Feb. 22, 2014
NEW YORK - The crowd at the New Balance Track & Field Center at the Armory got quite the show today as the women's BIG EAST Indoor Track & Field Championships came down to the final two relays. The Hoya women lost by the narrowest of margins today, the final day of the 2014 conference championships. Both the men and women took second place behind Villanova with the women getting edged out by a mere 2.50 points. Over the two day meet at the historic Armory, Georgetown tallied five individual champions, two relay champions, two Georgetown records, two Georgetown relay carry records and one facility record.
"Overall, I'm very happy with both teams," Director of Track & Field and Cross Country Patrick Henner said. "Both teams outperformed our predictions. Obviously it's a little disappointing coming up a little shy of winning the women's title, but we competed very well. The performances were off the charts. I'm really proud of the women, and of course, the men too.
"We're just going to have to learn how to build a team for this new BIG EAST. The events play out differently now. We need to figure out how to put together a team where we can be one of the best in the country and still be a big great BIG EAST team too."
In the men's 800-meter finals, Ahmed Bile (Annandale, Va./Annandale) had a race plan that called for tucking right behind a teammate who wanted to lead and comfortably wait to make his move late. However, as is often the case, those plans did not pan out the way he wanted. He found himself further back, teetering between fourth and fifth to start the race.
"I was behind three or four guys early," Bile explained. "I got to two laps to go and my teammate Cole was out so far ahead of me that I had to step out to lane two and just make a big move to get behind him. The last 200 meters felt so good that I just took off for the rest of the race."
Bile had a lot of ground to make up and a lot of bodies to pass in just four laps around the track. Bile knew that whatever move he made had to be big so he moved to the outside and his lengthy stride helped him make up plenty of ground on the straightaways as he pushed past the field and took the lead over the back straightaway. He timed in at 1:50.85, leading a total of four Hoyas to score in the event with Zach Zingsheim (Lansing, Mich./Lansing Catholic) taking third (1:52.46), Cole Williams (San Francisco, Calif./Occidental College) finishing fourth (1:52.84) and Andrew Ogle (Powell, Tenn./Powell) placing sixth (1:56.10).
Bile would go on to anchor the championship men's 4x800-meter relay that won with a commanding time of 7:33.33. Bile easily won the event as his three teammates set him up. Ryan Manahan (Marcellus, N.Y./Marcellus) led off for the Hoyas and through the first exchange, kept the Hoyas in the top three with familiar competition in Villanova and Providence, the trio making up some of the best middle distance / distance programs in the country. Amos Bartelsmeyer (St. Louis, Mo./Saint Louis Country Day) took over the second leg and made a move on the lead early in his frame. Williams took the baton for the third leg, extending the lead for Bile to coast to a win.
Most runners will say that they want to spend most of the race tucked behind someone before making their move with a final kick at the end of the race. Sabrina Southerland (New York, N.Y./Benjamin N. Cardozo), running in her first year on the Hilltop but certainly no stranger to the Armory, took a different approach today in the women's 800-meter run. Running on her home track, Southerland was one of nine finalists and had three teammates on the line with her as well as familiar foes from the `Cats roster. Southerland went out front in the race that takes the runners around the track four times and she never gave up her lead. With VU's Nicky Akande on her shoulder followed closely by fellow Wildcat Kelsey Margey, Southerland had to keep the pack at bay. On the bell lap, Southerland extended her lead and created a gap that proved too much for anyone to overcome as the freshman set a meet record with a time of 2:04.85 in her first showing at the BIG EAST Indoor Championships. She bests the previous record of 2:05.47, set in 2012 by Cincinnati's Kathy Klump.
"It felt really good to be home," Southerland explained. "All the support I had from my friends and family here - plus all the support from my teammates and coaches ... I could not imagine setting the [meet] record anywhere else. This is my home track so I'm happy I did it here."
Following behind Southerland in the 800 were Shanique Dasilva (Brooklyn, N.Y./Bishop Ford) in fourth (2:09.08), Becca DeLoache (Charlotte, N.C./Myers Park) in fifth (2:09.94) and Kristen Walsh (Stony Point, N.Y./North Rockland) in eighth (2:11.99), all recording points for the Hoyas.
All-American Amanda Kimbers (Baltimore, Md./McDonogh) has long waited for her chance to stand atop the podium at a BIG EAST Championship in an individual event. No stranger to success, she has many accolades to her name including a trip to the 2012 Olympic Trials and she was a member of the 2011 Penn Relays Championship of America DMR. However, the BIG EAST individual title was the ever elusive honor that Kimbers was eager to put on her resume. Lining up in lane five of her four-person heat in the women's 200-meter finals was her final chance at an indoor meet in this, her final year of indoor eligibility.
