Feb. 15, 2014
AMES, Iowa - Throughout the history of the Villanova program, running a sub-four minute mile has become more than just a remarkable athletic accomplishment. The sub-four minute mile has become a start of its own, weaving together the individual histories of those who have achieved it. At the Iowa State Classic on Saturday afternoon sophomores Jordy Williamsz (Melbourne, Australia) and Rob Denault (Aurora, Ont.) wrote the latest chapter in that history, as each went sub-four in the Mile at Lied Recreation Center.
Williamsz finished first in a field of 33 runners and moved into second place in the nation this season with a time that is sure to be noticed by many around the country. He crossed the finish line in 3:56.84 and in doing so produced one of the fastest races in school history. Denault came in seventh in the race in 3:59.86 and is now 16th nationwide in the Mile this season. It was the second time in his Wildcats career that Denault tallied a sub-four time; the first came in the Alex Wilson Invitational at Notre Dame last season.
This was the first official sub-four Mile for Williamsz, who ran the 1500 meters equivalent in Australia prior to beginning his Villanova career. He also registered a sub-four minute split in the 4xMile relay at the Penn Relays last season. It was today's race however, that makes him one of the 36 athletes to be a part of the Wildcats club of sub-four minute milers.
Only 12 of the other members of the group have run a faster mile than Williamsz did at the Iowa State meet. The last Villanova runner with a faster Mile was head coach Marcus O'Sullivan, who accomplished the feat 101 times during his racing career and has a lifetime best mark of 3:50.96. Williamsz performance at Iowa State came just one day after the 27th anniversary of O'Sullivan's top career run.
The group of 36 athletes that makes up the Wildcats sub-four minute mile club has now combined for 346 sub-four Miles all-time, in addition to running another 298 equivalent times in the 1500 meters. Williamsz, Denault and senior Sam McEntee (Perth, Australia) are each current members of the team who have achieved the distinction twice during their careers.
Senior Samuel Ellison (Dresher, Pa.) was also in action at Iowa State on Saturday. He came in fifth out of 27 competitors in the seeded section of the 800 meters with a time of 1:48.40. Ellison ran in the second heat of the event and won his heat by 0.65 seconds. On Friday night Ellison had been a part of the Villanova distance medley relay lineup which moved up to fifth in the nation this season with a time of 9:35.08.
Next up for the Wildcats is the BIG EAST Championships, which will be held next weekend at the New York Armory.