By: Michael Weidenbruch
The Georgetown men will be entering this season with revenge on their mind. A program that was once one of the best in the nation hit a rough patch last fall. The Hoyas will be looking to reestablish themselves as contenders on the national level after not making it to NCAAs during the 2017 season.
Overall, Georgetown is a very solid team. Between their top-ranked recruits, experienced veterans, and impressive depth, it's hard not to like this group.
Last fall, the Hoyas were consistently ranked among our Top 25 teams, but a disappointing performance at the Mid-Atlantic regional meet ended their season earlier than expected. It has recently been confirmed that top scorer Jonathan Green has run out of eligibility and will not be on the roster this fall. The Hoyas have the pieces necessary to put together a great season, but they all need to show up on a given day to make this happen.
The DC-based squad was showing flashes of promise throughout the 2017 season, but there were clear flaws in their lineup. They finished 2nd at Paul Short, losing only to a deep Utah State team that was led by Dillon Maggard. Low-stick Jonathan Green led the team with a very strong 3rd place finish while the rest of the squad was scattered throughout the field placing 19th (Brown), 26th (Bloomer), 46th (Van Scoter), and 73rd (Bouthillette). It was far from the ideal race, but they still took down very respectable squads such as D2 powerhouse Adams State and Mid-Atlantic rivals Navy and Penn.
Unfortunately, the larger meets would not favor Georgetown. The Hoyas had an ugly race at Pre-Nats, finishing 14th in the team standings and losing to teams like Tennessee, Liberty, UNC-Charlotte, and Weber State. That shouldn't take away from the fact that those squads had great performances, but it proved that Georgetown needed to make some serious adjustments.
Despite Green's excellent 8th place finish, the rest of the squad would finish much further back. Brown was 85th followed by Bouthillette (112nd) and Bloomer (120th). Golebiowski rounded out the top five by finishing 133rd overall. Whatever was happening with Georgetown, they needed to resolve it.
Fast forward to the postseason, and the Hoyas had seemingly gathered their composure. They went into BIG East's and took care of business with relative ease. Green comfortably took the title while Bloomer had a huge performance, placing 4th overall. Freshman Nicholas Wareham was entered into the top lineup for the first time that season, a decision that payed off with a strong 7th place finish. Meanwhile, Jack Van Scoter and Nicholas Golebiowski kept the score from getting out of control with finishes of 12th and 16th, respectively.
Georgetown would walk away with the Big East title for the third straight year. While some may argue that the BIG East is a weaker conference, you can't discount the talent that we saw from Villanova and Butler last fall. Those two teams are not pushovers...
Just when the season was looking up, everything came crashing down. The Hoyas were favored to earn an automatic qualifying spot to Nationals at the Mid-Atlantic Regional Championships, but simply couldn't put it together on the big stage. As expected, Green took home the individual title while Wareham proved that he was more than just a one race wonder with his 17th place finish. The final scoring spots would go to Golebiowski, Bloomer, and Van Scoter who finished 28th, 35th, and 41st (in that order).
The Hoyas finished 4th in the team standings behind Princeton, Navy, and Penn. Georgetown's season was over.
Up until that race, Georgetown was one of the best teams in their region. They had an elite low-stick as well as young supporting scorers in Wareham and Bloomer. It just goes to show that the best team on paper isn’t always safe.
The loss of Jonathan Green, who placed 10th at NCAAs last fall, will likely be Georgetown’s biggest obstacle for the 2018 season. A low-stick like that is valuable in any race, especially when he's winning both the conference and regional titles.
Right now, it does not look like Georgetown will have somebody quite capable of pulling off feats of that nature. However, the collective depth, maturity, and new roster additions may be enough to put Georgetown back into the mix.
Nicholas Wareham and Reilly Bloomer have shown that they could potentially step into a team low-stick role if they make a big enough jump. They don't need to reach the same level of fitness that Green was at, but they need to be top 10 talents in the BIG East and Mid-Atlantic at the very least. For these two, that goal should be well within reach.
Juniors and seniors like Spencer Brown (23:58 8K), Jack Van Scoter (24:23 8K), and Matthew Bouthillette (24:34) have the ability to make some noise in the middle portion of their lineup. However, it's the recruits that will really make be the difference maker on this roster...
Back in June, we ranked Georgetown’s recruiting class as #10 in the NCAA. This stands out to me because while we have the team as a whole ranked 23rd, they have recruited at a potentially much higher level. This introduces a variable that could very much work in the Hoyas’ favor.
If their recruits such as Rusty Kujdych (15:01 5K), Price Owens (15:07 5K), and Quinn Nicholson (9:10 3200m) adapt well to the 8K/10K distances, they could be vying for a spot in Georgetown’s top seven. The Hoyas have also brought in a slew of mid-distance studs, but there is much less certainty as to how much impact they will have on the cross country course this fall.
Not only did Georgetown secure a top 10 recruiting class, but they also brought in some of the best transfers in the nation (other than Washington). Joining the team this fall will be Matt Mahoney, graduate student from Brown. Mahoney is not currently listed on Georgetown’s roster, so it is possible that this move has not come to fruition. If the 5th year from Brown is indeed headed to Washington, DC, he will be a valuable addition to the team.
Admittedly, Mahoney's cross country experience over the last two years is somewhat limited, but this is still the same guy who finished 4th at Beantown in 2016 and 8th at the same meet in 2017. He also owns a 14:19 5k PR. Mahoney’s experience will be beneficial to a squad that is looking to balance out the youth on their team.
Yet, maybe the biggest addition to the team will be Christian Liddell. The transfer from Oklahoma State is a huge improvement to a squad that is looking to make up for the loss of Jonathan Green. While Liddell isn't exactly at Green's level, he is still someone that could act as a legitimate low-stick for the Hoyas this fall. This is a guy who has qualified for the National Championships twice and owns a steeplechase PR of 8:54. He is yet another piece that makes Coach Bonsey's group even more interesting...
With the way things look now, Georgetown should be relatively confident that they have the pieces to repeat as the Big East champions. They should also be able to place well at the Mid-Atlantic Regional Championship, but too much confidence can cost a team. The Mid-Atlantic is not a particularly deep region, but they will have some tough competition. At their best, Georgetown has the ability to win the region, but if they don’t put together a good race as a team things could get dicey.
With that in mind, other Mid-Atlantic teams like Princeton and Navy are losing multiple senior scorers. It will likely take a few races for them to figure out what their dynamic is going to be in terms of who will make up their top seven. Still, I think it's fair to say that last year was an uncharacteristically bad season for Georgetown. This will certainly be a team to watch over the next couple months, as they have the potential to move up in our ranking if everything goes right for them.