Thursday, February 10, 2011

Emily Lipari Making Her Presence Felt

Lipari already makes an impact for 'Nova
February 5, 2011 12:20 PM

By Christopher Hunt, Armory Track

For years, Emily Lipari toiled through workouts alone, or sometimes with her older brother, Tom, or some members of the boys team at Roslyn.

She couldn’t wait for a training partner that could push her finally. The Villanova freshman surely got one. So far this track season, Lipari has been chasing senior Shelia Reid through practice, the NCAA national cross country champion.

“Obviously, I have so much respect for her,” Lipari said. “But it’s also like, ‘Oh my God, I’m training with Shelia Reid. How am I training with Shelia Reid? She’s like the best there is out there.’”

Lipari, a former star distance runner at Roslyn, has been an favorite at the New Balance Armory, where she will return Saturday for the championship women’s mile [she finished 6th in 4:47.54]. She has competed at both Collegiate Saturday night meets, first winning the 1,000 in 2:49.06 on Jan. 16. Then she finished second in the mile last Saturday in 4:47.03.

But so far her biggest accomplishment is making the top five on Villanova’s national championship cross country team.

“Being part of a national championship team is something more than I’ve ever dreamed,” Lipari said. “I just can’t really put it into words. It’s going to be a memory that I remember for the rest of my life. My coach is amazing and I feel like I wouldn’t have been able to do it if I had a different coach. I’ve just done really well with her and the girls are really tremendous to look up to.”

The Wildcats had to wait for the results to be tallied even after their top four runners had scored just 22 points. Lipari finished 69th in the scoring (94th overall).

“It was really stressful,” the freshman said. “I hadn’t been nervous for a race in so long and I’m lining up in Terre Haute (Ind.) and I’m looking across the line and I see all these people and all these teams and I’m like, ‘Whoa.’ The gun goes off and I was swallowed by people. I’m so not used to that. I took me forever to break out of the pack and nationals and once I finally it it was kind of too late.

“If I could go back and do that race differently, I would like to. But I finished and I saw that Shelia won and I was so happy.”

Villanova coach Gina Procaccio said she expected, given Lipari’s big race experience, that she would contribute right away.

“She’s great,” Procaccio said. “I know, for her, she didn’t’ want to go to a program where she was going to be by herself. She wanted to run with someone else. She’s embraced the program.”

For Lipari, her biggest adjustment to college life is that she actually at free time on her hands. While competing in high school, Lipari also competed for her a travel soccer team and would often be going from class to track practice and then rushing off to soccer practice before going home to tackle her homework.

Now she does most of her running trying to chase around Reid.

“I spent a very long time getting my butt kicked,” Lipari said. “But that’s the type of program I wanted to go into. I know it’s just going to make me better and I’m looking at the long-term picture. “

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