Monday, April 29, 2013


This is the first installment of a new series at Villanova Running called These Five Things.  The series will focus on Villanova's standout performers over the decades -- great runners at Villanova who helped create and solidify the glory of the Villanova program.

Mark Belger besting James Robinson
Given that the Penn Relays have just concluded, with more great performances from Villanova athletes, we start the series with Mark Belger, an All-American runner and NCAA Champion who ran at Villanova from 1974-1978.  Belger arrived at Villanova from Mepham high school in New York as one of the top  US high school runners over 880 yards.  No Villanova runner has won more Championship of America races at the Penn Relays -- 10 in all -- than Mark Belger.  He never lost a race at the Penn Relays.  He was twice (1977 and 1978) named the meet's most outstanding athlete. He was part of a relay world record as well: on February 7, 1976 Belger ran the opening 1200 meter leg of Villanova's world record Distance Medley Relay.  Belger, Glenn Bogue, Phil "Tiny" Kane, and Eamonn Coghlan set the world record in the DMR that night, running 9:38.4 at the Mason-Dixon Games in Louisville, Kentucky.

Lest you think that Belger was merely the beneficiary of Villanova's relay dominance at the Penn Relays at the time, individually Belger won two NCAA championships (1000i yards in 1976 and 880i yards in 1978), and was a 4-time NCAA finalist outdoors in the 800 meters (finishing 2nd in 1977 and 3rd in 1976).    He left Villanova in 1978 as the school record holder over 800 meters with a 1:45.85 PR.  His daughter Erin was also an NCAA 800 meter finalist for Cal-Berkeley in 2002, when she finished third in the NCAA final.  She boasted a 2:04.39 collegiate PR. 

George MacKay, Don Paige, Mark Belger, Phil Kane
Belger finished in the dreaded 4th spot at the 1976 USA Olympic Trials at that distance in 1:46.36, a mere .08 seconds out of third..  During his post-collegiate professional career, Belger at one point or another beat every major 800 meter runner in the world -- except Olympic gold medalists Steve Ovett and John Walker.

Given this illustrious series of accomplishments, it's appropriate that we initiate the These Five Things series with Mark Belger.  In this series, each person will be asked to reflect back on their days at Villanova, and to complete the following sentence:

"When I think back on my times at Villanova, both as a student and an athlete, more and more my thoughts revolve around These Five Things: . . . . "

Here are Mark Belger's responses to the question:

1. Recruitment

I grew up on Long Island on a dead end street; last house on the left. My block was a cornucopia of humble backgrounds. We had plumbers, teachers, volunteer fireman, city cops, gas station attendants, carpenters, engineers, retirees and housewives. My father was the self employed electrician, my mom a housewife and at one point a cafeteria lady at the local elementary school. We were German, Polish, Irish and Italians. We were Catholics, Protestants, and Jewish and as far a I knew we were the only home that didn't have a family phone or car -- those were for business use only.  And like most adolescents, I wanted to break the mold and get out.

Before my running career took off I thought the only way I was ever going to go to college was by joining the Army, and after a stint in Vietnam the government was going to pay my way through some sort of GI plan. With my running success things changed. I received more than a 100 recruitment letters from colleges and universities who were going to pay my way, room, board, tuition, everything.  Some of them even offered special treatment (one saying they would Tartan the floors in my dorm hallways if I wanted to do strides there).

Then came Jumbo.  Mr. Elliot.  He came to my home to visit with me and my parents. He was personable and positive. And instead of talking track and field he spent most of our time talking about the fact that graduating from a prestigious institution such as Villanova would make me, my parents, and Villanova proud.  He spoke of character, the quality of education, and the success of the Alumni worldwide. And he mentioned that I would only be a few hours from home and could visit nearly anytime I wanted... which was true, all of it.

I'm proud to be a Villanovan and my mom loved when I hitch hiked home every other month with a load of laundry and hungry for some of her home cooked meals.

2. Daily Life

After going to class, training and racing were the backbone to my existence for those 1400-plus days I spent at Villanova.

It was Jumbo who always said there were three things we could do while in college, but to succeed you could only chose two, and it was our choice to select wisely or suffer the consequences. The three choices were studying, sports, and socializing.

So my life went as follows: Up at 7am, usually when the Crew team was coming back from their morning row on the Schuylkill River, a quick a walk through cafeteria breakfast, morning classes, a quick lunch, early afternoon classes, a one-or-two hour training session (either out on the roads or on the cinder track), then, finally, a sit down meal. During the winter months I liked to sleep in so I blew off the early class and took a night class instead.

I learned most from my math and science professors but enjoyed religion, literature, and philosophy classes the most. My interests in statistics and calculus eventually got me to where I am today, but there was this socializing thing on certain nights that bugged me… it was call the “Cat’s Eye”-- the on campus bimonthly social event that required tickets to get in.

