Tuesday, February 8, 2011
Canadian Junior Ace Rob Denault Signs with Villanova
Rob Denault, the 17-year old Canadian from Aurora, Ontario with PRs of 3:45.87 for 1500 meters and 8:31.95 for 3000 (pictured center, above), has picked Villanova over Penn State, Guelph and McMaster universities. He signed a letter-of-intent on national signing day. Denault is the two-time defending Ontario scholastic 1500 champion, and the Canadian U-17 1500 meter record holder. After finishing second at the Ontario scholastic cross country championships early in November of last year, on November 27th, Denault finished third at the Canadian junior cross country championships, thereby making the national junior team. According to the story below, special credit goes to fellow Canadian (and fellow Newmarket-eer) Sheila Reid for pushing Denault over the hump for Villanova.
Middle man Denault makes strides for Villanova
Middle man Denault makes strides for Villanova. Aurora High School student and Newmarket Huskies Track Club member Rob Denault is expected to sign a scholarship package with the Villanova University Wildcats Wednesday, February 2. Rob Denault will be running after a third straight OFSAA gold medal in the 1,500 metres when the high school track and field season starts in the spring.The Aurora Eagles senior will do so knowing his next four years of running are secure.
A member of Canada's junior cross-country team, Denault is expected to sign a scholarship package with the Villanova University Wildcats Wednesday, ending a process that has seen the 17-year-old weigh offers from high-profile programs, notably Penn State in the United States and the University of Guelph and McMaster University in Ontario.
'But I made the decision best for my future. Penn State has a great program, but, at the end of the day, I thought Villanova 'was a better fit for me.'
"Ontario schools are doing a lot to keep athletes and that made my decision tougher," said Denault, who also competes for the Newmarket Huskies Track Club. "But I made the decision best for my future. Penn State has a great program, but, at the end of the day, I thought Villanova was a better fit for me."
A chance to train under head coach Marcus O'Sullivan, a five-time Olympian for Ireland and former world record holder in the 1,500, simplified his decision to make a verbal commitment earlier this month.
Denault, who will run middle distances during the track and field season and cross-country in the fall, follows in the footsteps of another Huskies graduate, Sheila Reid, the current NCAA women's cross-country champion.
"Sheila has had a great career and put me in contact with the school," said Denault, who set a Canadian youth age group record in the 1,500 last June in London. "A couple of months ago, I didn't know what I wanted. She showed me the program has a long legacy of Olympians, success and tradition. She started the process."
Denault is enrolled in the business school at Villanova, in Philadelphia, but is considering a career in marketing. He is anxious to get running.
"They're bringing in a new generation of runners and I'm happy to be part of it," he said.
"There is so much depth, but I think that's an environment I can thrive in. It can only make me better.
"If I can improve and grow, I think I can make an impact in two or three years."
It wasn't until he won the OFSAA gold medal in the 1,500 metres in June that Denault seriously considered the NCAA path.
"That's when I was starting to think about university and where I wanted to go," he said. "Before, I wasn't really running for a scholarship. It was more for fun and to see what happens."
Up next for Denault is the North American Central America and Caribbean (NACAC) cross-country championships in Trinidad next month as Canada vies for one of two berths at the world junior championships in March in Spain.