"The last four years, there has always been great competition," Kimbers explained. "While I kept getting second, it just made me stronger and more experienced. I was patient and this is the way I wanted to win it. Especially after being hurt last year, to be able to come back and start over - I think this was a really special win. I knew we were really after points this year and I truly wanted to get the 10 [points] for my team."
Kimbers prefers to have someone in front of her when she lines up - seeing St. John's Rikka Lovely in lane six was exactly what she wanted. A great start out of the blocks ensured the victory for Kimbers with a time of 23.78, who breaks her own record in the indoor 200. The previous record of 23.89 was set in 2011 at Notre Dame. Running in heat one, Deseree King (Oxon Hill, Md./Oxon Hill) ran 24.46 to finish fifth overall, a personal record for King and a time that ranks sixth all-time on the Georgetown list.
King also happened to be the first woman to win an individual event for the Hoyas today as she seemingly coasted through the finish line of her heat in the women's 400-meter dash. King came out strong from her spot in lane three, with three others on the track in her heat - the faster of the two. King started to close on the back stretch of her first lap and established a decisive lead on the home stretch at the bell before opening up her lead over the final 200 meters. She clocked 54.82 to win the individual conference title, a time that moves King up to eighth on the all-time Georgetown list.
"I knew coming here wasn't about me," King said following her race. "It was about the team and getting as many points as possible to try to go for the team title. On the line, I kept reminding myself `this is not for you, you're not running this for you, you're running this for your team.' And that's what gave me the motivation. Just hearing my teammates cheer me on around the track just gave me the extra push to go and win it."
Earlier in the day, Kimbers lined up for the women's 60-meter dash with the best trials time. In lane five of the nine finalists, it came down to Kimbers and Lovely of St. John's. Lovely needed a season-best performance of 7.48 to defeat Kimbers, who took second with a time of 7.55.
The Georgetown men benefited greatly from strong performances from its jumpers, Eghosa Aghayere (Henrietta, N.Y./Rush Henrietta Sperry), Richard D'Ambrosio (Collegeville, Pa./Malvern Prep) and Kenneth Armstrong. Aghayere won the BIG EAST triple jump title with a mark of 15.09m while D'Ambrosio followed up with a third-place mark of 13.46m. Armstrong finished sixth (12.98m). In the long jump, D'Ambrosio and Armstrong turned in respective marks of 6.82m (fourth) and 6.51m (seventh).
The women's mile saw a limited field of seven athletes competing with a clear front four established after a half mile. A surprise to no one, the four leaders were split between Georgetown and Villanova with Andrea Keklak (Sudsbury, Mass./Lincoln-Sudsbury/Princeton) and Rachel Paul (Farmingville, N.Y./Sachem East) battling for the top spots against VU's Angel Piccirillo and Stephanie Schappert. With just 400 meters to go, the sprint was on and Piccirillo did an impressive job kicking faster than the remaining three. Coming off the final turn, Schappert looked to move on the outside but Keklak managed the final straightaway incredibly well and wouldn't let Schappert past, edging her out for second place with a time of 5:02.19, just one-hundredth of a second faster. Paul finished fourth with a time of 5:05.79.
The first event on the track for the Hoyas this evening was the men's mile. The finals featured four Hoyas with three scoring points. Manahan for much of the race and held off much of the field attempting to make moves on the outside. However, with 400 meters left, Villanova's Jordin Williamsz started to float toward the outside and made his move going in to the back stretch. Manahan held on to second for as long as he could but the final turn proved too much as he slipped out of second. Moving up in the pack was Bobby Peavey (Virginia Beach, Va./Kellam) who finished third with a time of 4:10.69 while Manahan clocked 4:11.07 for fifth place. Ryan Gil (Pittsburgh, Pa./North Allegheny) finished eighth with a time of 4:12.10 and Matt Howard (Blacksburg, Va./Blacksburg) finished 10th with a time of 4:15.32.
The Hoya women racked up a number of points in the 1,000-meter run as they went 2/3/4. After the staggered start with the outer group cutting back in, All-American Katrina Coogan (Exeter, N.H./Phillips Exeter Academy) took the lead with Villanova's Emily Lipari sitting right behind in second followed by Hannah Neczypor (North Royalton, Ohio/North Royalton). It was a familiar feeling on the track as Lipari has won this event the last two years. Coogan held the lead through the remainder of the race until Lipari made a move over the last 50 meters to take the individual title while Coogan led a trio of Hoyas, taking second place (2:44.36) while Neczypor and Heather Martin (Manlius, N.Y./Fayetteville-Manlius) finished third (2:48.17) and fourth (2:49.74), respectively.
