Thursday, February 23, 2012

Caitlin Bungo Picks Villanova

On February 12th, Caitlin Bungo (Sewickley Academy in Sewickley, PA) signed on to run for Gina Procaccio at Villanova. Bungo was 16th at Pennsylvania State Cross Country championships, 1:14 behind the individual state champion, fellow Villanova signee Angel Piccirillo (who is mentioned prominently in the article below). Bungo currently has the following PRs:

800 meters: 2:20.00
1500 meters: 4:46.27
1600 meters: 5:02.94
Mile: 5:03.98
3000 meters: 10:34.34
3200 meters: 11:29.61
5000 meters: 19:45.00

Here is a story that appears in today's Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:

North/West Xtra: Sewickley Academy Runner Heading to Villanova

Thursday, February 23, 2012
By Rich Emert, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Caitlin Bungo admits the list of colleges was a bit strange.

It included Villanova, Bucknell, Richmond and Miami of Ohio.

"They really don't seem to have much in common, but that's where I visited and I liked them all for different reasons," said Bungo, a senior at Sewickley Academy and a track and cross country standout for the Panthers.

"Oh my gosh, I didn't think it would be so hard [to make a decision]. There are just so many great schools out there. I just tried to focus on what I thought was important."

She ultimately decided to continue her running career at Villanova, which has a long history of producing All-American runners.

Bungo, who won the WPIAL [western Pennsylvania regional] Class AA cross country title in the fall, was recruited by Villanova coach Gina Procaccio as a middle-distance runner.

She won the 800-meter run in Class AA at the WPIAL track championships last year and was second in the 1,600. At the PIAA meet, she placed third in Class AA in the 1,600 and 10th in the 800.

"I really enjoyed the team and just felt comfortable there," she said when asked about what sold her on Villanova. "I got to meet and sit down with the coach and she told me she tries to keep things relaxed because everyone performs better when they're relaxed."

With her college decision out of the way -- Bungo verbally committed earlier in the month -- she was able to concentrate on running well at the Tri-State Track and Field Coaches Association Indoor Championships, which she did.

The indoor meet was held this past Saturday at Edinboro University and Bungo finished first in the 800-meter run and fourth in the mile. She edged North Hills senior Margo Malone in the 800, finishing in 2 minutes, 21.6 seconds. Malone ran 2:21.8.

In the mile, Bungo finished in 5:07.8. Homer Center senior Angel Piccirillo, who is also a Villanova recruit, was first in an outstanding time of 4:54.83. Malone was second at 5:04.4 with Norwin's Autumn Greba third in 5:05.81. Mary Malone, Margo's younger sister and North Hills teammate, was sixth in 5:11.68.

"I was happy with how I ran," said Bungo when asked about the indoor championships. "I had a [personal record] in the mile, so I was happy about that and winning the 800 against Margo was great. I've been trying to get under 2:20 in the 800 but haven't been able to do it yet and that's been a little frustrating. Hopefully, that will happen."

Bungo will compete in the Pennsylvania Track and Field Coaches Association state championship meet Saturday at Penn State University's multi-purpose indoor facility. She is entered in only the 3,000-meter run and is seeded 11th with a time of 10:34.34. Piccirillo is seeded first at 10:06.20.

"I haven't run the 3,000 that much and I wanted to do it to see what I could do," she said. "I just wanted to run one race there. That seemed like enough."

Bungo had an opportunity to talk with future teammate Piccirillo at the TSTCA indoor championships this past weekend. She said she will keep an eye on Piccirillo's times during the outdoor track season that will get underway in late March.

"It was good to meet her and we're both excited about going to Villanova. It will be great to be on the same team as her," Bungo said.

She added that it is a relief to have her college decision out of the way.

"I can just go out and focus on getting some PRs. I'd like to get under 5 minutes in the mile and under that 2:20 in the 800," Bungo said. "I'm happy with my decision and knowing where I'll be next year."

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