Thursday, November 29, 2012

Recruiting Target Brent Kennedy Makes Foot Locker Nationals

Western Pennsylvania's Brent Kennedy (New Kensington's Kiski Area high school) is squarely in Villanova's recruiting cross hairs. Villanova is competing against Syracuse, Notre Dame, Virginia, and Virginia Tech, all of whom are keen to land a commitment from Kennedy. We at Villanova Running showcased Kennedy recently HERE, at which point in time Kennedy had made campus recruiting visits to both Villanova and Syracuse. Since that post, which highlighted his runner-up performance at the Pennsylvania state cross country meet, Kennedy -- only a junior with another prep year remaining -- has gone on to qualify for Foot Locker Nationals in San Diego (see the top results of last weekend's Footlocker Northeast Regional below) by finishing 9th of 169 competitors at Van Cortlandt Park on November 24th. Commenting on the race, Kennedy admitted that "I thought if I went out too fast, things definitely wouldn't work out for me. I went out through the mile pretty far back and really wasn't feeling great, but people started to come back (to me) through the Back Hills. I pulled up into about 15th place at the two-mile (mark) and was able to get those last six spots."

Foot Locker Northeast Regional -- Top 10: Nationals Qualifiers
 1.  Cheserek, Edward  12   Newark          NJ   15:21.8
 2.  Green, Jonathan   12   Berlin          MA   15:36.8
 3.  Wilson, Shawn     12   Marlton         NJ   15:42.5
 4.  Shearn, Brendan   12   Frackville      PA   15:45.5
 5.  Kroon, Kyle       11   Toms River      NJ   15:46.0
 6.  Crawley, Trevor   12   Cumberland      RI   15:47.3
 7.  Norris, Max       12   Narberth        PA   15:48.3
 8.  Alvarado, Chris   11   Fairfield       CT   15:49.1
 9.  Kennedy, Brent    11   New Kensington  PA   15:50.9
10.  Pondel, Austin    12   Columbus        PA   15:51.0 

Today, Kennedy posted his first journal entry as he leads up to the national championship race on Saturday, December 8th.

November 29

What a season. I am truly honored to be part of such a historic year in PA cross country. I know the purpose of this journal is to share my training and race experiences and things like that, but I could not begin without thanking my family and coaches, Mr. Berzonsky and Mr. Arabia, for their complete dedication to maximizing my success as a person and a runner. Of course, a big thank you goes to my teammates for making running such a fun and enjoyable part of my life.

Our team set our sights on making it back to the state meet for the second year in a row. Though we came up short, it would be impossible to view the year as a failure. Our personal successes reflect the hard work from everyone top to bottom on the squad. I was lucky enough to have a legitimate shot at winning every race I was in, losing to Vinny Todaro and Dan Jaskowak in some exciting races. My friends Tyler Snider and Patrick Miller did come up big (like always) at WPIALs and joined me for states. I carried my WPIAL win into Hershey with some confidence before having my hopes squandered by a CR from Tony Russell, a great guy by the way. The finish was a bit of a letdown and I am for sure being hard on myself, but I do feel like there are a hundred other kids that deserve to be second in the state and I am not going to look past that accomplishment.

I headed into Foot Locker with some feelings of uncertainty. A new course, new competition, even new socks (lost the racing socks). Physically, after a long championship season, I felt sort of run-down. But you don’t want to hear me complain and it wasn’t all negative, believe it or not. I felt like I had a pretty good chance of making top ten with a smart race; my plan was to hang back through the flat first mile, then stay consistent through the woods.

A few minutes before the race, Conner Quinn welcomed me to a spot on the line next to a swarm of fellow Pennsylvania runners, and I heard Brendan Shearn screaming his head off at the other end of the line, “PA don’t play!” That really got me going and I was finally ready to run. The race played out for me like I had hoped. I went through the mile at 5 flat, moved my way into the top 20 by the two mile point, and then hammered the down hills to finish with Austin Pondell. I made that sound pretty easy I guess, but I am looking forward to the yearlong break before hitting the hills at Van Cortlandt again.

Running for a team, in my opinion, is the most inspirational part of any cross country race. Representing Pennsylvania at Regionals was an aspect of the race I hadn’t really thought about before. It is so cool that I get to run for my state and the Northeast Region in San Diego next week. I can’t wait to get these couple weeks of training going and see how I match up against 39 of the top runners in the country.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Wilmington Tatnall's Julie Williams Commits to Villanova

On November 10th of this year Julie Williams of Wilmington, Delaware's Tatnall High School committed to run for Gina Procaccio's Villanova women's team. Williams committed after finishing second at the Delaware state cross country meet, where she ran 19:12.54 over the 5000 meter course. To date, Williams has found most success over 800, 1600, and 5000 meters.

Last weekend Williams finished 18th (for the second straight year) at the Nike Cross Nationals Southeast Regional in Cary, NC. At the race, she improved her time from 2011 (18:31.40) to 18:15.50, a new PR. In 2011 Williams qualified for Nike Cross Nationals, where she finished 120th. In late September of this year, she came 23rd at the Great American Cross Country Festival, also in Cary, NC, running 18:22.40.

On the track, Williams finished third at the 2012 Delaware State meets (both indoor and outdoor) in both the 800 meters and 1600 meters.

Julie's Mile Split page can be seen HERE. She presently boasts PRs of:
 2:16.00 (800 meters)
 4:55.07 (1600 meters)
10:27.47 (3000 meters
11:12.00 (3200 meters)
18:15.50 (5000 meters)

November 28th a Good Day for Villanova Track:
Happy Birthday to Sonia O'Sullivan & Bobby Curtis

Two of Villanova's all-time track heroes share November 28th as a birthday.

On this day in 1969 three-time world champion Sonia O'Sullivan was born in Cobh, Country Cork, Ireland. After winning two NCAA cross country individual titles (1991, 1992) as well as two NCAA 3000 meter titles (both indoors and outdoors in 1990) on the track for Villanova, O'Sullivan represented her native Ireland at four consecutive Olympic Games (1992, 1996, 2000, 2004). She won a silver medal over 5000 meters at the 2000 Games in Sydney, where she ran a blistering PR of 14:41.02. She won two world cross country titles (executing a rare short- and long-course double in 1998) as well as the 1995 world title in the 5000 meters on the track. She won a silver medal over 1500 meters as well at the 1993 World Championships. O'Sullivan was a three-time European Champion (over 3000, 5000, and 10,000 meters) and set World Records over 2000 meters (5:25.36 in July 1994), 2 miles (9:19.56 in June 1998), and 5000i meters (15:17.28 in January 1991). She is by virtually all accounts the greatest runner ever produced by the country of Ireland.

