Feb. 21, 2014
By Richard Finn
Special to BIGEAST.com
Championship Central | Day 1 Scores | Women's Results | Men's Results
NEW YORK, N.Y. - A frenzied first day at the BIG EAST Indoor Track and Field Championships presented by NEW YORK LIFE on Friday at the New Balance Track and Field Center at the New York Armory ended with a women’s Distance Medley Relay meet record, Villanova holding both the men’s and women’s team leads and a whole lot of anticipation for a closing day finals bonanza.
In the marquee events on the program, pre-meet favorites Villanova freshman Patrick Tiernan and Providence senior Emily Sisson won the 5,000 meter runs to add to their 2013 BIG EAST Cross Country crowns.
Tiernan pulled away from junior Collin Leibold of Georgetown in the last two laps to win in 14 minutes and 4.02 seconds. Leibold was next in 14:05.07 and another Wildcat senior, Sam McEntee, was third in 14:12.09.
“I tried to pull away in the middle of the race but that didn’t quite work. The last couple of laps were a bit harder than I thought but still came away with the win,” said Tiernan.
Tiernan and McEntee will have little time to rest and celebrate as both are expected back on the track in the 3,000 meters on Saturday.
Sisson and her senior teammate Laura Nagel made it a two-person race from the opening bell, working together and trading spots in the front until unleashing an all-out race in the last two laps. Sisson won in 16:08.01, with Nagel in 16:08.34
“The last 400 meters we let it all out,” said Sisson, who will be back in action along with Nagel in Saturday's 3,000-meter race.
The Georgetown women's distance medley relay squad of juniors Hannah Neczypor, Andrea Keklak and Katrina Coogan and freshman Emma Keenan set a BIG EAST indoor championships record and the No. 2 mark this year in the nation of 10:55.63
“Today we really ran to our true potential,” said Coogan, who ran the mile anchor leg. “I just knew I had to run and go.”
Villanova took the men’s DMR title as senior Dusty Solis caught Hoyas sophomore Darren Fahy in the final mile leg to carry the Wildcats to the win in 9:42.08.
After the first day, Villanova holds both the men’s and women’s team lead over Marquette. DePaul is third in the women’s standings with the Hoyas in third for the men.
Senior co-captain Craig Krcal of Xavier put a string of recent disappointing performances behind him to grab the pole vault title at 4.7 meters height.
“I just let it go and had faith in my training,” Krcal said of his turn-around from failing to clear the height in his last three meets. “This is huge for our school.”
A week after competing in the same building in the famed Millrose Games, St. John’s senior Danette Hinton won the women’s weight throw with an 18.25 meter toss.
“It means a lot to be here and I feel real good," said Hinton.
There were no surprises in the men’s mile heats as all of the top contenders advanced comfortably to Saturday’s final. Robert Denault of Villanova and freshman Ryan Manahan of Georgetown won the heats with Jordy Williamsz of Villanova and sophomore Julian Oakley of Providence moving ahead. Denault and Williamsz, both sophomores, broke the four-minute mile mark last week and are 1-2 in the BIG EAST rankings this season.
“You can’t take anything for granted and you don’t mess around, you get through, rest up and move on to the next day,” said Denault.
“I am hoping it will be a tactical race tomorrow but if it goes out fast I will be ready,” said Manahan.
A year after sitting home, injured and watching the championships on her computer, Georgetown All-American graduate student Amanda Kimbers continued her strong comeback by winning her 60-meter dash heat.
“It feels really great," said Kimbers, who also advanced by winning her 200-meter run heat. “It was a struggle all of last year. It was hard last year and I so much wanted to be there. It’s great to be back.”
Also advancing to the 60-meter dash final by winning her heat was St. John’s graduate student Rikka Lovely.
Hoyas sophomore Devante Washington showed off his versatility by qualifying in three events – 60, 200 and 400 meter dashes.
“After the 60 I felt confident and everything just fell into place," Washington said of winning his 60-meter dash heat in 6.98 seconds. “I sometimes ran four races in high school so it is not completely new but it is really exciting to be doing it here and to know that the team is putting so much trust in me to do all of these events.”
Freshman Xavier Jones of DePaul took top honors in the second 60-meter dash heat.
Saturday's session begins with opening ceremonies at 4:20 p.m.