Thursday, October 28, 2010

Nova Women Look for Big East Three-Peat

VILLANOVA, Pa.--Coming up on Saturday morning, the Villanova women's cross country team will race in the BIG EAST Championships at Jamesville Beach Park in Jamesville, N.Y. The conference meet is a 6K race that will begin at 10:30 a.m. An awards ceremony at Noon will follow the competition.

"The BIG EAST Championships represent the start of the championship part of our season and we are excited to get going and face some of the great teams in our conference," Villanova head coach Gina Procaccio said.

Entering this weekend's meet, the Wildcats have been ranked No. 1 in the nation in the USTFCCCA national poll since the start of the season. Villanova has captured the last two BIG EAST titles as well and will be in action at the conference meet for the first time since winning the Penn State National two weeks ago.

Seniors Sheila Reid (Newmarket, Ont.) and Amanda Marino (Jackson, N.J.) lead a veteran group of runners for the Wildcats and came in first and second, respectively, at the Penn State meet. Senior Ali Smith (Columbia, Md.), junior Bogdana Mimic (Pancevo, Serbia) and freshman Emily Lipari (Greenvale, N.Y.) complete Villanova's formidable top five.

"Our girls like to compete and they seem to rise to the challenge against good competition," Procaccio said. "The BIG EAST has some highly-ranked teams and we are looking forward to a great meet."

Also running for the Wildcats will be seniors Sarah Morrison (Chambersburg, Pa.) and Callie Hogan (Bay Shore, N.Y.), sophomore Shannon Browne (Staten Island, N.Y.) and freshman Nicky Akande (Lawrenceville, Ga.).

"I am very excited about the depth we have developed this year, starting within our top five and their ability to run with each other and continuing with the rest of the team being able to step up and push themselves closer to that group."

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

"Last year's conference meet was also in a new location so it really doesn't make a difference to our girls where they run," Procaccio said. "We are hearing that this is a hilly course and that works to our strengths as a team."

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