November 28th is also the birthday of Villanova's most recent male individual NCAA champion. The new 28 year old won the NCAA 5000 meter title in 2008 and his time of 13:33.93 was the 10th fastest time ever run by a US collegiate athlete over that distance. He was Villanova's first NCAA outdoor male champion since 1981. Curtis had been the 5000 meter runner-up at the 2007 NCAA championships. Curtis was a 2-time Big East cross country champion (2004, 2007), won the 2007 NCAA Mid-Atlantic cross country regional, and finished as high as 4th (2007) at cross country nationals. He was a 2-time All-American in cross country. After graduating from Villanova, Bobby Curtis has developed into an international-class 10,000 meter runner and his 27:24.67 PR is the 7th fastest time ever run by a native-born American.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Koons & Beamish Post Top-5 Finishes at Rothman 8K

Over 1800 competitors contested the Rothman 8K on the streets of Philadelphia on Saturday, and two former Villanova stars finished in the top five of their respective races. Former Rothman 8K race champion (2009 in 26:34) Frances Koons finished third, covering the 8K distance in 26:29, 47 seconds behind race winner Misiker Demassie of Ethiopia. On the men's side, Hugo Beamish, the former Big East 5000 meter champion, was one of 4 men to break Marcus O'Sullivan's 15 year old course record (23:03). Beamish came 4th in 23:02, 33 seconds behind Kenya's Isaac Korir. Former Villanova trackman Brandon Eck was 63rd in 28:41.

Rothman 8K -- Men
1.  Isaac Korir       KEN   22:29  CR
2.  Samuel Ndereba    KEN   22:47
3.  Scott Smith       USA   22:47
4.  Hugo Beamish      NZL   23:02
5.  Mengistu Nebsi    ETH   23:03

Rothman 8K -- Women
1.  Misiker Demessie  ETH   25:46
2.  Amy Van Alstine   USA   25:59
3.  Frances Koons     USA   26:29
4.  Helen Jemutai     KEN   26:51
5.  Erin Koch         USA   27:18

Full searchable results from the race are HERE.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Villanova Back in the Pack at NCAA Cross Nationals
Women Come 20th, Men 27th

The Villanova men and women finished close to their national rankings at the NCAA cross country nationals yesterday: the #25 men finished in 27th place, while the #22 women came 20th. Neither team ran its best race of the year. For the men, the team's usual top two finishers (Sam McEntee and Jordy Williamsz) were the team's 3rd and 4th finishers. Topping the men's finishers were seniors Mathew Mildenhall (108th individually) and Matt Kane (145th individually). McEntee (150th) and Williamsz (161st) were next, and Rob Denault (166th) rounded out the top five. Alex Tully, on whose effort the Villanova men finished 2nd at Mid-Atlantic regionals, was unable to catch lightning in a bottle a second time. He came 198th, followed by Brian Basili in 234th place. As has been the case throughout the season, the men ran is a tight cluster, with a mere 26.7 seconds from 1-5. The good news for the men is that several key runners will return next year.

The full men's results are HERE.

Villanova Men 587 places
108/84    Mathew Mildenhall     30:50.0
145/116   Matthew Kane          31:04.6
150/120   Sam McEntee           31:06.6
161/131   Jordy Williamsz       31:12.8
166/137   Rob Denault           31:16.7
198/(153) Alex Tully            31:39.6
234/(197) Brian Basili          32:36.8

               2000     3215     4950     6910     5 mi     10K     
Mildenhall     5:49     9:24     14:47    20:56    24:35    30:50.0
Kane           5:57     9:38     15:08    21:12    24:57    31:04.6
McEntee        5:51     9:29     14:54    20:58    24:52    31:06.6
Williamsz      5:46     9:23     14:51    21:00    24:55    31:12.8
Denault        5:56     9:41     15:11    21:15    25:03    31:16.7
Tully          5:56     9:38     15:12    21:26    25:21    31:39.6
Basili         6:00     9:48     15:28    21:47    25:50    32:36.8

On the women's side, Emily Lipari put in the best performance of the day for either team, as she finished 25th overall, good for All American status. Lipari finished in 20:05.6, about 38 seconds off race winner Betsy Saina of Iowa State. Nicky Akande, who won the NCAA Mid-Atlantic regional a week ago, struggled on the day, finishing well back in 95th place overall, some 41 seconds behind Lipari. As she has done all year, Summer Cook was Villanova's no. 3 finisher, just 5 seconds in arrears of Akande. The women's 1-5 split was 1:13.6.

The full women's results are HERE.

Villanova Women 475 places
 25/18    Emily Lipari          20:05.6
 95/68    Nicky Akande          20:46.5
110/82    Summer Cook           20:51.7
173/136   Stephanie Schappert   21:19.2
209/171   Sydney Harris         21:34.1
219/(181) Megan Venables        21:40.9
240/(202) Courtney Chapman      22:04.5

              2000     3022     6K     
Lipari        6:27     9:53     20:05.6
Akande        6:34    10:06     20:46.5
Cook          6:39    10:12     20:51.7
Schappert     6:45    10:22     21:19.2
Harris        6:58    10:41     21:34.1
Venables      6:57    10:40     21:40.9
Chapman       6:49    10:37     22:04.5

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Back in Philly, Koons Looks to Make a Mark

Villanova graduate Frances Koons looks forward to Rothman 8K

Jen A. Miller, For The Inquirer
Thursday, November 15, 2012

When Frances Koons lists her reasons for running the 2012 Rothman 8K race on Saturday, she points out the same attributes that draw almost every other runner in the Philadelphia area.

"It's close, so we don't need to wake up early and drive somewhere," said Koons, 26, who lives in Ardmore, which is just shy of five miles away from Center City. "It's a nice, flat course."

What Koons leaves out is that she won the women's race in 2009 in 26 minutes, 34 seconds and that this will be her first return to the distance in three years.

Koons, an Allentown native, ran track at Allentown Central Catholic High School and then for Villanova. While at 'Nova, she was named an all-American eight times and racked up a first-place Big East finish in the 1,500 meters in 2006 and the 1,000 and mile indoor titles in 2007, along with first-place finishes in the distance-medley relay and the 4x800 relay.

"She's a very determined individual," said her coach, Marcus O'Sullivan, the director of Villanova's track and field program who still holds the course record for the Rothman 8K. He set the mark in 1997 at 23 minutes, 3 seconds.

"She's incredibly tough and very ambitious," he said.

O'Sullivan added that Koons is also "remarkably positive."

Case in point: When talking about injuries that have hampered her running career, Koons references plantar fasciitis, which is the thickening of tissue on the bottom of the foot followed by a stress fracture, not a 2007 bout with clear-cell renal carcinoma.

A golf-ball-size tumor was removed from her kidney in the summer of 2007. She took six weeks off and was back in running shape in time for the 2008 U.S. Olympic track and field trials.

After graduating in 2009, Koons went right into a master's degree program at Villanova for applied statistics. And she kept running, winning the Rothman 8K in 2009 and the Penn Relays 5K in 2010. She set two personal bests in 2011: a 4:31 mile and a 15:29 5K.

