and All-American Emily Jones (Harvard, Mass./Bromfield) can now add BIG EAST individual champion to her repertoire as she ran a phenomenal race in the women's 5,000-meter run in her first-ever race at the BIG EAST Indoor Championships. She stayed in the top three for the majority of the race keeping a conditioned pace. She took the lead with four laps to go but slipped to second as Providence's Shelby Greany made her move at the bell. On the back straightaway, Jones hit her mark and made her move and was able to take back the lead before the turn. Through the turn, the remainder of the field seemed to tire while Jones hit her stride. Her sprint through the final straightaway ended with a beaming smile on her face as she won the first BIG EAST indoor race of her career with a time of 16:10.96.
With just 480 meters to go, it seemed as though Ayalew Taye (Portland, Maine/Cushing Academy) had kicked too soon and the Hoyas would not come away with the distance medley relay title. However, a final push through the last straightaway gave Taye, sophomore Andrew Springer (Waverly, R.I./Waverly), junior Austin Perron (Philadelphia, Pa./High School of Engineering & Science) and senior Toby Ulm (Marlborough, United Kingdom/St. John's School & Community College) a BIG EAST title. Springer kept the Hoyas in the competition as he kept in the hunt through his 1,200 meters. After a day where Perron struggled in the trials, he ended the day on a high note as he propelled the Hoyas to the top two as he handed off to Ulm. As soon as Taye got the baton, he was under control and showed the skill and patience of a seasoned relay athlete. Georgetown won the race with a time of 9:49.29.
In the women's DMR, Georgetown finished second after a brilliant leadoff leg from All-American Rachel Schneider (Dover, N.H./St. Thomas Aquinas). She put the Hoyas in first through the first handoff as freshman Emily Menges (Garden City, N.Y./Garden City) took over the 400-meter leg. Junior Lauren Borduin (Columbia, Mo./Rock Bridge) ran the third stanza with the Hoyas slipping to third place with junior Katie McCafferty (Convent Station, N.J./Oak Knoll) taking over the anchor leg. McCafferty held on and nestled right behind West Virginia's anchor for the majority of her 1,600 meters. Villanova's Sheila Reid had developed such a lead in the third leg that McCafferty battled for second place with West Virginia. As patient as the majority of the middle distance and distance runners for Georgetown are, McCafferty made her move on the outside and took second place for the Hoyas with a time of 11:21.82.
Senior and two-time All-American Chris Kinney (Stockbridge, Ga./Stockbridge) is setting the stage for what could be back-to-back individual championships in the men's 60-meter hurdles. Running an easy 7.79, Kinney coasted through the finish to get the automatic bid to tomorrow's finals. Junior Biyerem Okengwu (Piscataway, N.J./Piscataway Township) ran a 8.24 to take fourth place in the first heat and qualified on time for Sunday's final. Okengwu will take lane one while Kinney is set in lane four.
Ulm automatically qualified for Sunday's final as he handily won the third heat of the prelims timing in at 1:03.49. Sitting in third with 240 meters to go, Ulm made his move on the outside of the back straightaway moving into second place. Ulm transitioned into first place coming off the final turn and coasted through the home stretch and will compete in lane five of heat two in tomorrow's two-section final.
Schneider qualified with ease for Sunday's final in the first heat of the women's mile. With the top four automatically qualifying for the final, Schneider found herself as the leader of the chase pack with three laps to go. At the bell, Schneider had stayed patient and sat at fourth place, hitting her stride appropriately on the back straightaway, reclaiming the chase pack by the end of the last turn. She sprinted through the final straightaway and closed the gap on the leader and timed in at 5:00.82, the second-fastest time of the prelims.
Automatically qualifying for Sunday's final was Menges who ran a 1:14.20 in the women's 500-meter dash. She made a nice move on the back straightaway to catapult from fifth to the lead by the final turn. The competition was on the chase in the final straightaway but she staved off the field and held on to the top spot. Menges will compete in lane five of the first heat in tomorrow's two-section final.
Chelsea Cox (Manahawkin, N.J./Southern Regional) made her first trip to the BIG EAST Championships look easy as she ran a 2:09.58 in the first heat of the women's 800-meter prelims, automatically qualifying for the finals with classmate Becca DeLoache (Charlotte, N.C./Myers Park) right behind her, qualifying on time (2:09.60).
Junior London Finley (Los Angeles, Calif./St. Mary's Academy) qualified on time for Sunday's final in the women's 60-meter hurdles running the fourth-fastest time overall in the prelims with a time of 8.61. She will compete in lane six of tomorrow's eight-person final. Finley also qualified for the women's 400-meter dash final, winning her heat handily with a time of 55.73. Joining Finley is senior Deidra Sanders (Memphis, Tenn./Eastern) who ran a 55.75 to win her heat. The duo will run in lanes four and six, respectively, in Sunday's final.
Sophomore Amanda Kimbers (Baltimore, Md./McDonogh) narrowly qualified for Sunday's final in the women's 60-meter dash timing in at 7.61, the eighth-fastest time of the prelims. Kimbers will take lane one in a final that has two athletes from Cincinnati, Louisville and Pittsburgh. Kimbers also finds herself in the finals of the women's 200-meter dash as she easily won her heat with a time of 24.40 and will compete in lane four of the first heat in the two-section final.
Borduin automatically qualified for the women's 1,000-meter run by winning the first of two heats with a time of 2:58.28. In a heat that started out looking more like a 10,000-meter pace than a 1,000-meter pace, Borduin hung back in the pack until the pack began to sprint with 300 meters to go. Knowing that the pace was slow and the second heat would take cue; Borduin hit her stride in the final 160 meters and easily won the heat.
It's no surprise when you see the GU men's middle distance program competing well at the BIG EAST Championships. Three to don the blue and gray automatically qualified for Sunday's 1,000-meter run final with Dan Leyh (Stafford, Va./Colonial Forge) and Bobby Peavey (Virginia Beach, Va./Kellam) taking first (2:25.55) and second (2:25.78), respectively, in the first heat to automatically qualify and Billy Ledder taking first (2:26.49) in the second heat, also qualifying automatically.
Freshman Hansel Akers (Landisville, Pa./Hempfield) qualified for Sunday's final in the men's 400-meter dash as he ran a 48.64 (converted from a hand time) in the third heat, taking second place in his heat and running the sixth-fastest overall time. He will compete in lane four of the first heat in the two-section final.
In the duo's first BIG EAST Indoor Championships, Max Darrah (South Yarmouth, Mass./Dennis-Yarmouth Regional) and Dylan Sorensen (Zionsville, Ind./Zionsville) both qualified for the men's mile with times of 4:12.04 and 4:13.83, respectively.
Sean Suber (Mitchellville, Md./DeMatha) and Christian Tobias (Saint Louis, Mo./Mary Institute Country Day) both qualified for the men's 200-meter dash finals on Sunday with Suber timing in at 21.96 in the first heat and Tobias recording a 22.13 in the second heat.
Through five events scored, the Hoya women are in fourth place with 18 points behind Louisville (42), West Virginia (30) and Syracuse (22). The Hoya men are in seventh place with 10 points behind Louisville (43), Notre Dame (30), Connecticut (28), Villanova (25), Syracuse (20) and Providence (16).
The Hoyas will return to Stiles Field House on Sunday, February 20 for the final day of the 2011 BIG EAST Indoor Track & Field Championships.