Georgetown alumna Rachel Schneider made the U.S. Olympic team Monday after finishing third in the 5,000 meters at the U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials. Chantilly alumnus Sean McGorty, who has the Olympic standard in the 3,000 meter steeplechase, had to stop to twice try to put his shoe back on Monday during the first of two preliminary heats. He caught back up to finish ninth and advanced on time.
Local results and upcoming races
800 meter first round
14 Joe White (Georgetown alumnus) 1:48.57
22 Vincent Crisp (District Track Club) 1:49.36
29 Matthew Payamps (Georgetown) 1:52.83
10,000 meter final
12 Robert Brandt (Georgetown) 28:09.92
3,000 meter steeplechase first round
13 Katy Kunc (Lake Braddock alumna) 9:37.85 (races final June 24, 11:47 p.m.)
3,000 meter steeplechase first round
9 Sean McGorty (Chantilly alumnus) 8:25.95 (races final June 25, 7:42 p.m.)
10 Fitsum Seyoum (Tuscarora alumnus) 8:28.72
15 Derek Johnson (Tuscarora alumnus) 8:32.97
5,000 meter final
3 Rachel Schneider (Georgetown alumna) 15:29.56
8 Josette Norris (Georgetown alumna) 15:48.70
1,500 meter first round June 24, 9:04 p.m.
Jack Salisbury (Georgetown)
800 meter first round June 24, 7 p.m.
Sabrina Southerland (former Georgetown runner)
Juliette Whittaker (Laurel resident)
Julia Rizk (District Track Club)
Michelle Howell (District Track Club)
5,000 meter first round June 24, 10:04 p.m.
Robert Brandt (Georgetown)
10,000 meter final June 26, 6:44 p.m.
Emily Infeld (Georgetown alumna)
Rachel Schneider (Georgetown alumna)
Katrina Coogan (Georgetown alumna)
The family she babysat for didn’t need her. The cost of living, with no job, in Westchester, N.Y. was crushing. Her team’s funding was gone. So Katy Kunc came home.
With the pandemic squeezing her out of everything else, she ran the same roads and trails where she discovered her talent for running while at Lake Braddock.
“I started running more than I ever had before,” she said. “I figured I might as well take some kind of risk to get better.”
The 12 weeks of at least 80 miles added up to a whole new level of fitness that Kunc hadn’t reached in two years running for the New Jersey New York Track Club after graduating from the University of Kentucky, and she will be racing the finals of the Olympic Trials in the 3,000 meter steeplechase Thursday at 11:47 eastern. She qualfied for the finals with a 9:37.85 finish, a PR, in the first round.
Robert Brandt was eyeing graduate school programs in real estate development because he likes being a part of building something.
He already has some experience doing it with the latest Georgetown track team, accounting for two of the men’s team’s four All-American finishes last week in Eugene, Ore. Brandt finished fourth in the 10,000 meters and fifth in the 5,000, while junior Jack Salisbury finished sixth in the 1,500 meters (3:40.06) and freshman Parker Stokes finished eighth in the 3,000 meter steeplechase (8:33.44). Sophomore Sami Corman was an honorable mention for the women’s team, and among local natives, Diego Zarate (Virginia Tech) from Northwest High School, was seventh in the 1,500, Tuscaorara’s Derek Johnson (Virginia) was seventh in the steeplechase and Robinson’s Lauren Berman (Virginia Tech) was 11th in the 1500.
Fitsum Seyoum didn’t last long during freshman tryouts for the Tuscarora track team.
“Most of track season is pretty warm, but tryouts were early in the year, so it was pretty cold and wet,” former Tuscarora coach Troy Harry said. “He didn’t stick with it.”
Fortunately, Seyoum came back the next year and went on to Virginia Tech, where his mastery of the 3,000 meter steeplechase has led him to two Atlantic Coast Conference titles and his second straight trip to the semifinals of the NCAA Championships. What does he like about the event?
“Those water jumps shock your body each lap, that cold water really wakes you up,” he said.
