Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Matt Gibney Leaves a Lasting Impact at Villanova

Matt Gibney has only a fortnight remaining as a Villanova student. He'll be returning to his native Australia at the end of the semester to pursue both an Olympic berth and a medical career. Even though his stay at Villanova was a brief three years, he contributed mightily to the regeneration of the men's program, and for that Villanova fans should be thankful. He will probably be best remembered for his two stellar DMR anchors at the Penn Relays,on a stage as big as they come for a middle distance runner, and a stage that applies massive pressure to Villanova athletes. When he arrived on campus in January 2009 coach Marcus O'Sullivan is reported to have told him "Just give me a good mile at the Penn Relays" -- a request that Gibney fulfilled with flying colors (ginger, in this particular case: see photo on right). He anchored the DMR to Villanova's 23rd Championship of America in that event. He repeated the feat in 2011, helping bring home a 24th COA wheel (see photo above). Matt was a multiple All-American, broke the 4:00 minute barrier in the mile, performed his best on the biggest stage at Penn, all the while excelling in the classroom: Gibney in 2011 was Villanova's first men's Capital One Academic All-American since 2007. Villanova Running wishes Matt good luck in his pursuit of a spot on Australia's Olympic team for 2012 and in his future professional endeavors.

Here's a look at Matt Gibney's career highlights as a Villanova Wildcat:

2009 Indoor
Wins the mile at the New Balance Collegiate Invitational
Wins the Big East mile championship

2009 Outdoor
All-American in 1500 meters with 5th place at NCAA meet
Anchors Villanova's Distance Medley Relay team to a COA win at the Penn Relays
Breaks the metric equivalent of the 4:00 mile with a 3:40.58 in the 1500 meters

2009 Cross Country
Earns NCAA All-Mid-Atlantic Region status for 22nd place finish (31:10 over 10K)

2010 Indoor
Wins second Big East mile championship
Wins the mile at the Haverford Invitational

2010 Outdoor
Red-shirted due to injury

2010 Cross Country
Wins the Haverford Invitational in 20:06 over 4 miles

2011 Indoor
Breaks the 4:00 mile barrier with a 3:58.12 at the Husky Invitational in Seattle
Finalist in the mile at the NCAA Indoor championships
Big East runner-up in the mile
Anchors Villanova's runner-up 4x800 meter squad at Big East conference meet
Wins the mile at the New York Road Runners indoor meet

2011 Outdoor
Anchors Villanova's Distance Medley Relay team to a COA win at the Penn Relays
All-American at 1500 meters with 4th place finish at NCAA meet
All-Big East over 800 meters with 3rd place finish in 1:48.66
Wins 1500 meters at the Larry Ellis Invitational

2011 Cross Country
Earns NCAA All-Mid-Atlantic Region status for 5th place finish (30:42 over 10K)
Earns All-Big East status for 5th place finish (23:41 over 8K)
15th Overall at Paul Short Run (24:41 over 8K)

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