July 19, 2011
CLEVELAND, Ohio--Following an academic year in which nine different teams earned points for postseason competition Villanova has earned an overall ranking of No. 50 in the final 2010-11 Learfield Sports Directors' Cup standings. The impressive showing by the Wildcats is the program's highest finish since 2003 and Villanova's fourth-highest standing ever.
A big part of the successful year for the Wildcats was the continued success of the women's cross country and track & field teams. During the fall season the cross country team won its second consecutive national championship and the ninth in the history of the program. Villanova was ranked No. 1 in the nation from start to finish during the year and also had the individual national champion in Sheila Reid.
The indoor and outdoor track & field seasons also brought the Wildcats national championship results. Reid anchored the team's distance medley relay squad to an indoor national title and placed second individually in the 3000 meters to lead Villanova to a 12th place team finish at the NCAA Championships.
During the outdoor season the Wildcats finished 11th in the team standings at the NCAA Championships with Reid claiming two individual titles in the 1500 meters and the 5000 meters. The three high finishes at the cross country, indoor and outdoor championships led the Villanova program to a third place finish in the United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) Program of the Year standings.
Perhaps more so than any other recent year the Wildcats demonstrated terrific success across the board during the 2010-11 academic year, with three teams each scoring points for postseason competition during the fall, winter and spring seasons.
The football team reached the NCAA Division I Championship playoffs for the third straight year and advanced to the semifinals for the second season in a row and only the third time in team history. Villanova finished the year with a 9-5 record and graduated an incredible senior class that finished their careers with a 40-13 (.755) mark over the past four years.
Also reaching the NCAA Championships during the fall was the men's cross country team, which enjoyed a late-season surge and finished 23rd at the national championships meet. Prior to that, the Wildcats placed second at the NCAA Mid-Atlantic Regional to ensure an automatic bid to the national championships.
For the seventh straight season the men's basketball team advanced to the NCAA Championships and the team also extended its streak of consecutive 20-win seasons to seven straight years. Along the way to finishing with a 21-12 record the team reached the championship game of the NIT Season Tip-Off and also won its 21st Philadelphia Big Five championships (including shared titles).
One of the leading storylines for Villanova during the spring season was the national success enjoyed by the men's lacrosse team, which received an at-large bid to the NCAA Championship for the first time in program history. Overall it was the second trip to the postseason in the last three years for the Wildcats, who were nationally-ranked as high as No. 7 during the season and finished the year with an 11-5 record.
The men's indoor and outdoor track & field teams also scored points with All-American performances at the respective NCAA Championships. The distance medley relay team consisting of Brian Tetreault, Carlton Bowers, Jason Apwah and Mathew Mildenhall placed seventh indoors at the national championships, while Matt Gibney garnered individual All-America honors with a fourth place finish in the 1500 meters outdoors.
As a program the Wildcats have now registered two consecutive years with an impressive finish in the cup standings. Villanova was No. 51 last year and beat that ranking by one spot in this year's final release. In 2003, Villanova earned a Top 50 ranking with its 46th place finish.
Among the FCS football schools only Princeton (No. 38) came in ahead of Villanova, while the Wildcats also ranked fifth in the BIG EAST behind only Notre Dame (No. 18), Louisville (No. 34), West Virginia (No. 40) and Connecticut (No. 44).
The Learfield Sports Directors' Cup was developed as a joint effort between the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA) and USA Today. The program honors institutions for maintaining a broad-based program and for achieving success in many sports, including both men's and women's programs. Points are awarded based on each institution's finish in up to 20 sports - ten women's and ten men's. The program was started in 1993-94 for Division I and was expanded in 1995-96 to include Division II, III and the NAIA.
Villanova's 2010-11 Academic Year Accomplishments
Team National Championship
Women's Cross Country
Individual National Championships
Sheila Reid, Women's Cross Country
Distance Medley Relay, Women's Indoor Track & Field (Emily Lipari, Christie Verdier, Ariann Neutts, Sheila Reid)
Sheila Reid, Women's Outdoor Track & Field (1500 Meters)
Sheila Reid, Women's Outdoor Track & Field (5000 Meters)
Women's Cross Country
NCAA Tournament Team Appearances
Men's Cross Country
Women's Cross Country
Conference Tournament Team Appearances
Gina Procaccio, Women's Cross Country
Brian Karalunas, Men's Lacrosse (BIG EAST Defensive Player of the Year)
Brian Karalunas, Men's Lacrosse (Lowe's Senior CLASS Award)
Kim Maroon, Volleyball (Libero of the Year)
Gina Procaccio, Women's Cross Country (Coach of the Year)
Sheila Reid, Cross Country
Sheila Reid, Track & Field
Sheila Reid, Top 3 Finalist for Honda-Broderick Cup