She took time off from her degree to train with the New Jersey-New York Track Club, an elite group of runners based at Rutgers in New Brunswick, N.J. It's the first track club of its kind on the East Coast and it sent one runner to the Olympics this summer.

But, earlier this year, Koons decided to come back to Pennsylvania to finish her master's while also working as an assistant coach to the men's cross-country team. She also wanted to be coached by O'Sullivan.

This year has been a struggle because of the foot injury, but O'Sullivan said the Rothman 8K has been an excellent training goal for Koons, who considers it a "season opener" for the forthcoming indoor and outdoor track seasons.

"I'd like to someday get into longer races," she said when asked about moving up to the half-marathon or marathon distance. "But for now, the aim next spring will be the 5K again."

That's after Koons crosses another Rothman 8K off her race list.

Box Draws for NCAA Cross Country Nationals

Here are the box draws for teams and at-large individuals for this Saturday's cross country nationals. The Villanova men are in box 22, about the exact center of the race start. The Villanova women are in box 9, about one-quarter of the way off the edge. The boxes are assigned randomly, by computer allocation.

Xc 12 National Box Draw

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Nicky Akande is Mid-Atlantic Region Athlete of the Year

Villanova junior Nicky Akande has been named NCAA Mid-Atlantic Regional Cross Country Athlete of the Year. A Villanova women has now won this award for the 5th straight year (after Frances Koons in 2008, and Sheila Reid in 2009, 2010, 2011). Akande has enjoyed a great fall campaign. She finished 2nd at the Main Line Invitational at Haverford, 8th at the Paul Short Run at Lehigh, 26th at Pre-Nationals in Louisville, and 3rd at the Big East championships at Van Cortlandt Park in New York. She capped those performances by winning the NCAA Mid-Atlantic regional at Penn State.

The release from the USTFCCCA is HERE.

Here is the official news release from Villanova:

Nicky Akande Named Mid-Atlantic Region Athlete of the Year
Villanova junior won individual title at NCAA regional meet last week

NEW ORLEANS--For the fifth consecutive season a Villanova runner has been chosen as the Mid-Atlantic Region Athlete of the Year by the United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA). Junior Nicky Akande (Lawrenceville, Ga.) was announced as this year's winner on Tuesday night after winning the individual title at the NCAA Mid-Atlantic Regional last week.

Akande made great strides as a sophomore last season to emerge as one of the Wildcats most dependable runners and this year she has become a fixture at the top of the team's lineup. At the NCAA regional last Friday she cruised to a nine-second margin of victory and registered a career-best time of 20:14 on a 6,000 meter course.

This is the second straight year that Akande has earned All-Mid Atlantic Region honors for a top 25 finish at the regional meet. She also earned All-BIG EAST accolades for the second straight year after coming in third at the conference meet last month.

Led by Akande, fellow junior Emily Lipari (Greenvale, N.Y.) - the BIG EAST individual champion - and senior Summer Cook (Thornton, Colo.) the Wildcats have earned a team berth to the NCAA Championships for the fifth straight year. Villanova was selected as one of 13 at-large bids to the field of 31 teams that will compete in the national championship meet this coming Saturday afternoon.

In four scored meets this season Akande has been the top Villanova finisher two times and has been the team's second runner in the other two races. Prior to the first two postseason meets she led the Wildcats with an eighth place finish at the Paul Short Run and also came in 26th at the Pre-NCAA Meet.

The NCAA Championships are being held at E.P. Tom Sawyer State Park in Louisville and the women's race begins on Saturday at Noon.

NOTES: Villanova has produced the Mid-Atlantic Region Athlete of the Year in cross country every year since 2008 ... That year Frances Koons was the winner, while most recently Sheila Reid was a three-time recipient of the award from 2009-11.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Overview of Villanova Cross Country in the NCAA Championships

Villanova Women's Cross Country

NCAA Team Championships: 9
1989, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1998, 2009, 2010

NCAA Individual Champions: 9
Vicki Huber (1989)
Sonia O'Sullivan (1990, 1991)
Carole Zajac (1992, 1993)
Jen Rhines (1994)
Carrie Tollefson (1997)
Sheila Reid (2010, 2011)

Team Finishes
Year Place Score  
1983	14	337
1984	 9	256
1985	16	341
1986	13	279
1989	 1	 99
1990	 1	 82
1991	 1	 85
1992	 1	123
1993	 1	 66
1994	 1	 75
1995	 3	151
1996	 2	106
1998	 1	106
1999	21	462
2000	20	482
2001	24	560
2002	 8	256
2003	11	380
2004	 7	277
2005	21	497
2008	 6	248
2009	 1	 86
2010	 1	120
2011     3      181 

Villanova Men's Cross Country

NCAA Team Championships: 4
1966, 1967, 1968, 1970

NCAA Individual Champions: 1
Vic Zwolak (1963)
Team Finishes
Year Place Score  
1962	 2	 69
1963	 9	237
1964	12	304
1966	 1	 79
1967	 1	 91
1968	 1	 78
1969	 2	 88
1970	 1	 85
1971	 4	161
1976	21	486
1978	15	386
1979	 7	245
1980	 9	298
1981	13	377
1983	14	322
1992	 4	153
1994	 9	263
1995	15	302
1996	19	445
1999	17	424
2000	 6	181
2001	 8	282
2002	12	398
2003	11	350
2007	25	526
2008	31	643
2009	11	359
2010	23	550
2011    13      352

Vic Zwolak: Villanova's Only Individual Male XC Champion

Despite NCAA team titles in 1966, 1967, 1968, and 1970, to say nothing of numerous team top-ten finishes and dozens of All-Americans since then, only one Villanova male harrier has ever won the NCAA cross country individual title. Vic Zwolak won that title in 1963, a year when the Villanova men finished 9th in the team competition (going 1-23-57-59-87-(112)-(117)). Zwolak led the 4-mile race from start to finish: he was in first place at 1 mile (4:34), 2 miles (9:39), and 3 miles (14:46), before ultimately winning the race in 19:35. Zwolak also won two NCAA titles (1963 and 1964) in the 3000 meter steeplechase.

Villanova Running highlighted Zwolak previously HERE.

