As senior cross country runner Megan Hogan opened the door to enter the Smith Center Wednesday morning, she caught the eye of men’s basketball player Travis King, who was walking out at the moment but held up at the sight of Hogan.
“Congratulations,” King told her. “I’ve been meaning to tell you that.”
Such incidents have become common for Hogan, who achieved an impressive title on the Monday before Thanksgiving in Terra Haute, Ind.: All-American.
The Saratoga, N.Y. native finished 27th in the 255-runner field at the NCAA women’s cross country championships Nov. 27, earning her the All-America honors awarded to all top-40 finishers and the attention that comes with such status.
“I know [King], but people I don’t even know say congratulations to me,” Hogan said. “I’m like, ‘how did you know?’ “
Word of Hogan’s accomplishment has been spreading steadily ever since the big race, even earning her a position in the weekly GW Today e-mail sent to students, which also featured a story on President Obama’s recent attendance of a GW basketball game.
“My friend was like, ‘You’re next to Obama!’ ” Hogan said.
Despite getting off to a strong start, such a distinction was far from Hogan’s mind 800 meters into the 6-kilometer competition. While in the midst of the massive pack of runners jostling for position – “If you see the video, it’s legit like Braveheart,” Hogan explained – she felt the frustrated runner behind her slip a foot beneath her own. Suddenly Hogan was somersaulting down the hill, injuring her elbow and finding the rest of the race in doubt.
“I thought I was like paralyzed and I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, what do I do? Do I drop out?’ ” Hogan said. “And I’m like, ‘No, no! Don’t be an idiot!’ “
Heeding her own internal advice, Hogan got back on her feet and completed the race, making up much of the competitive ground lost during her tumble over the next 5-plus kilometers to finish the race with a time of 20:34, 36 seconds better than her 2008 showing.
Hogan arrived in Indiana the Friday prior to the competition, running the course Saturday and Sunday, though she said she mostly “just kind of sat around and watched movies” while she was there.
Despite the relaxed and seemingly mundane schedule of activities, Hogan said the atmosphere of the event was one of the most memorable aspects of her experience.
“These are the best runners in the country all in one spot. There’s just so much energy and enthusiasm,” she said. “Honestly, there’s no place like it.”
That Hogan is included in such a group – the best runners in the country – is not an entirely expected development. Hogan only began running competitively when she transferred to GW two years ago after playing basketball at Mount Ida College.
She soon found success in cross country, last year, becoming the first member of GW’s program to qualify for the NCAA championships and this October becoming the first Colonial to win the Atlantic 10 championship.
“I never expected this at all,” she said. “If someone told me two years ago that I’d be where I am now, I would’ve been like, ‘Oh, yeah right. Shut up, you’re crazy.'”