Senior women's cross-country runner Megan Hogan was named Atlantic 10 Cross-Country Student-Athlete of the Year for the second time in a row Tuesday, but it's not exactly time to celebrate.
She's got another race this weekend, the NCAA Mid-Atlantic Regional Championship, but the 22-year-old has her sights set even higher than that.
"We've been working the past few months and now it's time to decrease mileage and get rested up for these races. Regionals is more of a step to nationals, less than a huge race," Hogan said. "It's more of our region, mid-Atlantic; it's really great competition. [We can] see what they're doing, see where they're at and how I play up against them."
Hogan is confident, and she has reason to be. In 2008, she became the first GW runner to make it to the NCAA National Championship race. Last year, she made her second straight trip to the national championship, where she finished 27th out of 255 runners, and was the first-ever GW runner to be honored as an All-American.
This year, she set a conference record at the Atlantic 10 Championship late last month when she completed the 5K course in 16:56, making her the first-ever in the conference to finish in under 17 minutes. It's an impressive accomplishment, but Hogan's goals are loftier than A-10 honors.
"My goals are mostly for nationals," Hogan said. "I would like to be top 10, at the very least."
Hogan, who is a graduate student but is a senior in terms of her athletic eligibility, transferred to GW from Mount Ida College in Massachusetts. At Mount Ida, she played basketball freshman year and began running as a sophomore. She came to GW as an inexperienced runner and credits cross-country head coach Brian Beil with her transformation into an elite collegiate runner.
"My coach has basically done everything. I came into this program not even knowing what I was doing. I had no clue," Hogan said. "Without everyone's support, I would never be where I am at. I run for myself, but I run for all these people in my life, too."
Beil praised Hogan's commitment to her adopted sport and said he's been amazed by her remarkable growth as a runner.
"She's only been running for three years now. If you told anyone that you start a sport today and in three years you'll be running against Olympic-caliber athletes. they wouldn't believe you," Beil said.
The head coach didn't rule out his star runner as a potential national champion. With a wide-open field this season, Beil said, anything is possible.
"This year there is no real strong frontrunner in the country, so it's wide open," Beil said. "At nationals, you know, whoever has the best day is going to win it and certainly [Megan] is going to be in that pack."