Here are the top finishers in that 1963 cross country national championship race:

Twenty-fifth Annual National Collegiate Athletic Association University Division
Cross Country Championships held at Michigan State University, East Lansing, on
Tuesday, November 26, 1963, at 11:30 a.m.

 l.  Victor Zwolak            Villanova          19:35 
 2.  John Camien              Kansas State       19:38
 3.  Jeffrey M. Fishback      San Jose State     19:48
 4.  Geoff Walker             Houston            19:53
 5.  Danny  L . Murphy        San Jose State     19:56
 6.  G. Douglas Brown         Montana State      19:59
 7.  Richard A. Schramm       Miami              20:04
 8.  Ben F. Tucker            San Jose State     20:06
 9.  Arthur Scott             Idaho State        20:07
10.  Richard Sharkey          Michigan State     20:08
11.  Clayton Steinke          Oregon             20:09
12.  Walter Hewlett           Harvard            20:10
13.  Bill Clark               Notre Dame         20:11
l4.  Ken Moore                Oregon             20:14
15.  David  Highton           Colorado           20:16
16.  Frank Carver             Notre Dame         20:19
l7.  Jack Bacheler            Miami              20:20
18.  Herman E. Gurule         San Jose State     20:21
19.  Ralph A. Lingle          Missouri           20:23
20.  William J. Straub        Army               20:25

Monday, November 12, 2012

Villanova Women Receive At-Large Invite to XC Nationals
Invite is 5th Straight & 25th Overall for the 9-Time Champs

Here is the press release from Villanova's official athletic website, announcing that the Villanova women have received an at-large bid to cross country nationals. The Villanova women were the next-to-last at-large team invited to the national meet. They will join the Villanova men who received at automatic bid to nationals based on their second-place finish at the Mid-Atlantic Regional. The women finished third at the regional and thus were forced to rely on a non-automatic selection.

The Villanova women won the NCAA team title in 2009 and 2010, and finished 3rd last year (see photo above). They have won 9 NCAA titles overall.

Women's Cross Country Receives At-Large Bid to NCAA Championships
Wildcats earn fifth straight team berth in national meet after strong regional showing

Nov. 11, 2012

VILLANOVA, Pa. - One day after a strong performance at the regional championships the Villanova women's cross country team learned on Saturday that it had received a team berth to the NCAA Championships, which take place at E.P. Tom Sawyer State Park in Louisville next weekend. This is the fifth consecutive year that the Wildcats have earned a team bid to the 31-team NCAA field. Villanova was one of 13 teams chosen for as an at-large selection.

The berth in the NCAA Championships comes on the heels of strong performances by the Wildcats in their last two meets. Villanova came in fourth at the BIG EAST Championships on October 26 and more recently finished third in a close race at the NCAA Mid-Atlantic Regional on Friday afternoon. Leading into the regional meet the Wildcats had been ranked second or third in the region in every poll this season, including holding down the No. 2 spot in the USTFCCCA Mid-Atlantic Region poll for the first month of the season.

Villanova has fire power at the top of its lineup with the junior duo of Nicky Akande (Lawrenceville, Ga.) and Emily Lipari (Greenvale, N.Y.), who have combined for top-three finishes in each of their last two races. Akande captured the NCAA Mid-Atlantic Region individual title by a nine-second margin on Friday and Lipari placed third in a reversal of their finishes at the BIG EAST meet two weeks earlier. Lipari was the BIG EAST individual champion and Akande finished third in that race.

Senior Summer Cook (Thornton, Colo.) has solidified herself in the Wildcats lineup this season and joined Akande and Lipari in earning both All-Mid Atlantic Region and All-BIG EAST accolades. All three runners were among the Villanova top-seven at the NCAA Championships last season.

The women's national championship race begins at Noon on Saturday and the Wildcats will be returning to E.P. Tom Sawyer Park, where they registered a seventh place finish at the Pre-NCAA Meet last month. The site was also host to the BIG EAST Championships last season.

Each of the top five teams in the BIG EAST received a berth to the NCAA Championships, including three automatic bids and two at-large selections. Connecticut, Georgetown and Providence all finished first or second at their respective regional championships to earn an automatic bid, while Villanova and Notre Dame were at-large picks.

This will be the 25th appearance at the NCAA Championships for the Wildcats, whose nine titles all-time are four more than any other women's program has. Over the years Villanova has crowned nine individual champions and also has the distinction of having won the most consecutive team titles with six in a row from 1989-1994.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Nova Men Qualify for Cross Nationals with 2nd at XC Regional

Villanova's men ran a strong race today at Penn State's Blue & White course at the Mid-Atlantic Regional. The team (57 places) finished second, a mere 1 place behind Georgetown (56). Princeton was beaten into third, with 61 places. The hero of the day award goes to Alex Tully who ran the race of his life, finishing 14th overall, in 30:49. In a race where the top three teams were separated by a mere 5 places, Tully's dynamic run was critical in getting Villanova to nationals.

The Villanova men were in a strong position at the half-way mark, when they led the team competition with 33 places, ahead of Penn State (77), Georgetown (93), and regional #1 Princeton (95). Princeton moved up after 3 miles and with a mile to go crept within 45 to 60, with Georgetown at 65 and Penn State at 123. Ultimately, Georgetown was able to inch ahead, but Villanova held off Princeton to guarantee its place in Louisville. The Villanova men finished with an impressive 20 second 1-5 spread.

Full results are HERE.

 2.  Sam McEntee         30:34
 4.  Jordy Williamsz     30:36
14.  Alex Tully          30:49
18.  Mathew Mildenhall   30:53
19.  Rob Denault         30:54   
43.  Brian Basili        31:30
50.  Matt Kane           31:42

Team Scores
1.  Georgetown      8-9-11-13-15-(17)-(65)      56
2.  Villanova       2-4-14-18-19-(43)-(50)      57
3.  Princeton       3-5-6-21-26-(29)-(32)       61
4.  American        7-16-22-49-51              145
5.  Penn State      12-25-28-40-42-(46)-(94)   147

Villanova's Nicky Akande Takes NCAA Regional Crown
Third Place Women on Bubble for Nationals

Today at Penn State's Blue & White course, Villanova's Nicky Akande won the individual NCAA Mid-Atlantic regional title, with Emily Lipari in third, but the women faded a bit over the finals kilometers and came third in the team standing. They are now clearly in jeopardy of not gaining an invite to the national meet. The women dropped from the team lead at one mile, and the second spot at three miles, to finish third behind winner Penn State (61) and Georgetown (63). Villanova finished with 95 places, and Princeton was fourth with 101. Since only the top two teams at regionals are awarded an automatic berth at cross country nationals in Louisville, the Villanova women will have to hope for an at-large bid. Should that bid not be forthcoming, Nicky Akande (as regional winner) and Emily Lipari (who won the Big East individual title two weeks ago and who was 7th at Pre-Nationals) would likely be invited as at-large individual competitors.

Full results are HERE.

Here's how the Villanova women finished:

 1.  Nicky Akande           20:14
 3.  Emily Lipari           20:27
14.  Summer Cook            20:52
33.  Courtney Chapman       21:42
45.  Megan Venables         21:58
51.  Sydney Harris          22:06
52.  Stephanie Schappert    22:06

Here's how the top five teams fared (places are individual, not team, places):
1.  Penn State    4-6-10-20-21     61
2.  Georgetown    5-11-13-16-18    63
3.  Villanova     1-3-14-33-45     95
4.  Princeton     8-12-17-28-36   101
5.  W. Virginia   7-22-24-27-33   111

PA State XC Runner-Up Brent Kennedy Eyeing Villanova

Here's an article on Brent Kennedy of Kiski Area high school from today's Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Kennedy, a junior, was class AAA runner-up at last week's Pennsylvania state cross country championships. He has already visited Villanova and Syracuse on recruiting trips, and is also interested in Notre Dame, Virginia, and Virginia Tech.

