Oct. 27, 2006
BOSTON, Mass. - Junior Frances Koons (Allentown, Pa.) won the women's 6K race by three seconds over an opponent from Providence and became Villanova's 11th BIG EAST Cross Country champion on Friday at Franklin Park.
Koons covered the 6,000 meters in 20:28 to edge Aine Hoban of Providence, who crossed in 20:31. The winning time registered by Koons is the eighth-fastest at the conference championship since 1994, when the event moved to its current location in Boston.
As a team, the Wildcats placed fourth with 110 points, coming in behind Providence, Georgetown and Notre Dame. The fourth-place finish was one spot better than last season's fifth-place finish for Villanova.
"We did well to move up a spot from last year," head coach Gina Procaccio said. "It is great for us to have three runners finish in the top 20. Frances ran a very close race with the runner from Providence. She came around the final turn and just took off. The race opened up in the last 150 meters."
In addition to Koons, the Wildcats claimed two more spots in the top 20. Freshman Siobhan Coleman (West Lothien, Scotland) finished 19th with a time of 21:38 and senior Akilah Vargas (Brooklyn, N.Y.) was just behind in 20th in 21:42.
Rounding out the top five for Villanova was senior Zita Mezei (Mezokovesd, Hungary) and graduate student Katina Alexander (Pleasantville, N.J.). Mezei was 30th in 22:02 and Alexander finished 40th with a time of 22:14.
The other two counting times for the Wildcats finished within one second of each other. Freshman Theresa Rush (Malverne, N.Y.) placed 51st in 22:46 and junior Jillian Baczewski (Boxford, Mass.) was 53rd in 22:47. Baczewski was coming off a win in the Haverford Invitational on Monday afternoon.
Providence placed its top four runners in the top 10 of the field of 131 runners and won the team title with 39 points. Georgetown was second with 68 points and Notre Dame had 87 points ahead of Villanova. The rest of the team standings included Marquette (136), West Virginia (158), Syracuse (185), Louisville (218), Connecticut (255), Rutgers (306), Cincinnati (329), Pittsburgh (336), USF (362), DePaul (427), Seton Hall (458) and St. John's (503).
The Wildcats will now set their sights on the NCAA East Regional, which will be held on November 11 at Lock Haven.
NOTES: Ann McGranahan (2000) was Villanova's last BIG EAST champion ... Also placing in today's race for Villanova were sophomore Ellen Dougherty (Wading River, N.J.) and junior Casey Nelson (Flemington, N.J.) ... Dougherty was 61st (22:53) and Nelson finished 75th (23:19).