Wednesday, October 3, 2012

It's Villanova versus Georgetown for Prize Recruit Ben Malone

Marcus O'Sullivan has been recruiting Hillsdale, NJ's Ben Malone, the 2012 US prep indoor 800 meter champion (see video, above), steadily for two years, hoping to entice the talented middle distance runner to compete for Villanova. That effort seems to have yielded some benefits, as Malone has narrowed his college choice to two schools: Villanova and Georgetown. As the article below chronicles (and as Malone's accolades listed below confirm), Malone's signing at Villanova would further bolster the excellent recruiting classes of the past few year and would make Villanova's superb middle distance ranks that much more formidable. As he states in the article, Malone wants to make his decision sooner rather than later, so this situation is certainly one to keep an eye on.

Malone's Mile Split page is HERE.

Ben Malone's Athletic Honors
National Champion 800m Indoor 2012
All America 800m, Sprint Medley Indoor, Outdoor 800m 2012
National Junior class record holder indoor 800, 1000m
New Jersey State Champion 1600m Indoor 2012
New Jersey State Champion 800m Outdoor 2012
Star Ledger New Jersey Runner of the Year Indoor 2012
Bergen Record's 1st Annual Ron Drogo Award; best North Jersey athlete Fall 2011
North Jersey Runner of the Year XC 2011; Indoor 2012; Outdoor 2012
All Northeast XC 2011
All New Jersey XC 2011; 1600m Indoor 2012; Outdoor 800m 2012
Bergen Record Athlete of the week November 28th 2011
Bergen County Record holder for Holmdel Park
Bergen County Record holder Mile Run
Bergen County Champion XC 2011

Ben Malone's PRs
 400 meters         49.03
 800 meters      1:49.94
1000 meters     2:23.56
1500 meters     3:49.84
1600 meters     4:11.66
1 mile               4:07.02
3200 meters     9:24.80
2 miles              9:12.02
4000 meters   13:03.62
5000 meters   15:38.00

Ben Malone’s Choice Down to Two Schools

The Record
Wednesday October 3, 2012

Two weeks ago Ben Malone took his official visit to Villanova. Last week he returned from his official visit to Georgetown. And even though the NCAA allows up to five paid recruiting visits for Division I athletes, Malone, one of the most highly recruited boys middle-distance runners in the country, now will decide between two of the country’s most traditional track powers, eschewing the chance for visits to places like Oregon, Virginia and Notre Dame, among the dozens of schools to show interest.

“I talked to a lot of coaches and did a lot of research and it kept coming back to these two schools,” said Malone before he left for Georgetown last week. “I wanted to reach a decision early and I didn’t want it to distract from my senior season.”

“I have cross-country meets every weekend and I want to win the state championship this year,” said Malone, who set the Bergen County record at Holmdel Park en route to his third-place state finish last fall. “There’s a lot of travel involved and I thought these were the two best places for me. So I narrowed it right away.”

“It helped that I wanted to stay on the East Coast, and I like both schools’ location and academics and I really like both coaches.”

Though he has chosen to limit his official trips, Malone had made unofficial visits to Penn State, Princeton and Villanova, and fielded dozens of phone calls and texts from other coaches in a process that started two years ago after a sensational sophomore season.

“I felt bad about talking to coaches at schools I had no intention of going to,” said Malone, last year’s state champion at 1,600 meters indoors and 800 outdoors.

Malone first met Villanova coach Marcus O’Sullivan at the Colonial Relays at William & Mary two years ago on a family trip.

“He was really nice to me, gave me some training tips and said he would keep an eye on me.”

And Georgetown came into the picture in part because of a friendship he had with Hoya freshman Ahmed Bile, developed when both ran in major invitational races while Bile was in high school.

Malone thinks the decision ultimately will be made on a “gut” feeling, although he has checked out the athletes, coaches, classes and dorms as well as the overall atmosphere.

“I think I’ll just know which one is the right one for me,” said Malone, whose parents have told him it’s his decision, even though both have their favorites.

“I’ve also spoken to a lot of people who know both places and those discussions have helped me a lot,” said Malone, who’ll open his cross-country season Saturday with the Shore Invitational “C” race at Holmdel.

“I think you have to be as selfish as possible in making the decision because it’s about you,” said Malone, who dreads making the phone call to the “losing” coach in the recruiting battle. “But you’ve got to be totally honest, too.”

“It’s going to be weird wearing a different uniform next year no matter where I go, but I’m looking forward to the rest of the year at Pascack Valley and then ahead to the next step.”

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