Though only one race into the 2012 season, both the men’s and women’s cross country teams appear to have found their strides.
Each squad submitted impressive performances this past weekend, with the men taking second place at the Harry Groves Spiked Shoe Invitational in State College, PA, and the women taking first in dominant fashion at the Dartmouth Cross Country Invitational in Hanover, NH.
Leading the way for the 14th-ranked Hoya men was senior Ben Furcht, whose time of 26:25 earned him sixth place. Furcht, however, didn’t have to wait long for his teammates to join him across the finish line; all six arrived within the next 23 seconds, maintaining the tight group for which they had planned prior to the race.
“Our plan was basically for the first four miles of the race to try to just stick together as a pack,” Furcht said. “Just having all your teammates around you, you really benefit from that, working together and filling each other’s energy… The last 1.2 miles we just wanted to get going and pass as many people as we could.”
And pass people they did. The Hoyas put three runners in the top 10 and six in the top 25, outdueled only by meet winners Princeton.
But, as Furcht pointed out, this race wasn’t about a result.
“The purpose of the race this weekend was just to get a race under our legs, we weren’t very worried with the outcome,” he said. “We just want to keep competing the best we can in the upcoming races.”
On the women’s side, senior Rachel Schneider’s third-place finish was tops among an impressive pack of seven Hoyas, all of whom finished in the top 10, easily winning the meet with the low score of 33 points.
The victory for the women is all the more impressive considering the distraction they faced the past couple weeks with the departure of Head Coach Chris Miltenberg, who was replaced by former Hoya track standout Michael Smith. Miltenberg led the women to a national championship last season.
“It’s been a tricky few weeks,” Schneider said. “Losing Coach Milt was really sad and really hard on the program, but its been amazing. Georgetown is always a program that overcomes adversity.”
“I mean it’s amazing if you look online, people are already doubting us, saying we can’t do it,” she said of the public outlook after the coaching switch. “We can definitely do it and I think we showed that this weekend.”
When asked about a possible repeat of last year’s NCAA title, Schneider said that it’s a dream in the back of every runner’s mind but right now, but there are other, more immediate goals to attend to first.
“We’ll take it race by race and focus on what we can do every day,” she said.
Both teams will be back in action on Sept. 28 in Bethlehem, Pa., for the Paul Short Invitational.