OCTOBER 29, 2011 – The Villanova University Men and Women each won their Big East Cross Country Championships at the conference meet in Louisville, Kentucky. The Women’s team won it’s fourth consecutive title, and recorded a record 14th team championship. The Men’s team took their fourth champioship, and earned its first title since 2002.
Sheila Reid won her third straight individual title with a winning time of 19:40.09. Reid was followed by teammate Bogdana Mimic who finished second, Sophomore Nicky Akande finished in 12th place with a time of 20:26.1, and Emily Lipari was 16th at 20:36.4. Senior Callie Hogan turned in a time of 20:54.5 finishing in 23rd place The Wildcats won scoring 54 team points ahead of Providence (63), Georgetown (77), Syracuse (92), and West Virginia (92).
“It took a complete effort for us to win and that is exactly what happened,” said Villanova Coach Gina Procaccio. “Everyone had to set up for us and I am so proud of our runners for getting their job done. It was a great team effort and that is what makes this championship so fulfilling for us.”
The Women’s team came into the meet ranked 4th in the nation and atop the Mid-Atlantic Region rankings.
The Villanova Men won with a team score of 43 points which was the result of a great team effort. All five of the team’s counting runners placed in the top 13 of 123 runners in the field. Matthew Gibney placed 5th with a team-leading 23:41.4. Keith Capecci was 6th finishing less than a second behind Gibney. Ryan Sheridan finished in 8th place covering the distance in 23:51.3. Freshman Samuel McEntee was 11th turning in a time of 23:54.1. Matt Kane (23:57.3)and Mathew Mendenhall (23:58.6) finished 13th and 14th. Villanova finished in front of Georgetown with 94 points, Louisville (96), Syracuse (97), and Providence (116).
“We were able to win a championship because the guys came to understand that during the week that an opportunity like this does not come around all that often,” Villanova Coach Marcus O’Sullivan said. “When you have this much depth and a very talented team there is an opportunity to do very well. Our entire team realized that the only way to have their talent shine through was to fight for it and have a desire to win. Nobody was going to give us a championship. We had to take it and the team understood the sense of urgency.”
Villanova entered the meet ranked second in the Mid-Atlantic Region and 16th in the nation.
Both the Women’s and Men’s team compete in the NCAA Mid-Atlantic Regional meet on Saturday, November 12, 2011 on the UMES Cross Country course in Princess Anne, Maryland.