This year, he’s going to be joined in the semifinals by former Husky teammate Derek Johnson, who was two years behind him in high school and now running for the University of Virginia. They led their heat during the NCAA quarterfinals. Seyoum has the U.S. Olympic Trials qualifier and Johnson needs to cut four more seconds to make it to the Trials. Georgetown’s Parker Stokes and George Mason’s Annabelle Eastman have also moved onto the NCAA steeplechase semifinals. Post-collegiately, Chantilly alumnus Sean McGorty and Lake Braddock alumna Katy Kunc have the Olympic Trials qualifiers for the steeplechase and McGorty has the Olympic standard.
Taylor Knibb had already gone an entire year without competing in a triathlon, so what was a few more months?
Possibly the difference between making the U.S. Olympic Team and staying home.
For the first time since she was 11 years old, growing up in Washington, D.C., Knibb had a year off, with the competitions she had planned following her graduation from Cornell University all scuttled because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In that year, she settled into her life as a professional in Boulder and toward the World Triathlon Championship Series race in Yokohama, Japan May 15. Winning that race made her the youngest U.S. Olympic triathlete in history at 23.
Georgetown alumnus Jon Green, who coaches Olympic Marathon Trials runner-up Molly Seidel, tells the story of how he got into this situation.
Alex Taylor crossed the finish line of the 2018 California International Marathon just a few seconds too late.
Finishing with a gun time of 2:19:12, he missed an Olympic Team Trials marathon qualifying time by 12 seconds.
“I think I was the first one to finish and not qualify,” he said with a laugh.
While it was disappointing at the time, Taylor, a Woodbridge native, now sees that race in a different light.
Last June, he finished Grandma’s Marathon in Duluth, Minn. with a gun time of 2:17:08, clinching that OTQ and achieving a goal that was a decade in the making.
Cross country at the Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology wasn’t a glamorous sport, but Jonathan Phillips didn’t care.
“Basically it’s a bunch of nerds doing the nerdiest sport,” he said. “I loved it, that’s what kept me on the team.”
His journey to 40th place at the 2020 Olympic Marathon Trials started in places like Mason District Park, where the Colonials would perform their team rituals, which are best left vague for the uninitiated, or shirtless snowball fights on cold days.
“There was a team culture that really drew me in,” Phillips said. “We were pretty good at running, and it was a sport that takes focus.
“When I started running, there were a bunch of guys in the next grade and they really reached out to welcome us. A lot of those guys came down to Atlanta for the Trials.”
After three eight-mile loops of downtown Atlanta, Nick Golebiowski was approaching the end of the Olympic Marathon Trials feeling no worse for the wear. Sure, the hills were rough and he was well off of his PR, but the race experience had been pretty good. And then…
“Wow, those last couple of miles were brutal,” he said. “A few wind gusts pushed me sideways.”
Like the end of a horror movie, everyone thought the monster was dead, but it came back at the end for every protagonist in the race. Golebiowski’s overall effort started to catch up to him on the two-mile epilogue loop when conditions got their worst.
“My arms and shoulders were getting tingly,” he said. “I’ve never been in a place like that.”
Golebiowski finished 81st in 2:22:47, the first of three finishers who live in the D.C. area. Two former local high school runners, Jonny Phillips (40th in 2:17:51) and Chase Weaverling (64th in 2:20:58), were the top finishers with ties to the region.
Three runners with D.C. area ties finished in the top 20 of the Olympic Marathon Trials on a brutally hilly and windy course in Atlanta.
Georgetown alumna Kate Landau was 14th in 2:34:07, passing Oakton and American alumna Keira D’Amato in the last few miles. D’Amato, formerly Carlstrom, was 15th in 2:34:24. Aliphine Tuliamuk won the race in 2:27:23.
Bethany Sachtleben, who hit RunWashington’s #TrialsFever triple crown by growing up in Manassas, running at George Mason University and living in Fairfax, overcame a mid-race interruption to finish 18th in 2:36:34.
When she hit mile 11, digestive ills forced her to find a bathroom, and fast.
“It definitely wasn’t something I could keep running with,” she said. “I was in the bathroom for maybe 30 seconds at most, but the pack was gone by then. What else are you going to do in that situation…”