Being broke and unable to obtain tickets before they sold out, I needed to find a way in, which is where my marketing classes stepped in. Product Placement (2 off the 4 P’s). The Cat’s Eye was always oversold, so a few hours after the party started, we would walk up to the door with a table and chairs and talk our way in saying the tables and chairs were needed to support the overcrowding and that they were needed most next to where the libations were being served… it never failed.

3. Jack Pyrah

Jumbo was the recruiter and Jack was the glue that kept us together. Sometimes I thing Jack was Jumbo’s greatest recruit.  If it weren’t for Jack, Jumbo would have been successful, but maybe not as successful if it weren’t for Jack’s insight, love and knowledge of the sport. They each had a role in the team’s NCAA successes.

When it came time for Jack to step back and let Jumbo take over, he did so invisibly. One time, after they strategized about who was going to be on which team at the Penn Relays, Jack stood quietly by letting Jumbo do the typical thing he did to pep us up. He’d smile a lot, squeeze your shoulders and say “How you feeling, How you feeling?” He  kept smiling and squeezing… then everything would be fine and you would be ready race.

For one of the Distance Medley teams I was on, he did this same routine to the quarter miler and half miler, then turned to walk away without saying a word to Eamonn or myself. We looked at each other, felt cheated, and stopped Jumbo saying something like “Mr. Elliot, what about us?”  Jumbo looked at me, looked at Eamonn, looked back at me then turned to Eamonn and said “Eamonn, if Belger screws up you’re going to be so far behind you might actually have to run!”  That day I ran a 2:48 ¾-mile leg and helped Eamonn win one of his nine Penn Relay watches, my10th. That Jack, he really new when to let Jumbo loose.

4. Make your own future; don’t be afraid of hard work

Living on a beautiful campus with its own train station and chapel, talking with professors who cared, training with an amazing team of athletes, having access to an unlimited amount to food, what else could someone ask for?

One day, while talking with the Assistant Dean of Men, he asked me just that. I mentioned I’d like to have a radio with an alarm to wake up to instead of my windup alarm clock. He offered me a job as a movie projectionist for the movie series we had on campus, which I graciously accepted.

While running an errand to Immaculata Collge, I noticed a large number of coeds crowding into a TV lounge to watch the noon hour soap hour. “Opportunity” I thought. I taped a sheet of paper on the door which said “Brian’s Song. $1.00 Saturday Evening 7pm”

Not knowing what to expect I ‘borrowed’ the movie from the movie pool and a car and went back to Immaculata. The notice I had taped to the door was replaced with a note saying “Movie moved to Auditorium”… Great. It was dark, I was lost and wandering the campus hauling a movie projector and three rolls of movie tape looking for an auditorium. To make this short, the Student Body President who had changed the location of the movie, found me wandering, helped me set up and even collected the money.  However, like most of the audience, she left crying before the movie finished. No worries, I can do this again I thought.

The next day I was called to the Deans office and asked about my “borrowing” the movie. Before he let me hang myself he pushed an envelope full of single dollars across the desk which were the proceeds from the night before. By taking that one opportunity, I was no longer a projectionist; I was a promoted to manager of the movie project, which expanded to not only Immaculata, but to Rosemont, Bryn Mawr, and Harcum colleges as well.  And that’s how I was able to buy really cool Marantz stereo system (which I still own).

5. The tradition continues

I was 21, a Villanova graduate, immediately employed, and still in shape. I moved to Boston and continued training and racing while working with Boston Marathon champion Eamonn O’Reilly who coached me to my first of many sub 4:00 miles.

As a post-graduate athlete, the meet promoters (mostly indoor meets) matched me up against Villanova undergraduates. Obviously the most remembered was when Don Paige and I raced in Madison Square Garden over 1,000 yards.

The night before at an officials dinner, when asked who was going to win, I said “It won’t take a world record to beat Don Paige, but it will take a world record to beat me.”

For three laps we jogged behind the field, in one lap we strode to the front and then we ran a two lap kick and brought most of the Garden to their feet. To this day I wish the race was 1010 yards . Don set a new world record and we had a pair of full page pictures in Sports Illustrated.

Bottom line, after all is said and done, the most proud moments I remember were running on relay teams and setting Villanova records. In several cases the Villanova Record was faster than the world record, but since we typically had a foreigner on the team (Canadian or Irish), the record could not count as a world record… which was pretty cool.

 A recent 2009 interview with Mark is available HERE.

