May 11, 2014
By Richard Finn
Special to BIGEAST.COM
VILLANOVA, Pa. - In her last home appearance, Villanova senior Emily Lipari went out a winner.
Dipping down in distance, the three-time reigning 1,000-meter BIG EAST indoor champion won the 800-meter run and then anchored the Wildcats 4x800 relay team to a meet-record time of 8:33.36 on the final day of the BIG EAST Men's and Women's Outdoor Track and field Championships presented by New York Life at Villanova Stadium.
"She is an incredible competitor," Villanova women's head coach Gina Procaccio said of Lipari, who won the 800 meters in 2:05.66. "She just really, really wants to win. It is all about winning for her. You put her in position to win and you know that she will get it done."
Throughout her four years on the Main Line, all Lipari has done is win. Her two victories Sunday were part of a winning day for the Wildcats as they won the women's team title, easily outdistancing second-place Georgetown by nearly 100 points.
The Roslyn, N.Y., native has been twice an NCAA champion, nine times an All-America pick and six times a Penn Relay champion. She won gold in the 1,500 meters at last year's BIG EAST outdoor championships.
"She has it all," said Procaccio, just moments after watching Lipari hold off a furious challenge from Georgetown's Andrea Keklak in the anchor leg of the relay. "This is a kid who has 55-second 400 meter speed and was also fifth in the country in the NCAA Cross Country Championships.
"She hits heavy for us in cross country, in the relays and individually. You can't ask for anything more."
While Lipari might be slight in size, she feels that she has grown as a runner in the last four years.
"I have taken every race as a learning experience," said Lipari. "I came in very naïve and not understanding things and they were not clicking and you need those rough times to put you to where you want to be."
Amidst all of the celebrating there was also a touch of melancholy.
"It's definitely special," Lipari admitted. "My first BIG EAST Championship was here (in 2011) so it is kind of nice to close it out here and kind of sad to think this is my last championship."
"When you are leaving you look back on the last four years and you think you really had a special experience," Lipari reflected.
"It was kind of bittersweet as this will be the last time that she will be able to do this for us," Procaccio said.