Kennedy's Mile Split page is HERE.

PIAA Cross Country: Kiski's Kennedy a silver streak in Hershey
November 9, 2012 12:07 am
By Cara De Carlo / Tri-State Sports & News Service

Kiski Area junior Brent Kennedy bolted to a 15:52 finish at last Saturday's PIAA Class AAA cross country championship meet in Hershey.

He placed second to West Chester Henderson's Tony Russell, earning a silver medal.

The race actually began as though the runners were in a can of sardines.

"We were all packed together through at least the first half of the race," Kennedy said. "It's a downhill start for the first mile so everyone goes out really hard."

Kennedy kept his pace as the course went into the "Aloha Hills" -- a series of dips and U-turns in which the spectators wave hello and goodbye to their favorite runners. The disruptive terrain was stirring Kennedy's pack but he kept his sights on Russell. At 2 miles in, Russell's pace intensified to take a seven-second lead on Kennedy.

"[Russell] was about that far ahead of me for the last mile of the race," Kennedy recalled.

He said that didn't intimidate him, though.

The path continued up the course's last hill -- a 100-meter quad-drainer known as "Poop Out Hill." It was on that hill that Kennedy stayed strong and separated himself from the 217 remaining finishers.

Kennedy's second place finish was definitive -- four seconds ahead of Corry Area's Austin Pondel. But Kennedy had had his eye on a victory.

"I just didn't have enough for the win at states," Kennedy said. "Tony Russell is a great runner and he deserves it. I can't be too unhappy."

Saturday's state meet wasn't Kennedy's first race against Russell.

"I raced him this year at the Carlisle Invitational," Kennedy said. "I knew he'd be up there [in front at states]."

Kennedy had actually beaten Russell in the 1,600-meter event at the PIAA track and field championships at Shippensburg last May. The two made it to the finals, where Kennedy finished eighth and Russell finished less than one second behind him.

As Russell and Kennedy finished their runs on Saturday, the two were happy for each other.

"We're all pretty good friends," said Kennedy, referring to himself and many of his cross country opponents. "We're all doing the same type of thing."

Two days after Hershey, Kennedy was at Villanova University on a college visit that included a meeting with the cross country coach. The next day, Kennedy was scheduled to visit Syracuse.

"I'm just trying to check out all my options," Kennedy said. "The list is getting bigger, I guess."

Kennedy is a junior and does not intend to make a final college decision until his senior year. Nonetheless, he attended track/cross country camps at Notre Dame and at the University of Virginia last summer. Since that time, Virginia Tech has also joined Kennedy's list of potential schools.

Before Kennedy can don spikes for the right college or university, he's got a lot of running still to do for Kiski Area. Kennedy said he's looking forward to running track this spring, especially if the competition includes Russell.

"I'm looking forward to getting the chance to race [Russell] again" said Kennedy. "There'll be some fast times and good competition there."

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Reid, Koons in Elite Field for Rothman Institute 8K

Sheila Reid will make her Nike pro debut a week from Saturday at the Rothman Institute 8K. Her scheduled debut as a Nike-sponsored runner (The Dash to the Finish Line 5K in New York City, as part of the NYC marathon weekend) was cancelled duo to the recent storm. Reid will be joined by a former Villanova teammate and All-American Frances Koons. Koons won this race in 2009. Here is the press release for the event. As noted below, Villanova's own Marcus O'Sullivan still holds the Rothman Institute 8K course record -- an uber-quick 23:03 that has stood for 15 years.

Athletics: Rothman Institute 8K Elite Field Announced

PHILADELPHIA - The 2012 Rothman Institute 8K announces an impressive field of elite runners this year led by Philadelphia-area standouts Samuel Ndereba, Sheila Reid, Frances Koons, Samantha McNally, Cecily Tynan, Chris Heisey, John Itati and Matt Sadercock.

The Rothman Institute 8K (4.97 miles) -- held on Saturday, November 17 on Philadelphia Marathon Race Weekend -- is a great way to take part in Race Weekend. Runners will start on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, near the Philadelphia Museum of Art -- looking out upon City Hall -- before taking a turn on the scenic banks of the Schuylkill River and Kelly Drive.

Female Runners to Watch

The fastest entrant in the field is Sheila Reid, a 2012 Olympian (5,000 Meters, Canada) and an NCAA All-American from Villanova. Frances Koons, the 2009 Rothman Institute 8K champion and an NCAA All-American from Villanova, is trying to reclaim the title.

A few women will be doubling, running both the 8K and the Philadelphia Half Marathon on Sunday including Hirsute Madero (Flagstaff, AZ) -- the 2010 8K runner-up and the 2010 Philadelphia Half Marathon winner -- and Kenya's Helen Jemutai, who won the Tufts 10K in Chicago in October.

Other notables are: Samantha McNally (Doylestown, PA), who qualified for the 2012 Olympic Trials while running in the 2011 Philadelphia Marathon; Amy Van Alstine (Midland Park, NJ) who boasts a 15:43 5K PR; American University standout Erin Koch (Chevy Chase, MD); and Marissa Ryan who enters with a 33:36 10K PR.

The 2011 Masters Champion and local favorite, Cecily Tynan (Media, PA), will be back to defend her title in the Masters Division.

Male Runners to Watch

Kenya's Samuel Ndereba (Philadelphia, PA), the 2011 Rothman 8K winner, is back to defend his title. Ndereba also will be competing in the Philadelphia Half Marathon, and should be a contender in that race as well; he is just coming off of a victory at the Des Moines Half Marathon on Sunday, October 21.

Looking to stand in the way of a repeat victory for Ndereba are some speedy international runners including 2011's second-place finisher Ethiopian John Itati (Royersford, PA); Kenya's Emmanuel Bor, a University of Alabama graduate with a 23:18 8K PR (Bor will also be running the Half Marathon on Sunday), and Harbert Okuti (New Paltz, NY) is Uganda's 5K record-holder.

Scott Smith (Flagstaff, AZ), with a 28:33 10K PR, is the top American prospect in the men's field. Other Americans to keep an eye on include Chris Pannone (Gardiner, NY) with a 2:18 Boston Marathon time this year; University of Pennsylvania alumni Phillip Kawkwell; Jonny Wilson (Flagstaff, AZ) and Temple Podiatry student Chris Heisey (Philadelphia, PA).

Going for a three-peat in the Masters Division is two-time winner Matt Sandercock (Exton, PA), the 2010 and 2011 masters Rothman 8K winner.

Registration for the Rothman Institute 8K is available at, costs $45 and closes on November 11, 2012.