In the men's 1,000-meter run, Bartelsmeyer made a nice move on the bell lap to overtake the lead from teammate Billy Ledder (Washington, D.C./Gonzaga) on the first turn but Villanova's Josh Lampron kicked going into the back straight, a lead he would not relinquish. Bartelsmeyer and VU's Dusty Solis recorded matching times of 2:23.48 to both take second place. Ledder finished fourth with a time of 2:24.19 while Michael Reher (San Francisco, Calif./St. Ignatius College Prep) finished ninth with a time of 2:33.07.
The women's 500-meter dash put two Hoyas in the faster second heat. Emma Keenan (Gwynedd Valley, Pa./Gwynedd-Mercy Academy) would take second in event with a time of 1:13.14 while All-American Chelsea Cox (Manahawkin, N.J./Southern Regional) finished third (1:14.42).
In the women's 4x400-meter relay, Mirabel Nkenke (Orange, N.J./Immaculate Conception) joined Kimbers, Cox and King, lining up for the second heat. Cox's excellent third leg put King right back in it for the anchor. Against some tough competition in the women's 4x400-meter relay in St. John's anchor leg, King made a strong effort on the back straightaway trying to pass on the outside. King was right on Mooney's shoulder but could not take the turn in the lead and tightened up over the final 15 meters with the foursome finishing second (3:41.98) behind St. John's (3:41.33).
Preceding the 4x400, Georgetown finished second in what would be a controversial 4x800-meter relay. The women finished second behind Villanova in a race where the third leg mistakenly ran 600 meters rather than 800. While times cannot count, overall finishes did count for points. The foursome of Neczypor, Southerland, Keenan and Keklak was the Hoya lineup and went out strong, vying for critical points against Villanova. Southerland ran a smart 800, kicking over the final 200 to hand the baton to Keenan with a solid lead. Though VU's Nicky Akande made up significant ground on the Hoyas, the third leg was cut short and Keenan handed off to Keklak without what could have been a telling final lap. Keklak found herself in a spot that no one in the country wants to be in - competing against Villanova's Lipari on an anchor leg. Over the last 50 meters, Lipari made her move and Villanova bested the Hoyas with a time of 7:57.01 to Georgetown's 7:57.44.
The men's team relied on the men's 60-meter dash for 17 points as the Hoyas went 2/3/6 with Devante Washington (Lafayette, La./Lafayette) taking second with a time of 6.97. The best time went to DePaul's Xavier Jones (6.91). Tyler Smith (Jeffersonville, Pa./Norristown) finished third (7.01) while Mike Andre (Ocean, N.J./Ocean Township) took sixth with a time of 7.06. Washington then competed in the men's 400-meter dash and again found himself on the podium as he finished third in the event, taking second in his heat with a time of 48.50. As he was triple entered today, Washington competed in the second heat of the men's 200 finals later in the day. Despite a hamstring that seemed to tighten over the final 15 meters, Washington ran 22.11 in the finals to finish fourth while Andre picked up additional points for the Hoyas with a fifth-place performance of 22.18.
Taylor Doaty (Pittsburgh, Pa./Oakland Catholic) found herself on the podium for the Hoyas today as she timed in at 9.04 in the women's 60-meter hurdles, topped only by VU's Emerald Walden, the only one to record a sub-9 time.
The women's 3,000-meter run, much like last night's 5,000 saw a trio of runners go out front with a battle for the remaining field for fourth place. Georgetown's pack mentality from the cross country season resonated as Coogan, Joanna Stevens (Blacksburg, Va./Blacksburg) and Paul went 4/5/6 with respective times of 9:35.00, 9:37.76 and 9:37.86.
Collin Leibold (Falls Church, Va./Gonzaga) had a breakthrough meet this weekend, doubling in the 5,000 and 3,000-meter runs. Leibold was a runner-up last night and today just missed out on the podium taking fourth place in the 3,000m with a time of 8:14.04. Also scoring for the Hoyas was Darren Fahy (Carlsbad, Calif./La Costa Canyon) in eighth place (8:20.23).
The men's 500-meter dash saw three Hoyas score points with Nathaniel Gordon (Spartanburg, S.C./Spartanburg) taking fourth place (1:04.58) followed by Hansel Akers (Lancaster, Pa./Hempfield) in sixth (1:04.76) and Daniel Anderson (Ozark, Mo./Ozark) finishing eighth (1:06.31).
Akers, Andre, Gordon and Ledder teamed up for the men's 4x400-meter relay and finished second with a time of 3:16.14.
On the women's side, Villanova led the field of eight with 159.50 points followed by Georgetown (157), Marquette (114), St. John's (100), DePaul (90), Providence (64), Butler (45) and Xavier (28.50).
Villanova led the men's field of seven with 200.50 points followed by Georgetown (168), DePaul (128), Marquette (121), Providence (58), Butler (39) and Xavier (34.50).
The Hoyas will look to the ECAC and IC4A Championships and a last chance weekend before the NCAA Championships.