Georgetown Men and Women Take Third in COA 4x800m at Penn Relays

Billy Ledder

April 26, 2014

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PHILADELPHIA - The Georgetown University track & field team put up strong performances on Saturday, the final day of the 120th Running of the Penn Relays Carnival in front of a crowd of 49,103 at historic Franklin Field in Philadelphia, Pa. With the exception of one quick bout of rain, the skies were bright above the track as the temperature hit 70 degrees.

The lone field event of the three-day event for the Hoyas was Eghosa Aghayere (Henrietta, N.Y./Henrietta-Sperry) in the college section of the men's triple jump. Competing in his final Penn Relays representing the Blue & Gray, Aghayere jumped 15.25m, good enough for second place behind Jelani Bogle of UWI Mona of Kingston, Jamaica.

The Championship of America (COA) Women's 4x800-Meter Relay featured a foursome that boasted experience and fresh, young talent at the same time. This combination of youth and know-how solidified a third-place showing in the final of the women's distance relays with a time of 8:31.03. Just as the competitors got on the track, the skies opened up with heavy showers, drenching the competitors. Just as quickly as the rain started, the precipitation would cease and the sun would return just as race ended.

All-American Rachel Schneider (Dover, N.H./St. Thomas Aquinas), with much experience under her belt in her final year of eligibility, led off for the Hoyas. Schneider went out and took the lead early, a brave effort in a stacked field. Through 600 meters, Scneider held the lead but a good kick from the pack during the final turn and up the straight pushed Schneider back to fourth at the handoff with All-American Sabrina Southerland (New York, N.Y./Benjamin N. Cardozo) taking over the baton.

Southerland, running the fifth-fastest 800m split in GU history just two days prior, did the best she could with her position as the group had thinned out leaving the Hoyas in the lead pack. Southerland picked off a runner on the back straight and closed to second place on the final turn, splitting 2:06.09, before handing off to Becca DeLoache (Charlotte, N.C./Myers Park). DeLoache made a race of it trying to close on Villanova's Nicky Akande. DeLoache went out strong, making up as much ground as she could but her brave efforts would prove costly at the end of her leg as the Hoyas slipped into a battle for third place with Tennessee while Villanova and Oregon had separated to a race for first place.

All-American Andrea Keklak (Sudburgy, Mass./Lincoln-Sudbury/Princeton), who had a breakout indoor season in the 800 meters, took over the anchor leg. With the `Cats and Ducks seemingly out of reach over the final 800 meters, Keklak was sure to manage the race she could, out kicking Tennessee's Amirah Johnson, besting the Vols by over one second on the anchor split. Villanova took the title, and subsequently all three distance relays, with a time of 8:21.49 as Oregon finished second (8:22.54) followed by the Hoyas (8:31.03) and the Vols (8:35.22).

Immediately following that race the COA Men's 4x800-Meter Relay started with the Blue & Gray putting together its most competitive foursome on the men's side of the weekend. All-American Ryan Manahan (Marcellus, N.Y./Marcellus) led off for the Hoyas. Manahan was patient during his race and waited to the final turn to make his move and solidify a spot for GU in the lead pack and passed the baton in second place, splitting 1:51.42 and trailing Wake Forest. All-American Billy Ledder (Washington, D.C./Gonzaga) ran the second leg and looked eager to make a move, consistently running on the shoulder of Wake's Thomas Bojanowski. As the field made their position moves for the exchange, Ledder was on the inside and had slipped to third as All-American Amos Bartelsmeyer (St. Louis, Mo./Saint Louis Country Day School) took the baton.

Bartelsmeyer had the best split of the day for the Hoyas as he ran 1:48.59 and moved into second place on the back straightaway of his second lap. Bartelsmeyer handed off to All-American Ahmed Bile (Annandale, Va./Annandale). Villanova's Sam Ellison was out in front by enough that it seemed to be a race for second place between the Hoyas and Penn State. PSU's Brannon Kidder was able to push past Bile and despite Bile's best efforts on the final straightaway, he fell just shy of catching Kidder as Georgetown timed in at 7:19.27 for third place. Bile split 1:48.60, just one hundredth of a second slower than Bartelsmeyer with both splits ranking among the top 25 all-time in GU's men's 800m carry times.

All-American Katrina Coogan (Exeter, N.H./Phillips Exeter Academy) who is competing unattached this season ran in the Olympic Development Women's Mile Run today. The field boasted talent like Nike's Chanelle Price, no stranger to winning at Franklin Field, New Jersey New York Track Club's Stephanie Charnigo as well as adidas' Amela Terzic and New Balance's Melissa Salerno.

Coogan kept with the stacked field as she comfortably ran against the rail through the first 800 meters. The third lap was when the professional field started to take position with Price moving to the front as Coogan slipped to sixth. The bell lap would see everyone with a strong kick and Coogan finish sixth overall and the second-fastest time from a runner still in college with Texas' Marielle Hall narrowly edging out Coogan at the finish.

The junior set a school record in the women's outdoor mile with a time of 4:35.42, besting former Hoya All-American Emily Infeld's time of 4:38.01, a record that was set at the 2010 Penn Relays when Infeld was also running unattached.

The first event on the track for the Hoyas was the Championship of America Men's 4xMile. Darren Fahy (Carlsbad, Calif./La Costa Canyon) led off for the Blue & Gray in a race that went out relatively slow with no one breaking open a lead. Fahy split 4:11.6, staying tight with a pack that featured Villanova (4:11.0), Stanford (4:11.2) and Oregon (4:11.4).  It was the second leg that saw the race break open as Oregon's Edward Cheserek split 3:56.4 and started to thin out the pack as the field was on the chase. All-American Andrew Springer (Westerly, R.I./Westerly) was in charge of the second leg, handing off to Collin Leibold (Falls Church, Va./Gonzaga) for the third stanza. With the pack thinned out and running essentially in a line, Leibold split 4:04.3, the fastest split for the Hoyas today with Bobby Peavey (Virginia Beach, Va./Kellam) taking over the anchor leg. The Hoyas finished seventh overall in the stacked field with a time of 16:26.76.

The last event on the track for the Hoyas was the ECAC Women's 4x400-Meter Final, featuring the eight-fastest ECAC schools (outside of the COA) from Thursday's heats. Georgetown lined up in lane five with All-American Chelsea Cox (Manahawkin, N.J./Southern Regional) leading off for the Blue & Gray. With a split of 55.3 from Cox and 54.1 from All-American Amanda Kimbers (Baltimore, Md./McDonogh), Georgetown found itself in the unfamiliar territory of chasing the pack from behind. Mirabel Nkenke (Orange, N.J./Immaculate Conception) was on the third leg for the Hoyas, splitting 55.7, with All-American Deseree King (Oxon Hill, Md./Oxon Hill) on the anchor. As with any anchor, there was no longer strategy or position to worry about; King went out to get the fastest 400 split she could deliver and came up with a carry time of 53.1, a personal best for the senior and a mark that ties the 13th-fastest time in GU history in the 400m relay carry.

The foursome finished seventh overall on the race with a time of 3:39.32.

The Hoyas return to action on Sunday, May 4 at the Peyton Jordan Invitational in Palo Alto, Calif.



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