Sept. 2, 2015
WASHINGTON - For the second-consecutive season, the Georgetown University women's cross country team has been tabbed No. 5 in the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) preseason poll. The men's team is ranked No. 16 in the preseason poll.
"We are certainly honored for both of our teams to be considered among the nation's best," Director of Track & Field Michael Smith said. "We remind our athletes and our team that a ranking is just that Ã¢â'¬" a ranking. We still have a lot of work to do and that is how we approach every practice."
With 304 points, the Hoya women trail 2015 NCAA runners-up Iowa State (335), New Mexico (327), 2015 NCAA Champion Michigan State (316) and Colorado (306) as the top five nationally.
"This is an exciting time for us," Smith continued. "With the graduation of some of the staples of our team for the last three years, it gives some of our athletes who have been learning over the last few years, the incredible opportunity to step up and be leaders on this team."
The women's team is the top squad from the BIG EAST Conference, leading a trio in the national poll as Providence comes in at No. 8 (283) and Villanova comes in at No. 24 (72).
Having won two of the last five women's regional championships, the Hoyas own the top spot in the Mid-Atlantic with West Virginia, Villanova, Penn State and Princeton rounding out the top five.
All-Americans Katrina Coogan (Exeter, N.H./Phillips Exeter Academy) and Madeline Chambers as well as Annamarie Maag (Lake Oswego, Ore./Jesuit Prep) all exhausted their cross country eligibility following the 2014 season, and were all a part of the 2011 NCAA Championship team. With that group moving on, it gives life to a new crop of Hoyas ready to take the reins.
Led by returning All-Americans Samantha Nadel (Glen Head, N.Y./North Shore) and Andrea Keklak (Sudbury, Mass./Lincoln-Sudbury/Princeton), the Hoyas are in good position to continue their previous success. Nadel turned in an All-America performance at the 2014 NCAA Cross Country Championships and followed up with a breakout indoor season, running PRs in all events ranging from the mile through the 5,000-meter run. She ended the season qualifying for the NCAA Championships with a meet record in the 3,000-meter run at the BIG EAST Championships.
Keklak, Haley Pierce (Wilmington, Del./Tatnall School) and Sarah Cotton (Madison, Conn./Daniel Hand) will be factors as experienced competitors at the national level. The Blue & Gray will look to the middle distance contingent to make a big impact with statement performances.
On the men's side, the Blue & Gray tallied 163 points to garner the No. 16 ranking. The Hoyas are among a trio of BIG EAST Conference institutions to rank in the top 30 as Villanova comes in at No. 7 (288) and Providence is ranked No. 25 (69).
"The men's side is looking really strong with a lot of proven experience on the squad," Smith said. "We have some veterans who have really learned how to run this distance at elite levels against great competition."
In the Mid-Atlantic region, the GU men trail only Villanova with Penn State, Princeton and Navy completing the top five.
Georgetown will rely on some familiar faces to lead the 2015 squad. Jonathan Green (Berlin, Mass./Saint John's), a junior champion in the 10,000-meter run, and All-American Darren Fahy (Carlsbad, Calif./La Costa Canyon), the top collegiate steepler in the finals of the 2015 USA Track & Field Championships, and Jonathan Murray (Shrewsbury, Mass./Shrewsbury) bring a wealth of elite-level experience and racing maturity to the squad.
"When you are trying to figure out what kind of cross country season you're going to have, the first place you look is the track season," Smith explained. "Proven success on the track translates to the cross country season, and both of these Hoya teams have a lot of talent and these athletes are excited to step up to the challenge."
The men's team will open the season on Saturday, Sept. 12 with the Navy Invitational in Annapolis, Md. The women open the season the same day at the JMU Invitational in Harrisonburg, Va.