Curtis & Rhines well off leaders at Payton Jordan 5000

Bobby Curtis got back on the track last night in Palo Alto at the Payton Jordan Invitational.  The 5000 meter event was deeply packed with top-end American talent and thereby provided a good measuring stick for Curtis training regimen as her gears up for the USATF 10,000 championships in late June.  Now known primarily as a 10,000 meter man, Curtis was the 2008 NCAA champion at 5000 meters and possesses a 13:18.97 PR set in Paris in 2010.  By that standard, and the fact that he was beaten back to 18th place, last night's result could be viewed as disappointing.  Curtis has competed well against Ben True, the race winner, on the roads over the past two years, but was well off that pace here.  However, Curtis's training program with Hansons-Brooks is being calibrated very carefully, with the ultimate focus on trying to make Team USA for the Moscow World Championships.  That requires peaking perfectly at the USATF championships (June 20-23).  Moreover, Curtis has been primarily a road racer over the past year, and this was his first competition on the track in some time.  The race video below seems to suggest that Curtis was in the event not to compete at the front, but to get back on the track and run a steady state workout; he immediately settled in near the back of the pack from the very start, and seemed content to run 65s and 66s throughout. With these things in mind, then, one hesitates to make too much of a 5000 meter race in April.

Event 18  Men 5000 Meter Run Section 1
    Name                    Year School                  Finals


  1 Ben True                     Saucony               13:14.44
  2 Evan Jager                   Nike                  13:14.60
  3 Diego Estrada                Northern Arizona      13:15.33
  4 Leonard Korir                Global Sport          13:15.45
  5 Hassan Mead                  Otc                   13:15.50
  6 Dan Huling                   Nike                  13:18.42
  7 Eric Jenkins                 Northeastern          13:18.57
  8 Garrett Heath                Saucony/Aurum         13:20.01
  9 Sam Chelanga                 Otc                   13:20.07
 10 Zane Robertson               Unattached            13:21.15
 11 Chris Solinsky               Nike                  13:23.62
 12 Brett Robinson               Melbourne Tr          13:26.35
 13 Jeff See                     Saucony               13:29.08
 14 George-Byron Alex            Unattached            13:29.55
 15 Luke Caldwell                New Mexico            13:29.94
 16 Maverick Darling             Wisconsin             13:30.40
 17 Parker Stinson               Oregon                13:31.70
 18 Bobby Curtis                 Hansons-Brooks Odp    13:32.57
 19 Paul Chelimo                 Unc-Greensboro        13:36.27
 20 Byron Piedra                 Ecuador               13:37.60
 21 Alan Webb                    Nike                  13:37.68
 22 Aldo Vega                    Unattached            13:41.73
 23 Jose Mauricio Gonzalez       Colombia              13:53.55
 24 David McCarthy               Unattached            13:56.80
 -- Alex Hatz                    Wisconsin                  DNF
 -- Arne Gabius                  Unattached                 DNF
 -- Chris Derrick                Nike/Aurum                 DNF  8:01.07-3k

In the women's race, the race went out rather slowly, with no one really willing to pull the field along (unlike the men's 5000 -- where Chris Derrick served as a rabbit and pulled the field through in 8:01 at the 3000 mark -- the women's race had no pacesetter).  Jen Rhines finished well off the pace, 48 seconds back in 16:10.17.  Jen's PR of 14:54.29 is now 5 years old and she ran a full 29 seconds faster (15:41.31) here one year ago.  To be fair, Jen is coming back from injuries that caused her to scratch at last year's Olympic Trials and -- like Bobby Curtis -- this race was her first on the track for the outdoor season.  She ran a crisp 15:10.44 just two summer ago and when healthy and fit is still a force to be reckoned with.  Regaining fitness is her first priority.

Event 56  Women 5000 Meter Run Section 1
    Name                    Year School                  Finals
  1 Kim Conley                   New Balance           15:22.07
  2 Katie Mackey                 Brooks Beasts         15:23.65
  3 Julia Lucas                  Otc                   15:23.77
  4 Riko Matsuzaki               Sekisui Kagaku        15:27.51
  5 Nicole Sifuentes             Saucony               15:27.58
  6 Misaki Onishi                Sekisui Kagaku        15:27.84
  7 Brie Felnagle                Adidas                15:29.14
  8 Delilah Discresenzo          Puma/NYAC             15:36.45
  9 Sara Hall                    Asics                 15:39.32
 10 Kate Van Buskirk             Athletics Toronto     15:40.26
 11 Julie Culley                 Asics/NYAC            15:41.41
 12 Katie Matthews               Boston U.             15:44.19
 13 Amy Hastings                 Brooks                15:44.93
 14 Eina Yokosawa                Daiichi Seimei        15:44.99
 15 Mai Ishibashi                Denso                 15:44.99
 16 Angela Bizzarri              Brooks/Aurum          15:48.26
 17 Jen Rhines                   adidas-Aurum          16:10.81
 18 Risa Kikuchi                 Hitachi               16:21.51
 19 Ai Igarashi                  Sysmex                16:59.34
 -- Lindsey Allen                Nike                       DNF

Sunday, April 28, 2013


The Villanova women -- two freshman and two juniors -- led at each exchange and Emily Lipari charged back on over the final forty meters to pip Oregon's anchor Laura Roesler at the line to win the Penn Relays 4x800 relay and set a new NCAA record of 8:17.45. Oregon, which also broke the existing NCAA record, had to settle for second place.

