June 11, 2014
EUGENE, Ore. - On a perfect day for racing with the sun out and not a cloud in sight, the Georgetown University track & field team took to historic Hayward Field for the 2014 NCAA Track & Field Championships, hosted by the University of Oregon. Three Hoyas competed in two events on the first day of the four-day event, continuing through Saturday, June 14. All-American Andrew Springer (Westerly, R.I./Westerly) matched his 2013 performance with a 13th-place finish in the men's 10,000-meter finals.
"There were a lot of great guys in that race," Springer explained. "It definitely makes it fun to go out there and see what you can do against some of the best guys but it makes it a much tougher race when they go out and run that hard the whole way."
Like many 10,000-meter races, the strategy was to get through the first half and then see what can happen in the second half. By four laps in, a quintet had separated themselves from the pack, establishing a fast pace to the race. Springer was in the middle of the chase pack and as it split to two, he was sure to keep himself in the lead chase pack. As the race went on, the field separated into pockets of four and Springer was good to pick people off when he needed to. He even ran on his own for part of the race.
The stacked field, featuring the likes of Oregon's freshman phenom Edward Cheserek and Oklahoma State's Shadrak Kipchirchir, put up impressive performances but as the pack thinned out, the top four runners lapped half the field by the end of the race.
"I was definitely prepared," Springer said regarding the way the race played out. "It's a 10K so it's the same plan of getting through the first half and seeing what you can do at the end. It's tough with the gaps to tell tactically where you're at ... I ran alone for a little while, which was tough, but you come in prepared for things like that."
Springer's time of 29:41.96 gave him 13th place overall, matching his 2013 performance at outdoor nationals and was also the third-best time from the schools hailing from the East Preliminary. Springer closed the final 400 meters with a split of 1:05.75, falling just shy of 12th place as BYU's Jason Witt edged him out by less than one second (29:40.98).
"It's a good thing to have your last race in college be at NCAAs," Springer continued. "I had a great time running for Georgetown. I owe a lot to Coach (Patrick) Henner - he has been here all five years. He's coached me every day and I owe a lot to him and my teammates."
In the women's 800-meter semifinals, All-Americans Andrea Keklak (Sudbury, Mass./Lincoln-Sudbury/Princeton) and Chelsea Cox (Manahawkin, N.J./Southern Regional) competed in heats one and three, respectively, in the three-heat event.
Keklak raced in what was the fastest of the three heats with the field going through the first 400 meters just shy of one minute. The pack, featuring indoor 800m champion Laura Roesler competing on her home track, was tight through the first 400 meters, but the pace of the first lap took its toll on some athletes in the field. Keklak stayed on the rail through the back straightaway but as competitors made moves on the outside, Keklak got pushed out the back and found herself behind most of the runners. The junior All-American made a strong push for seventh place, timing in at 2:07.72.
Cox, in her fourth-consecutive appearance in the 800-meter semis, lined up in lane seven of the third heat with the advantage of knowing how fast the first two heats went. As the field came together, Cox made her move toward the rail but getting stuck in the middle and quickly found herself in the back of the eight-person pack after just 200 meters. She was unable to make up the gap and finished eighth in her heat, clocking 2:16.69. Neither Keklak's nor Cox's time was enough to advance to Friday's final.
Cox ends her career on the Hilltop with eight All-America nods, including three first team, one second team and four honorable mention honors. Cox qualified for four-consecutive 800-meter semifinals at outdoor nationals and three times ran the 800-meter leg on GU's indoor distance medley relay team at the NCAA Championships. In 2012, Cox showcased her range when she was a member of the women's outdoor 4x400-meter relay team that made it to outdoor nationals. She ends her tenure as a five-time BIG EAST Champion, winning two individual titles and running on three championship relays.
Springer ends his Georgetown career with three All-America performances, including back-to-back appearances in the men's 10,000-meter finals earning second team honors in 2013 and 2014. Springer's third honor comes from the 2013 season when he doubled up in both the men's 10,000m and the 5,000m. He finishes as a four-time BIG EAST champion with three individual titles and one relay title.
Live coverage of the NCAA Track & Field Championships will be on ESPN3 on Thursday, June 12 and will switch to ESPNU on Friday and Saturday, June 13-14. All of the championships will be available through WatchESPN.
All-American Rachel Schneider will compete in the women's 1,500-meter semifinal on Thursday at 7:45 p.m. ET (4:45 p.m. PT) in the second of two heats
All-Americans Max Darrah and Dylan Sorensen compete in the men's 3,000-meter steeplechase on Thursday at 8:35 p.m. ET (5:35 p.m. PT) in the second of two heats
All-American Rachel Schneider has qualified for the finals site of the NCAA Outdoor Championships in the 1,500m in all four seasons of eligibility (2010, 2011, 2012, 2014)