Feb. 11, 2012
NEW YORK - In a memorable running of the Byron Dyce College Men's Distance Medley Relay at the Millrose Games on Saturday night sophomore anchor Samuel McEntee (Perth, Australia) gave Villanova the lead for good during the final lap and the Wildcats captured the DMR title with a winning time of 9:38.02 at the New York Armory.
McEntee and John Coghlan of Ireland's Dublin City University raced against each other in a head-to-head battle during the 1600 meter anchor leg of the relay. McEntee was behind with 400 meters to go but early in the bell lap passed Coghlan and comfortably pulled away down the stretch to deliver Villanova to the victory.
"It was a terrific race and Sam gave us a great finish in the final leg," head coach Marcus O'Sullivan said. "He paced himself during the Mile and set a tone for the race and then during the last leg he had enough in reserve to finish it off."
The field of six teams was easily paced by the Wildcats and Dublin City, which came in second with a time of 9:39.68. La Salle finished third (9:48.52) and was followed by Albany (9:49.90), Duke (9:52.96) and Manhattan (10:15.54).
Villanova had a lineup that included senior Brian Tetreault (Cinnaminson, N.J.) and sophomores Samuel Ellison (Dresher, Pa.) and Chris Fitzsimons (Hamden, Conn.) in front of McEntee. Tetreault led off and had a split of 2:59.0 in the 1200 meter opening leg and Ellison ran a strong 400 meters with a split of 47.0. Fitzsimons had a split of 1:51.2 in the 800 meters before handing off to McEntee for the finish. McEntee finished with a time of 3:59.8 over the final 1600 meters.
No ending to the race could have been scripted better than the matchup between the Wildcats and Dublin City, whose anchor John Coghlan is the son of former Villanova national champion, Olympian and hall of famer Eamonn Coghlan.
Eamonn Coghlan is a former teammate of Wildcat head coach Marcus O'Sullivan and during the week leading up to tonight's race the team from Dublin City spent time near Villanova and had a chance to spend time with the Wildcats.
"Tonight's race was the end of a great week for us," O'Sullivan said. "We spent a lot of time with the Irish team and there is a great camaraderie between the two teams. It was a really nice experience for Dublin City to come over and run in the Millrose Games and I think having an Irish team here is great for the sport."