PL School/Affiliation Mark Athletes ID
1 Villanova 8:17.45 Kelsey Margey (2:07.04), Angel Piccirillo (2:04.12), Nicky Akande (2:04.04), Emily Lipari (2:02.25) AD
2 Oregon 8:17.62 Becca Friday (2:07.72), Annie Leblanc (2:04.98), Anne Kesselring (2:02.74), Laura Roesler (2:02.19) AA
3 LSU 8:19.43 Samantha Levin (2:11.28), Natoya Goule (2:00.39), Nikita Tracey (2:05.59), Charlene Lipsey (2:02.19) AC
4 Michigan 8:25.95 Meg Bellino (2:08.86), Jillian Smith (2:05.18), Danielle Pfeifer (2:07.16), Rebecca Addison (2:04.77) AG
5 Georgetown 8:27.15 Deseree King (2:11.16), Chelsea Cox (2:01.62), Andrea Keklak (2:06.82), Katrina Coogan (2:07.57) AE
6 Princeton 8:27.26 Kacie O'Neil (2:09.28), Greta Feldman (2:03.15), Cecilia Barowski (2:07.55), Alexis Mikaelian (2:07.29) AH
7 Tennessee 8:27.54 Brittney Jackson (2:08.77), Kianna Ruff (2:04.90), Alexis Panisse (2:06.40), Nijgia Snapp (2:07.48) AB
8 Duke 8:40.96 Rebecca Craigie (2:12.52), Cydney Ross (2:04.76), Anima Banks (2:10.03), Abby Farley (2:13.67) AF
9 Maryland 8:44.24 Maryam Fikri (2:11.88), Myah Hicks (2:08.25), Emily VandeWater (2:12.88), Julie Sinkovitz (2:11.24) AP
10 J. Madison 8:46.16 Tiel Westbrook (2:11.83), Annie Reiner (2:10.41), Kelsey Langton (2:12.71), Erin Lopresti (2:11.23) AL
11 Fordham 8:48.06 Kristen Stuart (2:12.67), Titi Fagade (2:10.15), Melissa Higgins (2:11.48), Mara Lieberman (2:13.78) AJ
12 Albany 8:48.83 Sherez Mohamed (2:11.78), Kathryn Fanning (2:10.08), Brianne Bellon (2:12.82), Mackenzie Carter (2:14.16) AN
13 Indiana 9:07.49 Brie Roller, Jordan Gray, Kelsey Duerksen, Ashley Seymour AM

Kelsey Margey

1st Leg - Villanova University

“It means the world [to win here] because we’re Villanova and this race is in our backyard. There is a huge emphasis on this meet. It’s such a special event to have the crowd cheering for you when you’re running. It was amazing. It was the best race I had in college. It means the world [to win as part of a team]…It’s something I’ll remember forever.”

Angel Piccirillo

2nd Leg - Villanova University

“It was just last year that I was here in high school (She won the 2011 and 2010 H.S. girl’s mile for Homer Center H.S.). It’s a completely different thing to come here as a team…It’s just incredible. It’s a completely different game. It’s something extra special to come here and win as an individual. It’s even better than as an individual…It’s very different, but it’s very sweet also.”

Nicky Akande

3rd Leg - Villanova University

“I think it was rough not winning [the 4x1500] yesterday, so we just wanted to come back with a vengeance. I think this was such a team effort…We have two freshman that literally gave everything for us, and [Emily and I] couldn’t help but do the same. I saw them hurting, and I saw them hurting two. I knew that if we all ran our best, we could do it…It was just such a team effort. To come back after not coming out on top [yesterday], …to bring it home was just amazing.”

Emily Lipari

Anchor - Villanova University

“You have two choices as a runner (after their defeat yesterday in the 4x1500): You can sit there and feel sorry for yourself and let it affect the next day, or we could use [our defeat] and get our team all fired up and get ourselves to believe that we could do it…It was so incredible to watch these two freshmen step it up…I am so proud of them. All I could see in front of me (on the home stretch) was that green and yellow (Oregon jersey)…We’re all extremely happy. We’re going to enjoy this [victory] for a little bit…I’m a very different person now than I was in high school (she was the high school girl’s mile champion for Roslyn H.S. in 2010), and sure, it was great to win [in high school], but I didn’t have much of a team in high school. When you come to Villanova, it’s all about the relays…It’s just so great to wear Villanova across your chest…I wouldn’t trade any of these memories or experiences for anything in the world…It’s all about guts. It’s all about heart. Whoever [Oregon] was going to put on that leg didn’t matter to me because these three girls totally set the tone for the race.”