Rothman Institute 8K Records
Men: Marcus O'Sullivan, Time: 23:03 (1997)
Women: Svetlana Zakharova, Time: 25:37 (2001)

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

John Kellogg Handicaps the Mid-Atlantic XC Regional

Here's the perspective of John Kellogg of the running website He sees the Villanova teams on the bubble in their quest to qualify for the NCAA cross country national meet. Each team is sitting at #3 in the region, with only the top two team finishers getting an automatic slot at Nationals.

2012 NCAA Regional Formchart – Mid-Atlantic Region

by John Kellogg
November 7, 2012 Editor's note: LetsRun's coaching/stat guru John Kellogg has done what basically no one else in the world would have the expertise/patience to do – predict what his going to happen at Friday’s NCAA D1 cross country regionals. The top two teams in each region and top four individuals not on a team that qualifies will make it to NCAAs. Then 13 at large teams will be added in and two at large individuals. If someone wants to take the time to tell us who the at-large teams teams and individuals will be based on these previews, then please email us as we’d love to put that up later in the week. We imagine even the great John Kellogg is bound to have missed someone in these predictions, so if you have corrections, please email them to us.

Mr. Kellogg seemingly comes out of hibernation every few months to make predictions in the running world. He did Regional previews in 2011 and 2008 and in the spring of 2010, he said it wouldn’t surprise him if someone ran faster than 2:03:59 in Boston and then Geoffrey Mutai ran 2:03:02 and after the race everyone (except us) was saying the unthinkable had happened.

Mr. Kelllogg has scoured the season’s results – with the most weight given to recent (conference meet) performances – to take a guess at who should be the top 25 individuals and few teams in each of the nine regions. A lot of runners were considered for the top 25 and he’ll undoubtedly get quite a few wrong – someone just outside his top 25 has just as good a chance as someone who just made it – and there are always a couple of huge surprises. Team scores are generally based on the strengths of the top teams relative to each other (discounting many of the runners outside the top 25 or so from non-contending teams) and will probably end up being higher than he’s listed them due to displacement from those individuals. In short, this is a pretty good general idea of who should be in the hunt, but it’s still bound to get a bunch of it completely wrong. So basically this is all for S&Gs. We hop you enjoy them. For more on the logic behind the picks, please see last year’s instructions.


Blue And White Golf Course, University Park, Pennsylvania



Georgetown’s Mark Dennin finished 6th in this region a year ago and would be the top returner, but he hasn’t raced since winning at Paul Short over a month ago. Directly behind him in 7th at last year’s Regional was teammate Andrew Springer, who has run well of late and came in 6th at Big East to lead the Hoyas. He should be challenged by Princeton’s recently-crowned HEPS champion Chris Bendtsen. Bendtsen has been running second for Princeton throughout most of the season, but his last effort made him a conference champion, so he gets the top spot in the formchart. Tiger teammate Alejandro Arroyo-Yamin has actually had the best overall season of anyone in the field, including a 31st place at Wisconsin, best of the region’s runners in that massive race. Duquesne’s Jim Spisak was on fire until recently, with 3rd at Paul Short and 13th at Pre-Nationals, but then slipped back to 22nd at Atlantic 10. That conference meet was won by 8:36.10 steepler and 1st team All-American Travis Mahoney (Temple) ahead of LaSalle’s Alfredo Santana, who has put up some pretty impressive results of his own this fall. Santana was 14th in the region last year and is the 3rd returner (minus Dennin).

Chris Bendtsen (Princeton)
Andrew Springer (Georgetown)
Alejandro Arroyo-Yamin (Princeton)
Travis Mahoney (Temple)
Ben Furcht (Georgetown)
Tyler Udland (Princeton)
Alfredo Santana (LaSalle)
Darren Fahy (Georgetown)
Sam McEntee (Villanova)
Jim Spisak (Duquesne)

Jonathan Vitez (Princeton)
Mathew Mildenhall (Villanova)
Eddie Owens (Princeton)
Mark Allen (American)
Miles Schoedler (Georgetown)
Robert Denault (Villanova)
Logan Mohn (St. Joseph’s)
Tyler Mueller (Lehigh)
Matt McDonald (Princeton)
Jordy Williamsz (Villanova)

John Dugan (Bucknell)
Ryan Mahalsky (Lehigh)
Jonathan Mazzio (St. Joseph’s)
Robby Creese (Penn State)
John Murray (Georgetown)


Princeton, surprised big-time by a monster race from conference rivals Columbia at Wisconsin, went into the Ivy League meet as underdogs for the first time in a long time, but galloped to the top two individual spots and placed 4 in the top 7 on their home course to emerge with a convincing 26-58 victory over the Lions. Princeton also beat Georgetown head-to-head very early in the season. Though early September meets don’t matter in November, the 13th-ranked Tigers should still be the favorites here if they run on a par with their HEPS race. Villanova got the best of Georgetown at Pre-Nationals by a scant 13 points and one team spot, but the Wildcats were relegated to 5th at Big East, where the Hoyas came up for second. Ergo, the pre-meet edge goes to Georgetown for the 2nd auto spot.




Big East champ Emily Lipari (Villanova) gets the nod as the favorite in the region, also having the most impressive regular season result of any of the field’s runners – a 7th place at Pre-Nationals. Meghan McGlinchey of LaSalle raced to 33rd at Wisconsin and a runner-up finish at Atlantic 10. Assuming she runs up to expectations here, there’s a small chance she could be the only individual NCAA qualifier to finish in the top 10 in the meet. Most of the other top spots stand to be occupied by runners from the four currently ranked or formerly ranked teams in the region. One spot behind McGlinchey at Wisco was Penn State’s Rebekka Simko, who continued her strong running with 5th place at Big Ten. West Virginia has been without injured XC All-American Kaitlyn Gillespie all season, but the Mountaineers regained 2011 10k All-American Sarah-Anne Brault just in time for the Big 12 meet. Brault is actually the top returner in the region (not counting Gillespie) and raced to 10th at Big 12 – perhaps not strong enough to win the Regional but an impressive rust buster nonetheless, with the likes of Iowa State, Oklahoma State and Texas in the conference.

