May 9, 2014
VILLANOVA, Pa. - The Georgetown University track & field team left campus this morning and took the nearly three-hour bus ride up I-95 to arrive in Villanova, Pa., for the 2014 BIG EAST Outdoor Track & Field Championships. The Hoyas will compete in the two-day championship scheduled for Saturday, May 10 and Sunday, May 11 at the Jumbo Elliott Track at Villanova Stadium.
The Hoyas will look to a roster that is deep with seasoned talent as they enter the championship portion of the season. Both the men's and women's teams will look to score a lot of the points in classic Georgetown events such as the middle distance 800- and 1,500-meter runs, but the talent from top to bottom puts the Hoyas in good position to score well from the 100-meter dash through the 10,000-meter run.
The women's 1,500-meter run will be just a final event with no preliminary. The 14-person field features five members of the Blue & Gray including All-American Rachel Schneider (Dover, N.H./St. Thomas Aquinas), who owns the top time in the BIG EAST Conference coming in to the championship. Breakout performer of the season, All-American Andrea Keklak (Sudbury, Mass./Lincoln-Sudbury/Princeton), will also be in the mix and one to look out for as she has shown a fierce competitive spirit throughout the year.
All-American Amanda Kimbers (Baltimore, Md./McDonogh), who won her first BIG EAST individual title during the 2014 indoor season, is doubling up this year with the women's 100- and 200-meter dashes. She has run the fastest times in the conference in both events leading up to the two-day meet.
The women's 400-meter hurdles features All-American Deseree King (Oxon Hill, Md./Oxon Hill), who comes in to the meet with the second-fastest time in the league. The senior, who is defending her 2013 title, looks to add another piece of hardware to the mantle in her last outdoor conference championship.
Taylor Doaty (Pittsburgh, Pa./Oakland Catholic) and Diana Sainvil (Harksdale, N.Y./Woodlands) come in to the championships with the third- and fourth-fastest 100-meter hurdle times in the league. Competing in separate heats in the prelim, both will look to not only make the championship but score significant points for the Blue & Gray.
Georgetown will rely on sheer numbers in the women's 800-meter run with five Hoyas competing in the three-heat prelim. GU will look to stack the final with as many Hoyas as possible including 2013 champion - All-American Chelsea Cox (Manahawkin, N.J./Southern Regional).
The distance events will see familiar veterans Kirsten Kasper (Andover, Mass./North Andover) and Joanna Stevens (Blacksburg, Va./Blacksburg) paired with younger competitors such as Haley Pierce (Wilmington, Del./Tatnall School) and Samantha Nadel (Glen Head, N.Y./North Shore) to make significant strides in the women's 5,000- and 10,000-meter runs.
Two-sport athlete Faith Woodard (Brandon, Fla./Freedom), competing in her first track conference championship, comes in to the women's high jump with the third-fastest time.
The men's team, dubbed "Steeple U", will look to the men's steeplechase finals on Saturday night to pick up a lot of points. Of the 11 entrants, four Hoyas are featured and subsequently own the top four times in the conference with Darren Fahy (Carlsbad, Calif./La Costa Canyon) running the fastest time in the conference to date followed by Matt Howard (Blacksburg, Va./Blacksburg), All-American Dylan Sorensen (Zionsville, Ind./Zionsville) and All-American Max Darrah (South Yarmouth, Mass./Dennis Yarmouth Regional).
Reigning 5,000- and 10,000-meter champion All-American Andrew Springer (Westerly, R.I./Westerly), will look to defend his titles in both events this weekend as the Hoyas put together solid lineups in the distance events, featuring the likes of Brian King (Sonoma, Calif./Cardinal Newman) as well as Fahy and Sorensen in the 5,000m, in an effort to pile on the points.
The men's 800-meter run field is a three-heat prelim that boasts five Hoyas in the 24-person field. Georgetown's Billy Ledder (Washington, D.C./Gonzaga), an All-American, comes in to the meet with the fastest time in the conference while All-Americans Ahmed Bile (Annandale, Va./Annandale) and Cole Williams (San Francisco, Calif./Occidental College) have the fifth- and eighth-fastest times, respectively.
Hansel Akers (Landisville, Pa./Hempfield) is competing in his final BIG EAST Championships and is having his best season to date. The senior will compete in the 400-meter hurdles, a finals event with no prelim rounds, and is the runner to beat as he has recorded the fastest time in the conference to date.
The sprinters will rely on Tyler Smith (Jeffersonville, Pa./Norristown), who is close to home for the second time in three weeks, and Mike Andre (Ocean, N.J./Ocean Township) in the 100- and 200-meter dashes. The duo both come in to the championship weekend with top-eight times in the two events.
Eghosa Aghayere (Henrietta, N.Y./Rush Henrietta Sperry) has the best mark in the league in the men's triple jump and will look to make a podium appearance. The senior is also entered in the men's long jump along with teammates Richard D'Ambrosio (Collegeville, Pa./Malvern Prep) and Kenneth Armstrong (San Dimas, Calif./Damien) who enter the event with the sixth- and seventh-best marks in the league.
Georgetown will look to sheer numbers again in the finals of the 1,500-meter run. With no preliminary rounds, the five Hoyas in the 15-team field will have the opportunity to make it a fast final on fresh legs.