Gina Procaccio

Coach - Villanova University

“I can’t even believe it. This is the first 4x800 that I even entered in The Penn Relays as a head coach…It’s one of my favorite relays, and we just haven’t had one in about fifteen years. And I was just so excited that we even put together a 4x800 [team]. I knew their splits on paper, and I told them, ‘You can do it. It’s the last day. Anything can happen’…This was such a team effort. We had two freshmen (Angel Piccirillo and Kelsey Margey) on the first two legs, and The Penn Relays is such a big deal for Villanova… I can’t believe it. It was so amazing. A collegiate record! Never in a million years would I have expected this [win and collegiate record]”

Emily Lipari

Anchor - Villanova
when asked how she had that extra push in the last few yards to get across the finish line first
Its all about heart to get to the next level. My transition from high school to college was easy but I had to get my head screwed on right to get to the next level. My coaches always told us to just go out there and compete. We can finally say we are competing.

Lipari pips Roesler to win Penn Relays 4x800 in a new NCAA record

Friday, April 26, 2013

Ben Malone Goes 4:05.59 at Penn Relays Prep Mile

Villanova 2013 signee Ben Malone set as new mile PR tonight at the Penn Relays boys mile championship.  It took an all-time Penn Relays prep record and the #1 prep time in the USA from Sean McGorty to beat Malone.


PL ID Athlete School/Affiliation Mark
1 3 Sean McGorty Chantilly  (Chantilly, VA) 4:04.47 (3:48.71)
2 2 Ben Malone Pascack Valley  (Hillsdale, NJ) 4:05.59 (3:49.62)
3 9 Patrick Joseph Loudoun County  (Leesburg, VA) 4:07.88 (3:51.86)
4 1 Vincent Ciattei Perry Hall  (Nottingham, MD) 4:09.27 (3:49.90)
5 6 Jay Navin Saratoga Springs  (Saratoga Springs, NY) 4:13.01 (3:56.87)
6 15 Jack Stevenson Stuyvesant  (New York, NY) 4:13.96 (3:57.08)
7 14 Ryan Udvadia Shoreham-Wading River  (Shoreham, NY) 4:15.51 (4:00.38)
8 12 Curt Jewett Northeast Bradford  (Rome, PA) 4:16.07 (3:59.02)
9 8 Matthew Chisholm Farmington  (Farmington , CT) 4:17.02 (4:00.07)
10 13 Luke Gavigan Tappan Zee  (Orangeburg, NY) 4:17.45 (4:01.44)
11 16 Connor Harriman Pennsbury  (Fairless Hills, PA) 4:18.01 (4:02.36)
12 11 Jack Hagood Tatnall  (Wilmington, DE) 4:18.36 (4:00.91)
13 5 Bryce Kelley Chariho  (Wood River Junction, RI) 4:18.53 (4:01.95)
14 7 Joey Logue Pennridge  (Perkasie, PA) 4:18.63 (4:02.87)
15 10 Philip Hall Terry Sanford  (Fayetteville, NC) 4:19.65 (4:02.14)
16 4 Ben Ritz Germantown Academy  (Fort Washington, PA) 4:23.48 (4:04.16)

Sheila Reid 2nd to World Leader Jenny Simpson at Drake 1500

Tonight in Des Moines Sheila Reid ran close to her 4:07.07 PR set last year to finish 2nd in a very deep field in the Women's 1500 meter "London Games Rematch."  The race was dominated by 2011 world champion Jenny (nee Barringer) Simpson, who ran a world-leading 4:03.35.  As the results below show, the field was chock full of experienced international runners, who competed against a rather staunch wind.  Reid ran her usual race tactics, settling in at the rear over the first part of the race, making a steady climb through the field to finish second in 4:07.92.  Reid admitted after the race (see interview below) that she made a tactical error and "kind of fell asleep" -- letting Jenny Simpson get too far ahead.  Reid then decided her only option was to protect second place.

High schooler Mary Cain's time of 4:10.77 set an all-time USA prep record.

