Thursday, October 28, 2010

Full-Strength Men Off to Big East Meet

VILLANOVA, Pa.--It couldn't come at a better time that the Villanova men's cross country team is at full strength for the first time all year, as the Wildcats will head to the BIG EAST Championships this coming Saturday morning at Jamesville Beach Park in Jamesville, N.Y. The conference meet is an 8K race which will begin at 11:15 a.m.

As a team, Villanova has not competed since the Penn State National nearly two weeks ago. Since then, however, junior Matthew Gibney (Albury, Australia) made his season debut at last week's Haverford Invitational. He joins seniors Hugo Beamish (Havelock North, New Zealand) and Keith Capecci (New Hope, Pa.) and fellow juniors Matt Kane (Fairfield, Conn.) and Mathew Mildenhall (Auckland, New Zealand) to form the top five for the Wildcats entering the BIG EAST meet. This weekend will be the first time that all five race together this season.

"We are a little behind where we should be but that is okay because this weekend is a great opportunity for us," Villanova head coach Marcus O'Sullivan said. "Matt had a good debut at Haverford last week and Hugo is starting to look good also. We are looking forward to having our best team out there in the conference meet."

Seniors Brian Long (Louisville, Ky.) and Carl Mackenzie (Lower Hutt, New Zealand) have also run well this fall and will compete this weekend along with junior Joseph LoRusso (Oak Hill, Va.) and sophomore Greg Morrin (Hockessin, Del.).

The top group of runners for the wildcats demonstrated remarkable consistency at Penn State earlier this month when the first five finishers for Villanova were separated by a mere 13 seconds. That kind of depth will be just as vital for the Wildcats as it is to have their full team healthy for the first time.

"There are a number of guys having excellent seasons for us, particularly Kane and Capecci," O'Sullivan said. "I have been just as encouraged by seeing runners like Long and LoRusso really step up and continue getting better and stronger as the season goes on."

Jamesville Beach Park is a brand new site for the BIG EAST Championships and the race will be held on a golf course that features rolling hills throughout the course.

"This is not a flat course by any means," O'Sullivan said. "There are going to be hills pretty much all throughout the race. This meet is a challenge that the whole team is looking forward to."

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