Sept. 14, 2013
WASHINGTON - The Georgetown cross country program opened the 2013 season with the sixth-ranked women traveling to Hanover, N.H., winning the Dartmouth Invitational and the men, tabbed 24th nationally, staying closer to home and winning the Navy Invitational in Annapolis, Md. The men bested a field of nine teams with a score of 26 while the women were the top team in a field of five with 41 points.
"I think it was a really good race on the varsity side," Head Men's Distance Coach Brandon Bonsey. "Brian King worked really hard this summer and today it showed. It's a great start to the season for the men's team."
The men's team was led by Brian King (Sonoma, Calif./Cardinal Newman) who finished second overall with a time of 24:09.39 in the men's varsity race, an 8,000-meter race. Andrew Springer (Westerly, R.I./Westerly) followed shortly behind in third place with a time of 24:11.03 while Bobby Peavey (Virginia Beach, Va./Kellam), Austin Gregor (Chalfont, Pa./Central Bucks South) and Nick Rowe (Baltimore, Md./Calvert Hall College) placed sixth (24:45.86), seventh (24:47.16) and eighth (24:50.94), respectively. The Hoyas managed to place a sixth runner in the top 10 with Matt Howard finishing 10th with a time of 24:53.45.
The Hoyas and the host Midshipmen were the only schools to put runners in the top 10 with Navy placing runners in first, fourth, eighth and ninth place.
Standouts in the junior varsity race, a 3.2 mile run, were Ryan Gil (Pittsburgh, Pa./North Allegheny) and Ahmed Bile (Annandale, Va./Annandale).
Bonsey's approach to the 2013 opener was part of a much longer season plan. In a calculated move following the 2012 postseason, Bonsey strategized to prepare the team for situations out of their comfort zone and set a race plan for the men's varsity race to go out hard for the first mile as well as the last while the junior varsity race had the same plan for the first 1,000 and last 1,000 meters.
"What we are really trying to do is get this team ready for nationals," Bonsey explained. "They need to be prepared for hard races start to finish and they executed the race plan really well today."
The men finished first with 26 points followed by Navy (37), American (83), UMBC (91), Howard (183), George Washington (186), Loyola (Md.) (194), Catholic (241) and Bowie (252).
The Georgetown women made the trek to Hanover, N.H., for the Dartmouth Invitational, besting a field of five with 41 points followed by Syracuse (49), Dartmouth (59), Northwestern (102) and Brown (133).
The Blue & Gray's top finisher was Haley Pierce (Wilmington, Del./Tatnall School), in her first season of competition on the Hilltop. Pierce timed in at 21:04.69 over the 6,000-meter course. Pierce was the first of seven Hoyas to finish in the top 15. Rachel Paul (Farmingville, N.Y./Sachem East), another standout in her first year of competing in cross country, finished fifth with a time of 21:11.32 while Annamarie Maag (Lake Oswego, Ore./Jesuit) finished eighth with a time of 21:19.37. Maag, now a veteran, was one of the seven to compete and win the 2011 NCAA Cross Country Championship.
A quartet of Hoyas finished 12th-15th with Kelsey Smith (Exeter, N.H./Exeter) leading the way with a time of 21:28.96 (12th), followed by Joanna Stevens (Blacksburg, Va./Blacksburg) [21:30.34, 13th]; Bobbie Burgess (West Lafayette, Ind./West Lafayette) [21:30.91, 14th]; and Andrea Keklak (Sudbury, Mass./Lincoln-Sudbury/Princeton) [21:33.81, 15th].
The Hoyas will take the rest of September to train and return on Oct. 5 for the Paul Short Invitational in Bethlehem, Pa.