Athletics News

Ragnar Relay Reunites GW's Past

Members of the "GW Foggy Bottoms" pose for a photo
Oct. 28, 2016

When a student-athlete decides to play at GW, they gain more than four-years of collegiate playing experience. Instead, their time at GW extends far beyond their time on campus, as past players from different teams and different classes share a common bond as former GW student-athletes.

As GW alumni from across the world return to Foggy Bottom this weekend, several former GW student-athletes are already well in the habit of reuniting to rekindle the days of their past athletic glory.

This holds true for Jen Vogel Ippolito and her team of 12 GW student-athlete alumni who competed in the Reebok Ragner Relay in mid-September. The Ragner Relay is a team-based competition that takes place over the course of two days and one night in a race that stretches nearly 200 miles. This year, the team of past GW student-athletes took on Ragner D.C. -- a course extending from Cumberland, Maryland all the way to Yards Park in downtown Washington, D.C.

Joining Vogel Ippolito were members of the volleyball, gymnastics and women's soccer teams. Representing volleyball was Kate Haubenrich Brown (`97), Jen Graber Lee (`95), Liz Martin Jones (`95), Khuong Ta Mulvaney ('95), and Anna Krimmel Richardson (`97). Nancy Akers Klett (`95) and Alexis Hrynko (`98) were members of the gymnastics team. Kristin Davidson Fontenot (`96), Lauren Komar Graber (`98), Amanda Simmons Stokes (`96), Tanaya Vogel (`96), and Jennifer Vogel Ippolito (`97) from women's soccer completed the 12-person unit.

"We have kept tabs on each other through the last 20 years," said Vogel Ippolito prior to the race. "We were in each other's weddings and followed our career paths through one another. We have seen each other at various GW events and we keep tabs on one another through other GW alumni. When it came time for us to come together, it was so easy to reconnect. These are incredible women and I am so honored to be joining them AGAIN to experience this incredible athletic challenge."

Each member of the "GW Foggy Bottoms" ran three legs of the relay varying in length, ranging up to 19 mile stretches. Only one runner hit the road at a time, with the rest of the team on support duty cheering on their teammate and meeting them at the next exchange point to pick them up and drop off the next runner.

This wasn't the first time the team of GW alumni completed in a Ragner Relay. The spirited group took on Ragner Cape Cod last year, conquering 200 miles of Cape Cod coastline from Hull to Provincetown, Massachusetts. This tradition of joining together to compete as one team of GW alumni demonstrates how the relationships between GW student-athletes extends far past graduation.

"There is something special about college athletics, the tie that it binds, specifically here at GW," said Tanya Vogel. "This group of women impressed me back then, as teammates and as friends, but now -- I stand (and run) in awe. A 207-mile relay is a metaphor of what we experienced as student-athletes here at GW -- peaks, valleys, late nights, early mornings -- we dared to doubt, to quit; but as we did while we were here, we conquer it all as teammates and as friends, for life."