2013 Drake Relays presented by Hy-Vee             
                  America's Athletic Classic                   
 Drake University, Des Moines, Iowa  - 4/24/2013 to 4/27/2013  
Event 465  Women 1500 Meter Run London Games Rematch
    Name                    Year School                  Finals
  1 Jenny Simpson                New Balance            4:03.35
  2 Sheila Reid                  Nike                   4:07.92
  3 Kate Grace                   United States          4:08.24
  4 Shannon Rowbury              Nike                   4:09.05
  5 Gabriele Anderson            United States          4:10.32
  6 Mary Cain                    United States          4:10.77
  7 Sarah Bowman                 New Balance            4:11.31
  8 Emma Coburn                  Colorado               4:11.36
  9 Morgan Uceny                 adidas                 4:17.71
 10 Ashley Miller                Asics                  4:19.86
 11 Heather Kamph                Asics                  4:20.80
 -- Renee Tomlin                 United States              DNF

It's Penn State -- Villanova -- Oregon at Penn Relays DMR

The Villanova quartet of Sam McEntee (1200), Sam Ellison (400), Chris FitzSimons (800), and Jordy Williams (1600) finished a close second today to favorite Penn State at the Penn Relays DMR Championship of America.  Penn State ran a blistering 9:24.68 for the win, highlighted by Casimir Loxsom's 1:46.7 800-meter leg; it was the fastest DMR at the Penn Relays since 2005.  Jordy Williamsz -- who received the baton some 15 meters back in third place at the final exchange -- closed gallantly in 3:58 low to bring Villanova (9:26.80) past Oregon (9:27.09) into second place and to within two seconds of Penn State's Creese at the line. The Villanova men ran 10 seconds faster than their 2011 DMR Penn Relays win, but it was not meant to be this year.  Hats off to Penn State on this one.

Villanova Splits
Sam McEntee:  2:53.0
Sam Ellison:   46.0
Chris FitzSimons:  1:49.4
Jordy Williamsz:  3:58.4


PL School/Affiliation Mark Athletes ID
1 Penn State 9:24.68 Brannon Kidder (2:53.5), Brandon Bennett-Green (45.6), Casimir Loxsom (1:46.7), Robby Creese (3:58.9) AC
2 Villanova 9:26.80 Sam McEntee (2:53.0), Samuel Ellison (46.0), Christopher Fitzsimons (1:49.4), Jordan Williamsz (3:58.4) AF
3 Oregon 9:27.09 Mac Fleet (2:52.7), Mike Berry (45.3), Elijah Greer (1:47.6), Jeramy Elkaim (4:01.5) AD
4 Indiana 9:29.02 Zachary Mayhew (2:57.3), Chris Vaughn (46.6), Jordan Gornall (1:49.5), Andrew Bayer (3:55.6) AB
5 Georgetown 9:37.25 Bobby Peavey (2:55.3), Devante Washington (48.3), Billy Ledder (1:49.0), Andrew Springer (4:04.6) AI
6 La Salle 9:38.07 Nick Crits (2:56.3), Wayne Bartholomew (49.2), Paul Reilly (1:50.2), Alfredo Santana (4:02.4) AN
7 Columbia 9:38.64 Daniel Everett (2:55.2), Connor Claflin (48.0), Harry McFann (1:49.3), John Gregorek (4:06.1) AE
8 Kentucky 9:39.19 Jake Wildenmann (2:55.4), Ben Mason (48.3), Robbie Scharold (1:48.9), Adam Kahleifeh (4:06.6) AV
9 Princeton 9:41.98 Michael Palmisano (2:56.8), Tom Scott (49.0), Bradley Paternostro (1:48.6), Michael Williams (4:07.6) AA
10 Texas A&M 9:48.40 Juan Blanco (3:01.4), Hector Hernandez (48.2), Josh Hernandez (1:50.8), Henry Lelei (4:08.0) AH
11 UConn 9:53.80 James Agati (3:02.1), Robert Hovanec (47.8), Philip Caldwell (1:52.2), Joe Clark (4:11.7) AP
12 Michigan 9:54.89 Nathan Karr (2:58.1), Matthew Campbell (47.3), Brendon Blacklaws (1:52.1), Jeffrey Sattler (4:17.4) AM
13 Tennessee 10:02.57 Kyle Walter, Michael Williams, Antonio Carter, Jeremy Dickie AO

Villanova Women Take 3rd in Penn Relays 4 x 1500

Villanova came 3rd in the 4x1500 Relay
It was three-team race at the end of today's Penn Relays 4x1500 Championship of America relay, with Villanova relegated to the "show" position in third.  Michigan, which held itself out of yesterday's DMR to focus on the remaining relays, took the victory in 17:15.47 (Penn Relays #6 all time), with Oregon coming second in 17:16.50 (Penn Relays #8 all time).  Villanova's quartet -- with Angel Piccirillo, Nicky Akande, and Emily Lipari all doubling back from their respective 1200, 800, and 1600 meter relay legs yesterday -- came next in 17:17.57 (Penn Relays #9 all time), one second behind Oregon and two behind Michigan.  Those three squads battled it out over the final laps, with fourth-place Penn State a full 45 seconds behind Villanova.

