Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Brian Tetreault Crowns Villanova Career with DMR Wheel

Tetreault's tenure at Villanova added up to triumph

By TIM GODFREY Special to the BCT Calkins Media, Inc.


PHILADELPHIA - Pretty soon, the only running Brian Tetreault will be doing is with numbers. He'll be trading in his running shoes and warm-up suits for dress shoes and business attire. His relay teammates for his new auditing teammates.

Upon graduation from Villanova University's School of Business this month, the Cinnaminson High School graduate will go to work for the accounting firm Ernest & Young in Philadelphia, where Tetreault will work in auditing public or private company financial records.

That's exactly what made last Friday all the more special for Tetreault. As a senior running in his last Penn Relays for the Wildcats, and as a member of their distance medley relay team, it was his last shot to earn a Championship of America title.

Adding to the importance of the day, the DMR is the race that the Wildcats try to win the most, looking at it as an unsuccessful year if they don't win at least that event.

So when Villanova crossed the finish line as the winner of the distance medley relay, Tetreault reached the top of the mountain as a member of the Wildcats track and field team.

"We've been struggling the last couple years, we won one two years ago, but we used to be every other year or every year winning that," Tetreault said Saturday after also competing in the four-mile relay, helping Villanova to a fourth-place finish. "It's been a little slow, so anytime we can bring one home, it's good."

Four years ago, though, this moment was far from certain. After deciding to attend Villanova because it had a top business school and a Division 1 track program, Tetreault was almost caught in a numbers game.

"First year got off to a rough start. Kind of borderline being cut, we had a big freshman class that was a bit out of hand," Tetreault said.

His spot on the team would be safe, but his sophomore year would provide a different challenge, injury, before his collegiate career really began to blossom as a junior.

"Junior year I came on a little bit more in cross country. I made (all-Big East Conference), which was nice because I'm not really a cross country runner. Then at indoors that year I made my first final in the mile and during outdoors I made finals again in the mile," Tetreault said. "Cross country this season was pretty bad, but during indoor season, though, I started hitting PRs and started getting faster and moving down a little bit in the distance."

All which led to Friday's win at Penn. Tetreault ran the 1,200-meter leadoff leg in 2:57.86 and the Wildcats won in 9:37.93.

"The past three years I have kind of been underperforming, in my eyes. I had higher expectations for myself and it just started coming around this year. We were seventh during indoors at the national relay for the DMR, so that was a good start. And then coming out here (Friday) we didn't really have too many big expectations, we just went out there and ran hard," Tetreault said.

"It's not just about me doing well for the three guys after me, it's about me doing well for all the alumni and the people in the stands and families. So many people, Villanova graduates, look to this race and if we under perform, you don't just do it for yourself here, you're doing it for the people, the alumni, Villanova."

But soon his track career will come to an end and his accounting career will begin. Tetreault will spend his days analyzing numbers instead of training for a meet. He will most likely have to give up running competitively because of the commitment his job will entail.

"Maybe I'll run a little bit further into this summer and try to run something quick, but it's going to be tough to juggle running and working," Tetreault said. "I know a bunch of guys who have tried to do it and you can't really do either. You either work part-time and kind of run, or the other. It's either all one or the other."

If that is indeed the case, Tetreault has done something to finish his collegiate career that he will always be able to look back on and be proud of. Once it finally sinks in, of course.

"I don't think it's really hit me," Tetreault said. "So many people, I think, grasp this meet more than I do. I've been coming here since freshman year of high school to at least watch and it's always been a big deal, but it's kind of surreal. I knew we had done something big, but I never really thought this would happen, so it hasn't sunk in yet."

Once it does, though, he'll realize that 2011 has been a successful year for Villanova and Brian Tetreault.

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