Monday, November 22, 2010

Reid Too Strong for the Field -- Leads Total Team Effort for 9th Title

Sheila Reid Leads Villanova To Repeat Title
Wildcats Win Title #9 As Freshman Emily Lipari Closes The Deal With Top 100 Finish

November 21, 2010

Villanova junior Sheila Reid led the Villanova Wildcats to a successful defense of their NCAA cross-country team title as Reid emerged victorious in a three-way sprint for the individual title. With the title, the Wildcats have now won nine of the 30 NCAA titles in history.

Coming into the homestretch on the LaVern Gibson course, Reid, who was 13th last year, was in third but right on the shoulder of Georgetown's Emily Infeld and Oregon's Jordan Hasay, who were side by side. Considering Reid had beaten Infeld at both Big East and regionals, Reid was most concerned with Hasay coming down the stretch, as Hasay had finished one spot ahead of Reid at NCAAs in the 1,500 in the spring.

Hasay took a slight lead early in the sprint for glory but in hindsight Reid seemed to just be biding her time and making sure she didn't go too early as she was clearly the best over the final 400, as she'd power home to a comfortable 2.3-second victory over Infeld as Reid clocked 20:06.9 to Infeld's 20:09.2. It was Hasay who had the least in the tank, as she'd end up a well beaten third in 2:13.0.

Team Scores At 3k/Eventual Finish
1. Texas Tech - 107 (3rd)
2. Iowa State - 160 (8th)
3. Georgetown - 183 (4th)
4. Villanova - 216 (1st)
5. Florida State -217 (2nd)

Team Scores At Finish
1. Villanova - 120
2. Florida State - 154
3. Texas Tech - 165
4. Georgetown - 167
5. New Mexico - 227

In the team battle, the defending champs - the Villanova Wildcats - were only 4th in the team standings at the halfway point, as the Kenyan Texas Tech Lady Raiders were in the lead. However, given the fact that there were extremely blustery conditions (the wind was gusting to more than 30 miles per hour and consistently at 15-20 mph), the race had gone out very slow (5:20 1st mile) and everyone was pretty tightly bunched.

The Wildcats would move up and get the win, as they cut their score from 216 at 3k to 120 at the finish. The Wildcats were led to the title as they have been all year by a very strong top four of Reid (1st), Amanda Marino (8th team/10th overall), Alison Smith (20th team, 24th overall), and Bogdana Mimic (22nd team, 27th overall), who were all individual All-Americans.

However, as the old cross-country saying goes, "You're only as strong as your fifth." The Wildcats needed a fifth as two other teams in Texas Tech and Georgetown had four in the top 35 in the team scoring. Wildcat freshman Emily Lipari, who earlier in the week had said, "I just don't want to screw it up for them," came through in a big way and closed the deal for the Wildcats when she finished in 94th (69th in the team scoring) - just three places behind the #1 5th woman on any team in Texas Tech's Caroline Karunde.

In the end, Villanova won with 120 as #2 Florida State was second with 154. Early leader Texas Tech held on for third with 165 to give them the surprise showing of the day, as they came in only ranked #10. 3rd-ranked Georgetown ended up 4th.

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