Saturday, March 5, 2011

VU Women Run NCAA All-Time #3 10:56.12 DMR at The Armory -- Lipari Posts Monster 3:20.7 Opening 1200

The Villanova DMR squad of Emily Lipari, Christie Verdier, Ariann Neutts, and Sheila Reid ran the third fastest DMR in NCAA history last night at the Armory in New York City. Villanova now owns the #2 and #3 all-time DMR times: last night's time was less than 2 seconds off the Villanova school record of 10:54.34 set in 1988, which stood as the NCAA record for over 20 years. Emily Lipari's opening 1200 in 3:20.7 is thought to be an all-time best indoor split. By way of comparison, Tennessee's incomparable Phoebe Wright ran the 1200 leg at last year's NCAA indoor championships, which Tennessee won. Her split was 3:22.21 -- a second-and-a-half slower than Lipari's split last night. Two former Wildcats were also in the race. Nicole Schappert and Frances Koons ran the 800 and 1600 legs, respectively, on the NY-NJ Track Club coached by Frank Gagliano, which finished second. Here's the story from Jack Pfeifer at the Armory in New York City, with full results at the bottom:

Started by what may have been the fastest leadoff 1,200 leg ever run indoors, Villanova went on to run 10:56.12 in the women’s distance medley relay Friday night on Day 1 of the Columbia Last Chance meet at the Armory in New York, pulling three other teams under the magical 11-minute barrier with them.

In a race intended as an attempt to get under the NCAA auto-qualifying time of 11:05.50, four teams did just that, and went way under in the process. Virginia (10:59.33), Connecticut (10:59.99) and Georgetown (11:00.67) all broke their school records. When the season began, UConn’s had been 11:35. The Cavaliers and Huskies became just the eighth and ninth college teams ever to break 11:00. Villanova remarkably was the one school that did not set a school record, because that mark remains the 10:54.34 from 1988, a time that was the collegiate record for more than 20 years. The 10:56.12 becomes the 3rd-fastest ever run, behind the 1988 time and Tennessee’s 10:50.98 world best two years ago.

The race got going right away with a 2:13 opening 800 by Renee Tomlin, who gave way to Leah Andrianos of UConn and Rachel Schneider of Georgetown, as Morgane Gay of Virginia and Emily Lipari of Villanova began to fall back in the withering pace. But Lipari, the freshman from Long Island, exploded past everyone on the final lap, splitting 3:20.7 for the leadoff 1,200, believed to be the fastest ever run under cover. Andrianos merely ran 3:21.2, Schneider 3:21.5, Julie Culley of the NJ/NY Track Club 3:22.3 and Gay, trying to keep UVA close, phenomenally only fifth with a very fast 3:23.0.

Christie Verdier kept Villanova in front with a fine 54.2 400 leg, but on the final 200 of the 800 3rd leg, the Wildcats’ Adrian Neutts (2:09.5) faded to the back, while Lyndsay Harper ran 2:05.0 to put Virginia back in the race.

On the anchor, Villanova’s Sheila Reid bided her time, came up on the shoulder of NJ/NY’s Frances Koons at the bell, and ran away with the win, relaxing down the homestretch in celebration as she could see the time in front of her on the scoreboard clock. She split 4:31.7 as all five anchor runners went under 4:40. Coach Frank Gagliano’s team of Culley, Latavia Thomas (53.6), Nicole Schappert (2:06.7) and Koons (4:35.9) ran the fastest ever by a club team, 10:58.49, well under the previous best, 11:09.86 by the Reebok Enclave 12 years ago.

National picture

Nationally, this result had major ramifications, because in the only other Last Chance Meet women’s DMR being contested on this final weekend, on Friday on the oversized track at Notre Dame, the winning team, Texas Tech, ran 11:07.18, short of the auto Q. This leaves Duke 10th on the seasonal list at 11:06.85. It’s not known if the NCAA will take more than 10 teams in the event.

It is believed that the four teams from the Armory race will now conclude the regular season 1-2-3-4 atop the list, followed by the five other auto qualifiers – Oregon, BYU, Tennessee, Arkansas and Michigan. Arkansas and BYU also got their Q’s at the Armory, finishing 1-2 at the in February at the New Balance Collegiate Invitational.

There was no men’s DMR Friday at the New York meet. Instead, as is the custom, teams looking to qualify converged on Notre Dame, where just three teams got under the rigorous standard of 9:32.00 – Minnesota, New Mexico and Notre Dame. Air Force just missed, running 9:32.06. It now stands 10th on the seasonal list. Villanova ran 9:33.50 and stands 11th. Other Eastern teams that fell short at ND were Virginia (9:34), Princeton (9:35) and Penn State (9:35).

Event 1 Women Distance Medley
School Seed Finals

1 Villanova 'A' 11:07.40 10:56.12
1) Lipari, Emily 2) Verdier, Christie
3) Neutts, Ariann 4) Reid, Sheila

2 Nj/Ny Track Club 'A' 10:55.00 10:58.49
1) Culley, Julie 2) Thomas, LaTavia
3) Schappert, Nicole 4) Koons, Francis

3 Virginia 'A' 11:14.15 10:59.33
1) Gay, Morgane 2) Smith, Ayla
3) Harper, Lyndsay 4) Garcia, Stephanie

4 Connecticut 'A' 11:11.93 10:59.99
1) Andrianos, Leah 2) Emerson, Celina
3) Mania, Brigitte 4) Wilson, Heather

5 Georgetown 'A' 11:06.50 11:00.67
1) Schneider, Rachel 2) Sanders, Deidra
3) Cox, Chelsea 4) McCafferty, Katie

6 Johns Hopkins 'A' 11:58.00 12:08.58
1) Monagle, Annie 2) Smith, Alison
3) Shelton, Maggie 4) Laseter, Elizabeth

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