Thursday, September 23, 2010

#1 Villanova Women's Cross Country Squad Opens Defense of its NCAA Crown Today at Haverford -- Lipari & Akande to Debut

Sept. 21, 2010

VILLANOVA, Pa. - The first meet of the season is on tap for this coming Thursday for the defending national champion Villanova women's cross country team. The squad will race in the Main Line Invitational hosted by Haverford College in a three-mile race on the Alumni Course just a short distance from the Villanova campus. The women's race will get underway starting at 5 p.m.

In their first competition of the season, the Wildcats will have nine runners in action, including three of the team's All-Americans from last year's national championship race. Seniors Amanda Marino (Jackson, N.J.) and Ali Smith (Columbia, Md.) plus junior Bogdana Mimic (Pancevo, Serbia) will lead the Villanova contingent in Thursday's race.

Among the other returning runners that will run for the Wildcats are the senior trio of Callie Hogan (Bay Shore, N.Y.), Sarah Morrison (Chambersburg, Pa.) and Kaitlin O'Sullivan (Gansevoort, N.Y.) in addition to sophomore Meghan Smith (Newark, Del.).

Freshmen Nicky Akande (Lawrenceville, Ga.) and Emily Lipari (Greenvale, N.Y.) will each make their Villanova debut at Haverford.

After several weeks of practice, the Main Line Invitational provides a good chance for the Wildcats to race for the first time and allow the coaches to evaluate the team in a competitive setting.

"The big thing in our first race is for us to figure out who our top seven runners are that we are going to take to Notre Dame next week," head coach Gina Procaccio said. "I haven't been able to tell yet from our training who our top seven are going to be."

Results from the Main Line Invitational will be available on on Thursday night.

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