Emily Lipari (Villanova)
Meghan McGlinchey (LaSalle)
Rebekka Simko (Penn State)
Nicky Akande (Villanova)
Madeline Chambers (Georgetown)
Katrina Coogan (Georgetown)
Sarah-Anne Brault (West Virginia)
Tori Perri (Penn State)
Annamarie Maag (Georgetown)
Brooklyne Ridder (Penn State)

Summer Cook (Villanova)
Greta Feldman (Princeton)
Kelly Williams (West Virginia)
Samantha Nadel (Georgetown)
Kirsten Kasper (Georgetown)
Annie-Norah Beveridge (Navy)
Emily Jones (Georgetown)
Sarah Martinelli (West Virginia)
Rachael Schneider (Georgetown)
Abby Levene (Princeton)

Jordan Hamric (West Virginia)
Jackie Nicholas (Princeton)
Brigid Byrne (Navy)
Megan Venables (Villanova)
Natalie Bower (Penn State)


Last fall, Georgetown pulled off a minor upset over a few teams to win the national championship, with Villanova in 3rd, West Virginia 8th and Penn State 13th. This made the Mid-Atlantic, geographically the smallest region, the strongest one in the country on race day. It’s a competitive region for sure. G’Town is currently ranked 9th in the coaches poll and, having won their conference, the Hoyas do look to be the top team in the region, but winning it won’t be a gimme. Villanova is extremely good at 1 & 2 and still quite formidable through 3, but lack of depth prevented the Wildcats from rising higher than 4th at Big East, and they may face the same scenario here. Penn State and West Virginia may be behind ‘Nova after four runners are scored but have a chance to make up the gap by the time all five come in. The qualifying scenario is too complicated to figure until results from all the regions are in, but Villanova and West Virginia had better be aiming for top two. PSU almost certainly makes Nationals with a 3rd place team result, but there’s a chance they don’t if they’re any lower in the standings.

Penn State
West Virginia

Running Times: Who Gets in at NCAA Cross Nationals?

For the first times in several years, Villanova's cross country teams have a lot to worry about as we approach the NCAA cross country regional weekend. Both the women's (#25) and men's (#35) teams are ranked well off the top end of the national polls and sit outside the top two teams in the Mid-Atlantic region. There is real doubt on the question of whether or not each will make it to the NCAA national meet in Louisville. Here is an excellent article from the folks at Running Times that describes the process of filling the list of teams (and at-large individuals) that will be invited to the national meet. Villanova's squads have some real work in front of them on Friday as Penn State hosts the regional.

NCAA Nationals: Who Gets In?
Understanding the selection process for cross country’s premier event
By John A. Kissane
As featured in the Web Only issue of Running Times Magazine

On Nov. 17, a total of 255 men and 255 women will compete in the NCAA Division I Cross Country Championships at E. P. “Tom” Sawyer State Park in Louisville, Ky. The breakdown goes like this: 31 seven-person teams (217 athletes) plus 38 individuals who are not members of any of those 31 teams.

So which teams make up that field? The easiest to understand is the automatic qualifying. The week before nationals, on Nov. 9, nine regional meets — the Great Lakes, Mid-Atlantic, Midwest, Mountain, Northeast, South, South Central, Southeast and West — are held around the country. Each region automatically advances the top two teams (seven runners apiece), as well as the top four individual finishers not on qualifying teams. If you’re doing the math, you’ll see that 162 runners automatically make it to nationals based on the results of the regionals.

That’s the easy part, because there’s no analysis or decision-making involved. But filling out the fields with 13 more teams and two additional individuals is where things get dicey. This task falls to members of the NCAA Division I Track and Field Subcommittee, who will announce their selections the Sunday following regionals (i.e., Nov. 11) after they've analyzed regular season, conference and regional results and applied selection criteria to determine the at-large qualifiers.

“It’s a really fair system, without any backroom politicking,” says Dartmouth men’s coach Barry Harwick, who also serves as President of the NCAA Division I Cross Country Executive Committee. “We’ll run our meet on Friday and the guys will be getting results from the other regions on the trip home, and by the time we get back we’ll pretty much know who the 13 at-large qualifiers are, before they’re announced. That shows the transparency of the system.”

The selection process is somewhat complicated, but here is a brief overview of how it works:

• The subcommittee begins its work by placing the third- and fourth-place teams from each of the nine regions onto a board. Then they review the season performances of those 18 teams, to determine “wins” they might have against the 18 automatic qualifiers during a maximum of seven competition opportunities. The first at-large berth is awarded to the team with the highest win total. The subcommittee is required to review no fewer than 18 teams at all times during the selection process, so with the selection of each at-large team, the subcommittee immediately moves the next team from that same region (based on regional finish place) onto the board of 18 teams and again evaluates all 18 together. Each time an at-large selection is made, remaining teams having beaten the newly selected team are awarded a “win” to add to their point totals.

• Teams must be considered for at-large berths in the order of their regional finish, and a fourth-place team may not be selected for an at-large berth ahead of a third-place team from the same region. Lower-finishing teams may be selected ahead of higher-finishing teams from different regions. (For instance, a team finishing fourth in the West region can get in ahead of a team finishing third in the Great Lakes region.)

But what happens if the fourth-place team from one region (say, team X) has more wins than the third-place team from the same region (team Y)? That’s where the so-called “push process” comes in. The subcommittee is obligated to extend at-large bids to both teams X and Y, so in effect team Y “pushes” team X into the national championship meet. Also, points (wins) will not be awarded to teams having defeated any team advancing into the championships by virtue of the push process.

If any two teams under consideration tied for total wins, the committee will look at head-to-head results. If head-to-head wins and losses are equal (e.g., each of the two teams has a record of 2-2 against the other), the committee may give greater consideration to the most recent competition. Furthermore, wins can only be accumulated against an opponent’s “A” team, which is considered to consist of four or more individuals who competed at the regional meet.

Regular-season scheduling — and a team’s travel budget — can help a team that’s on the qualifying bubble. “Teams with the ability to travel outside their regions have some advantage, in that they’re able to compete against more of the highly ranked teams to get wins,” Harwick says. “So teams without the financial wherewithal to travel are stuck if they finish outside the top two at regionals.”

In addition to selecting 13 at-large teams, the subcommittee will also select two at-large individuals. These will be the two highest-finishing nonautomatic qualifiers from the nine regional meets. For instance, in 2011, Lauren Sara of Connecticut, who finished sixth at the Northeast regional, and Duke’s Madeline Morgan, sixth at the Southeast regional, received the women’s at-large individual bids.

Here are the top four ranked teams in each regional, as of Nov. 5:

Men                                Women

Great Lakes                               Great Lakes
1. Wisconsin (6)                          1. Michigan (6)
2. Michigan (12)                          2. Michigan State (11)
3. Indiana (20)                           3. Toledo (18)
4. Notre Dame (28)                        4. Notre Dame (23)

Mid-Atlantic                              Mid-Atlantic
1. Princeton (13)                         1. Georgetown (9)
2. Georgetown (24)                        2. Penn State (15)
3. Villanova (NR)                         3. Villanova (25) 
4. Penn State (NR)                        4. West Virginia (NR)

Midwest                                   Midwest
1. Oklahoma State (1)                     1. Iowa State (2)
2. Oklahoma (8)                           2. Oklahhoma State (21)
3. Tulsa (19)                             3. Minnesota (28)
4. Illinois (NR)                          4. Tulsa (NR)

Mountain                                  Mountain
1. Colorado (2)                           1. Weber State (13)
2. BYU (7)                                2. New Mexico (17)
3. New Mexico (16)                        3. Colorado (24)
4. Northern Arizona (18)                  4. Colorado State (NR)

