The Villanova Wildcats had teams running in the men’s and women’s cross country championships on Saturday. The men, winners of the Mid-Atlantic Region, finished 23rd matching their place from last year. The women’s team came in 24th in the meet. Lydia Olivere was the top overall Villanova finisher earning an All-America honor.
Olivere covered the distance in 20:39.9 to finish in 29th place. Last year Olivere was in 158th place in this race. Ann Campbell was 111th running a time of 21:19.4. Other Wildcats scoring finishers were Maggie Smith (21:32.2), Brynne Sumner (202nd 22:05.9), and McKenna Keegan (235th 22:41.8). Nikki Merrill ran a time of 22:42.7 and Anna Helwigh rounded out the Villanova team.
The Arkansas Razorbacks won the team championship with 96 points, 6 better than second place BYU. Weine Kelati of New Mexico was the individual winner posting a time of 19:47.5. Arkansas has won the Cross Country, Women’s Indoor, and Women’s Outdoor championships in 2019.
Later that afternoon the men took to the course. Villanova matched last year’s finish placing 23rd. The five scoring runners for the Mid-Atlantic Champion Wildcats ran within 43 seconds of one another.
Andrew Marston had the best finish with a time of 31:46 and was in 79th place. Charlie O’Donovan was 103rd covering the distance in 32:08.7. The sophomore improved his placing by 91 spots higher than last year. Haftu Strintzos was 116th (32:17.2) with Casey Comber just behind crossing the finish line just over 11 seconds later. Josh Phillips completed the scoring runners in 164th place timed in 32:53.2.
Nathan Rodriguez (191st 32:53,2) and Partick Spchalski (206th 33:12.5) competed for Nova.
Anthony Russo of the University of Pennsylvania, at at-large qualifier, covered the distance in 31:54.9 finishing in 89th place.
BYU won its first Cross Country title ending Northern Arizona’s streak at three consecutive championships. The last loss in a meet for NAU was on November 13, 2015.
Edwin Kurgat was the individual champion running the course in 30:32.7. Joe Klecker of Colorado placed second with a time of 30:37.1. Connor Mantz was the best finisher for BYU coming in third in 30:40.
Written By: Glenn Papazian