Stephanie Schappert led off for Villanova and clocked 4:22.9, good for a very close third place at the first exchange.  Nicky Akande was next for Villanova and ran a very crisp 4:18.0, putting Villanova and Michigan even at the second exchange with Oregon one second in arrears.  Angel Piccirillo ran well in the third leg, clocking 4:19.1, but Oregon's Anne Kesselring (4:14.3) and Michigan's Rebecca Addison (4:15.0) clocked the two fastest splits in the race on their third legs and put Villanova four seconds behind Michigan and 3 seconds behind Oregon at the final exchange.  Emily Lipari fought hard to close the gap, running 4:17.5 (faster than both the Michigan (4:19.6) and Oregon (4:20.3) anchors), but had too much ground to make up.


PL School/Affiliation Mark Athletes ID
1 Michigan 17:15.47 Shannon Osika (4:22.3), Jillian Smith (4:18.6), Rebecca Addison (4:15.0), Amanda Eccleston (4:19.6) D
2 Oregon 17:16.50 Megan Patrignelli (4:22.8), Annie Leblanc (4:19.1), Anne Kesselring (4:14.3), Becca Friday (4:20.3) A
3 Villanova 17:17.57 Stephanie Schappert (4:22.9), Nicky Akande (4:18.0), Angel Piccirillo (4:19.1), Emily Lipari (4:17.5) C
4 Penn State 18:02.32 Marta Klebe (4:23.1), Caitlin Lane (4:31.5), Brooklyne Ridder (4:31.6), Sarah Jane Underwood (4:36.1) L
5 Indiana 18:09.41 Samantha Ginther (4:29.5), Kelsey Duerksen (4:25.9), Ashley Seymour (4:32.8), Caitlin Engel (4:41.2) M
6 Tennessee 18:12.51 Alexis Panisse (4:25.7), Kelsey Kane (4:30.2), Amirah Johnson (4:30.8), Hannah Davidson (4:45.8) G
7 Mississippi State 18:20.90 Chloe Phillips (4:29.7), Nicky Akande (4:37.5), Emma Neigel (4:38.3), Renee Masterson (4:38.4) K
8 Clemson 18:26.16 Natalie Anthony (4:31.9), Brianna Blanton (4:35.4), Lisa Girard (4:37.4), Erin Barker (4:41.5) H
9 Richmond 18:26.50

Villanova's Post-DMR Press Conference

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Villanova wins women’s DMR relay for record 12th time in Penn Relays
Washington Post
April 24, 2013

PHILADELPHIA — Shortly after winning the college women’s distance medley relay Thursday in the Penn Relays, the Villanova runners were treated to a surprise.

Handing them their championship watches were former Villanova track stars Vicki Huber and Michelle Bennett, both part of the Wildcats’ 1988 distance medley relay team that still holds the Penn Relays record.

Vicki Huber (far left), Michelle Bennett (third from right) & Marty Stern (far right) joined the DMR champions

“Michelle Bennett pointed out their record was set before any of these girls were born,” Villanova women’s coach Gina Procaccio said. “We can’t believe that many years have gone by. But we’re thrilled that we’re able to keep the tradition alive.”

Villanova certainly has a proud tradition in the Penn Relays, a meet the Wildcats put a lot of emphasis on because of its proximity to their campus. The title Thursday was Villanova’s second straight and 12th overall.

Emily Lipari anchored the winning relay, running the mile in 4 minutes, 37.7 seconds for an overall time of 10:58.84. Angel Piccirillo ran the 1,200 in 3:21.8, Michaela Watkins completed the 400 in 54.6, and Nicky Akande ran the 800 in 2:04.7. Kentucky was second in 11:04.45, followed by Columbia in 11:07.68.

The race was the highlight of the first day of the 119th running of the meet that opened under tightened security and heightened awareness following the Boston Marathon bombings.

Spectators were prohibited from bringing backpacks or coolers into Franklin Field, and there were two fenced-in areas in the infield where athletes could keep bags that had already been checked at the entrance. The presence of additional law enforcement was also more visible outside the iconic football stadium located on the campus of the University of Pennsylvania.

But one Penn official noted that lines to get in weren’t any longer than usual as many spectators and athletes heeded the advice that was given and arrived early to Franklin Field. And the 23,310 fans in attendance — the 10th best Thursday crowd in Penn Relays history — were treated to a full day of high school and college events, highlighted by Villanova’s win in the women’s DMR.

Angel Piccirillo
The Wildcats led for most of the race, thanks to a strong opening leg from Piccirillo, who has had a lot of success at Penn Relays. The Villanova freshman won two championships in the mile while at Homer-Center (Pa.) High School.

“I’ve definitely had good luck here,” Piccirillo said. “This track has been really good to me.” Morganne Phillips briefly gave Kentucky the lead after completing the 400 in 53.3 seconds, but Akande took it right back with a big run in the 800.

