Feb. 16, 2013
GENEVA, Ohio - In one of the signature events of the BIG EAST Championships freshman Jordy Williamsz (Melbourne, Australia) led Villanova to a conference title in the distance medley relay on Saturday evening at the SPIRE Institute. On the first day of the BIG EAST meet the Wildcats scored points in the DMR and the 5000 meters, while advancing runners to the finals of three other individual events.
The championship in the DMR is the 16th all-time at the indoor conference meet for Villanova and the first since the 2010 season. A lineup of junior Chris O'Sullivan (Havertown, Pa.), freshman Donald Urschel (East Brunswick, N.J.), junior Alex Tully (Little Rock, Ark.) and Williamsz won with a time of 9:47.59, which moves the Wildcats into the top-16 in the nation. Villanova now has the 14th best overall time in the country in the DMR and trails only eight other schools that are among the national leaders.
During the first two legs of tonight's relay the Wildcats made a steady climb through the middle of the pack. O'Sullivan handed the baton off to Urschel with Villanova in fifth place and the first-year sprinter moved the Wildcats up to third place by the time Tully took over for the 800 meters leg.
Tully was fighting hard for second and third place during his leg of the relay and was being pushed from behind by fourth-place Georgetown at the start of the 1600 meter anchor leg. Williamsz briefly held the lead and was always within a quick burst of being in front during his first three laps around the track but did not have the lead for good until the leaders were inside the bell lap.
Less than 200 meters remained when Williamsz broke away with a strong final push to give Villanova a margin of victory of just over one second over Georgetown and the rest of the 11-team field. The Hoyas had a time of 9:48.78 and Providence came in third in 9:49.26.
On the individual side the 5000 meters was a final-only race held late Saturday afternoon. Junior Sam McEntee (Perth, Australia) crossed the finish line in 14:22.43 and placed fifth to score team points for the Wildcats. In his first 5000 meters race of the season McEntee came within three seconds of a personal best in the event and led four Villanova runners that were competing.
The highlight of the day from the events that held preliminary heats was the 500 meters, where all three Wildcats in competition advanced to the finals. Junior Samuel Ellison (Dresher, Pa.) came in second in his heat with a time of 1:02.61 and came down the final straightaway in a near dead heat with the other automatic qualifier from that heat. The top two individuals in each of two heats and the next four fastest times moved on to tomorrow's final.
Graduate student Kyle Chou (Wilmington, Del.) ran in the same heat as Ellison and came in fifth with a time of 1:04.76 to just advance on time to the finals. In the second preliminary heat freshman Alex Reber (Cherry Hill, N.J.) was an automatic qualifier with a second place finish and a time of 1:04.17. The marks for Chou and Reber are both new personal bests, with Reber lowering his previous top time from earlier this season by more than three full seconds.
Villanova had one runner qualify for the finals in both the 800 meters and the 1000 meters. Junior Chris Fitzsimons (Hamden, Conn.) won his preliminary heat in the 800 meters with a time of 1:51.79 to advance automatically, as did classmate Dusty Solis (Colorado Springs, Colo.) in the 1000 meters. Solis won his heat in 2:27.21 to reach the finals on Sunday morning.
First up for the Wildcats on Sunday is the finals of the 1000 meters, which take place at 11:10 a.m. The final event of the championships meet is the 4x400 meter relay at 2:45 p.m., and it will be followed by an awards ceremony at 3:15 p.m.
COMPLETE VILLANOVA RESULTS
Sam McEntee 14:22.43 5th of 22 Matt Kane 14:39.87 13th John Pickhaver 15:05.57 20th Greg Morrin 15:14.40 21st
Distance Medley Relay
Villanova 9:47.59 1st of 11 Chris O'Sullivan 1200 Meters Donald Urschel 400 Meters Alex Tully 800 Meters Jordy Williamsz 1600 Meters
Elbert Maxwell 6.72m 15th of 16
Chris Dougherty 4.50m 13th of 14
200 Meters (Preliminaries)
Donald Urschel 22.27 5th of 5 Heat 2 of 4
500 Meters (Preliminaries)
Samuel Ellison 1:02.61 2nd of 6 Heat 1 of 2 Alex Reber 1:04.17 2nd of 6 Heat 2 of 2 Kyle Chou 1:04.76 5th of 6 Heat 1 of 2
800 Meters (Preliminaries)
Chris Fitzsimons 1:51.79 1st of 7 Heat 1 of 3 Andrew Golato 1:56.31 5th of 6 Heat 3 of 3
1000 Meters (Preliminaries)
Dusty Solis 2:27.21 1st of 7 Heat 2 of 3 Richie Bohny 2:34.07 4th of 7 Heat 1 of 3