Northeast                                 Northeast
1. Iona (4)                               1. Cornell (8)
2. Syracuse (14)                          2. Connecticut (16)
3. Columbia (22)                          3. Providence (20)
4. Providence (NR)                        4. Boston College (27)

South                                     South
1. Florida State (23)                     1. Florida State (1)
2. Georgia (26)                           2. Florida (14)
3. Florida (NR)                           3. Vanderbilt (NR)
4. E. Tennessee State (NR)                4. Mississippi (NR)

South Central                            South Central
1. Texas (5)                             1. Arkansas (12)
2. Arkansas (10)                         2. Texas (22)
3. Texas A&M (29)                        3. SMU (NR)    
4. McNeese State (NR)                    4. LSU (NR)

Southeast                                Southeast
1. Eastern Kentucky (15)                 1. Duke (10)
2. Virginia Tech (17)                    2. William & Mary (19)
3. Virginia (21)                         3. NC State (30)
4. NC State (NR)                         4. Kentucky (NR)

West                                     West
1. Stanford (3)                          1. Oregon (3)
2. Portland (9)                          2. Ariziona (4)
3. Oregon (11)                           3. Stanford (5)
4. Arizona State (25)                    4. Washington (7)

Monday, November 5, 2012

NCAA Cross Country Mid-Atlantic Regional: Villanova Entries

Here are the Villanova harriers who will compete at this weekend's cross country Mid-Atlantic regional. The top two team finishers in the Regionals are ensured a spot at the national meet, with several at-large teams selected after the automatic slots are filled. Twelve men and eleven women will compete at Penn State's University Park course. Only three of the twenty-three Wildcats are seniors.

The complete list of competitors for all teams is HERE.

Villanova Men
Basili, Brian          549   SO
Denault, Robert        550   FR
Kane, Matthew          551   SR
McEntee, Sam           552   SO
Mildenhall, Mathew     553   SR
Morrin, Greg           554   JR
O'Sullivan, Chris      555   SO
Pickhaver, John        556   JR
Solis, Dusty           557   SO
Trainer, Thomas        558   FR
Tully, Alex            559   JR
Williamsz, Jordy       560   FR

Villanova Women
Akande, Nicky          277   JR
Bungo, Caitlin         278   FR
Chapman, Courtney      279   SO
Cook, Summer           280   JR
Harris, Sydney         281   FR
Lipari, Emily          282   JR
Margey, Kelsey         283   FR
Schappert, Stephanie   284   SO
Smith, Meghan          285   SR
Tucker, Leanne         286   FR
Venables, Megan        287   SO

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Adrian Blincoe Leaving Villanova for Kiwi Coaching Position
Fond Farewell & Best Wishes in New Zealand

All the best to Adrian Blincoe as he returns to his homeland in New Zealand. He is to assume a new position in Auckland with Sport New Zealand as a high performance ambassador and mentor. We're sure that he will provide athletes there with the level of excellence he displayed at Villanova since his arrival over a decade ago. His 13 year stay at Villanova witnessed glory as both an athlete (he won 3 NCAA championships, set a school record, and was a 7-time All American) and as a coach (he recruited doggedly in Australia and New Zealand, helping bring several top-notch runners to Villanova -- think Gibney, Mildenhall, Mackenzie, Beamish, McEntee, Williamsz, Guest, Jenkin, and so on). We at Villanova Running selected him the Villanova male runner of the decade for the 2000s (click HERE to re-visit that selection). In doing so, we highlighted his tremendous accomplishments as a student-athlete at Villanova:

Adrian Blincoe was a three-time NCAA champion and seven-time All American. He was the 2002 NCAA indoor champion at 3000 meters, and was NCAA runner-up at that distance in 2003. He also anchored two NCAA champion DMR teams (in 2002 and 2003). Blincoe also holds two school records: his 7:47.50 3000 meter time, achieved in Boston on January 27, 2002, erased Sydney Maree's previous mark. Moreover, Blincoe anchored the Villanova school record DMR team. While at Villanova he broke the 4:00 mile with his 3:58.19 indoors at the Armory on February 9, 2002. His other honors include anchoring the 2001 Penn Relays DMR Championship of America winner, 8 Big East titles, and a top-10 finish at the NCAA cross country nationals in 2000. In 2002 Blincoe was an NCAA finalist at 1500 meters outdoors (finishing 5th). In cross, Blincoe was the 2001 NCAA regional champion, finished 2nd in 2002, and was 3rd in 2000. He was runner-up at the 2001 Paul Short Invitational.

His accomplishments as a coach are obvious. During his 10-year tenure as assistant coach under Marcus O'Sullivan, Villanova produced a half dozen sub-4:00 milers, an NCAA individual champion over 5000 meters, a top-10 all-time NCAA 1500 meter man, a score of all-american certificates, numerous Penn Relay DMR wheels -- the list goes on. He brought glory to the Villanova program when he set a new New Zealand national record in the 5000 meters (13:10.19), when he represented his country on two Olympic teams, and multiple World Championship and Commonwealth Games squads.

Villanova gave back to Blincoe, as well. In addition to the first class education he received and the degree that he earned, Adrian met his future bride, Kelly Coyle, at Villanova. Together with their daughter Ella they make the trek to New Zealand, where Adrian will continue his professional running career and help develop the next generation of New Zealand athletes. Best wishes for continued professional success.

Here is the article detailing Blincoe's new responsibilities:

Athletics: Blincoe lured home to work with youth
The New Zealand Herald
Friday Nov 2, 2012

Olympian and New Zealand 5000m record holder Adrian Blincoe is helping identify and develop New Zealand's future talent in a new job at High Performance Sport New Zealand.

In his role as high performance athlete development advisor, Blincoe will work with targeted national sport organisations to put systems in place to identify and develop athletes so they can succeed at international level.

HPSNZ chief executive Alex Baumann said the overarching goal is to get more talented athletes into our high performance system so New Zealand can continue to succeed internationally.

"New Zealand has to compete on the world stage with much larger countries, whose sheer size means they will always have access to a number of top athletes," Baumann said. "As a smaller country, we need to take a more systematic approach to finding and developing our athletes, and Adrian's role will be crucial to that."

Blincoe has spent the past 12 years living in Philadelphia where he spent nine years running professionally for Team New Balance and seven years coaching at Villanova University.

He was assistant coach of track and field and cross country at Villanova University and focused on identifying and developing young talent.

Blincoe competed for New Zealand at Olympic Games, Commonwealth Games and world championships and holds the national record in the 5000m (13:10.19). He was a finalist at the 2006 and 2010 Commonwealth Games, and competed in the 5000m at the Beijing Olympics. An ankle injury prevented him from competing at the London Olympics.

"I'm very passionate about helping athletes develop their potential, and I am excited about the opportunity to do this here in New Zealand," said Blincoe, who started work in the job on October 15. "I'll be working with targeted sports on both specific initiatives and their overall athlete development systems so we can find individuals who may one day stand on the podium for New Zealand."