Villanova Sweeps BIG EAST Indoor Track and Field Championships

Feb. 22, 2014

Championship Central | Saturday's Full Results | Photo Gallery

By Richard Finn
Special to

NEW YORK, N.Y. - A 1,000 meter championship three-peat and meet-record run by senior Emily Lipari and a string of distance victories lifted Villanova to the women's crown and a sweep of the team titles at the BIG EAST Indoor Track and Field Championships presented by NEW YORK LIFE on Saturday at the New Balance Track and Field Center at the Armory.

The women's title came down to the 4x400 meter relay, the last race on a frenetic final day. Nursing a lead over Georgetown, the Wildcats hung on despite finishing fourth and last. The Hoyas came up points short as St. John's sent many in the crowd home happy with the win.

The Villanova women finished with 159.5 points and Georgetown second with 157 for the first team title since 2010.

In the men's team championship, the Wildcats had 200.5 points with Georgetown again second with 168. The last men's crown for the Wildcats was in 1986.

It was the first team sweep since Connecticut in 2009.

The 1,000 meter women's race featured a brilliant duel between two of the conference's best -Lipari and Georgetown junior Katrina Coogan. Shoulder to shoulder from the early laps, Lipari turned on the kick and the speed in the closing 50 meters to pull away in a meet record 2:43.69. Villanova great Sheila Reid held the record of 2:43.70.

"I always have the kick and know that it is going to be there," said Lipari. "I don't know what it is but I just know that it feels natural to me and that I am going to have it."

Running on her "home track," Georgetown freshman Sabrina Southerland set the meet mark of 2:04.85 in the 800-meter run to eclipse the 2:05.47 run by Kathy Klump of Cincinnati in 2012.

"I could not imagine doing it anywhere else," said Southerland, a New York City scholastic star who was cheered on by friends and family.

Villanova's dominated the middle distances, sweeping the men's and women's mile, 1,000 meter runs and the men's 3,000 meter run.

"There is a legacy at Villanova and so much history of middle distance runners," said Lipari. "Everybody is so hungry to win, it's all about the team."

Only in the women's 3,000 meter run were the Wildcats shut out as the Providence dynamic duo of seniors Laura Nagel and defending champion Emily Sisson took first and second, respectively. Yesterday it was Sisson first and Nagel second in the 5,000 meters.

In the 3,000 meters men's race, Villanova teammates senior Sam McEntee and freshman Patrick Tiernan took first and second. On Friday Tiernan won the 5,000 and McEntee took third.

McEntee and Tiernan went to the front with two laps to go and raced each other to the wire. McEntee pulled ahead in the last few steps to win in 8:10.52. Tiernan clocked a 8:10.71.

The men's mile went to freshman Jordan Williamsz of Villanova. Ranked No. 2 in the BIG EAST rankings this season with a sub-four minute mile on his resume, Williamsz broke away from a dense pack with two laps to win in time of 4:08.90. Providence sophomore Julian Oakley was second with Hoyas senior Bobby Peavey third.

"I always finish pretty strong and it was there today," said Williamsz. "A strong finish comes in handy in the mile."

Angel Piccirillo made it a clean sweep in the mile for the Wildcats with a wire to wire win in a tactical women's race. The sophomore finished in 5:01.87 with Andrea Keklak of Georgetown second. She broke away from a dense pack on the closing lap to take the title.

"I knew it would be a fast finish just because it was such a real slow start," said Piccirillo. "I wasn't planning to take the lead from the start but that is how it turned out."

The Wildcats ran up their domination of the middle distance events with Josh Lampron grabbing the 1,000 meter run.

A year after sitting home injured and watching the championships on her computer, Georgetown All-American graduate student Amanda Kimbers kept her comeback moving in the right direction by winning the 200-meter dash and finishing second in the 60-meter dash.

After finishing second to St. John's graduate student Rikka Lovely in the 60, Kimbers came roaring back to outsprint Lovely to nip her in the 200-meter dash.

"I feel that I am getting there and that this was a good start," said Kimbers. "By outdoors I think I will be there where I was my junior year."

On Friday Hoyas sophomore Devante Washington had showed off his versatility by qualifying in three events - 60, 200 and 400 meter dashes.

Washington placed in two finals, providing the Hoyas with much needed team points before coming up short in the 200 meters after tweaking his right leg in the closing meters.

Washington was second in the 60-meter dash to DePaul freshman Xavier Jones. In the 400 meters, Washington was third as again the Blue Demons took first with sophomore Mac Melto grabbing first in 48.50.

DePaul senior Matt Babicz, dominating in the shot put with seven top-three finishes including four wins this season, won with his sophomore brother and teammate Anthony second.

Final Standings
1. Villanova - 159.5
2. Georgetown - 157
3. Marquette - 114
4. St. John's - 100
5. DePaul - 90
6. Providence - 64
7. Butler - 45
8. Xavier - 28.5

1. Villanova - 200.5
2. Georgetown - 168
3. DePaul - 128
4. Marquette - 121
5. Providence - 58
6. Butler - 39
7. Xavier - 34.5

Major Awards
Men's Coaching Staff of the Year: Villanova
Women's Coaching Staff of the Year: Villanova
Men's Track Most Outstanding Performer: Tonderai Tomu, DePaul
Women's Track Most Outstanding Performer: Emily Lipari, Villanova
Men's Field Most Outstanding Performer: William Koeck, Marquette
Women's Field Most Outstanding Performer: Carlye Schuh, Marquette