It was the second straight year that Akande came from behind to put Villanova in the lead heading into the anchor leg. The only difference is that last year she handed the baton to Sheila Reid, one of the greatest runners in Villanova history. Reid, who represented Canada at the 2012 Summer Olympics, graduated last year.

“Last year I think I was a bit younger and more na├»ve, but I just wanted to put Sheila in a good position,” Akande said. “This year I really just wanted to take an old-school Villanova approach and just go out hard and try to keep it up and give it to Emily in the lead.”

Lipari, who ran the leadoff leg in last year’s DMR-winning team, held on to the comfortable lead and wasn’t threatened at all in her four laps around the track.

Emily Lipari
The junior later said that she was a little disappointed that Michigan — which ran the season’s fastest DMR time to edge Villanova in the NCAA indoor championship — pulled out of the event to focus on other races. But that didn’t make Villanova’s accomplishment any less special.

“I think I was more fired up for this than I had ever been for a relay,” Lipari said. “Second place hurts. We came out here wanting to win for Villanova again.”

Other winners on Thursday included Penn State’s Laura Loht, who captured the college women’s javelin title at 154 feet, 8 inches. . It was the fourth straight year a Penn State athlete won the event. Ramapo’s Michelle Favre won the college women’s pole vault at 13-5 1/4.

Connecticut’s Victoria Flowers won the college women’s hammer throw at 210-7, Texas A&M’s LaQue Moen-Davis won the college women’s long jump 21-2 1/2 and North Carolina’s State Tremanisha Taylor won the college women’s shot put at 53-11 3/4. Eastern Kentucky’s Ole Hesselbjerg took the college men’s steeplechase title in 8:47.52.



Emily Lipari anchored in a crisp 4:37.7

Today at the Penn Relays the Villanova women successfully defended their 2012 title by winning their 12th Distance Medley Relay Championship of America.  The quartet of Angel Piccirillo (3:21.8), Michaela Wilkins (54.6), Nicky Akande (2:04.7), and Emily Lipari (4:37.7) dominated the field, winning by almost 6 seconds.  The much anticipated showdown with the Michigan DMR squad that beat Villanova into second place at NCAA Indoors did not materialize, as the Wolverines scratched from the event.  True freshman Angel Piccirillo (3:21.8) got the team off smartly, delivering the baton in first place to another true freshman Michaela Wilkins.  Wilkins was able to hand off a close second (at 4:16.4) to Kentucky's 4:15.3.  Junior Nicky Akande practically duplicated her stellar 800 leg from the 2012 Penn Relays, this time running 2:04.7 to give junior Emily Lipari a 2.7 second lead at the last exchange.  Lipari then delivered a powerful 1600 leg in 4:37.7 to seal the deal.


PL School/Affiliation Mark Athletes ID
1 Villanova 10:58.84 Angel Piccirillo (3:21.8), Michaela Wilkins (54.6), Nicky Akande (2:04.7), Emily Lipari (4:37.7) AA
2 Kentucky 11:04.45 Chelsea Oswald (3:22.0), Morganne Phillips (53.3), Allison Peare (2:09.1), Cally Macumber (4:40.0) AC
3 Columbia 11:07.68 Erin Gillingham (3:22.9), Sharay Hale (54.1), Trina Bills (2:06.8), Waverly Neer (4:43.9) AH
4 Princeton 11:10.13 Alexis Mikaelian (3:24.8), Cecilia Barowski (54.3), Kacie O'Neil (2:08.8), Greta Feldman (4:42.2) AJ
5 UNC 11:12.92 Annie LeHardy (3:25.6), Cori Floyd (57.0), Elizabeth Whelan (2:12.9), Lianne Farber (4:37.4) AM
6 Penn State 11:17.53 Marta Klebe (3:24.4), Marlene Ricketts (56.3), Sarah Jane Underwood (2:09.5), Caitlin Lane (4:47.3) AL
7 Georgetown 11:22.08 Andrea Keklak (3:30.6), Deseree King (57.3), Chelsea Cox (2:11.6), Katrina Coogan (4:42.6) AD
8 LSU 11:22.71 Laura Carleton (3:27.2), Latoya McDermott (55.6), (2:12.9), Charlene Lipsey (4:47.0) AI
9 Indiana 11:29.07 Kelsey Duerksen (3:28.4), Elise Hunter (57.9), Jordan Gray (2:10.2), Samantha Gwin (4:52.6) AQ
10 Monmouth 12:01.96 Amanda Eller (3:37.1), Morgan Spann (58.4), Emily MacEwen (2:17.3), Kelsey Maher (5:09.2)

Emily Lipari was alone at the finish

The Villanova women celebrate after winning the Penn Relays DMR

Lipari's in there somewhere -- 4 sets of legs

Wilkins, Akande, Piccirillo, Lipari

Villanova legends Vicki Huber , Michelle Bennett, and Marty Stern join DMR Champions