Feb. 21, 2014
NEW YORK - Villanova continued its winning tradition in the distance events and started new traditions with a victory in the long jump on an exciting day of action at the BIG EAST Championships on Friday afternoon. Halfway through the conference meet at the New York Armory the Wildcats lead the team standings with 57 points and are in position to score well in a number of events tomorrow evening.
Freshman Pat Tiernan (Toowoomba, Australia) is the BIG EAST champion in the 5000 meters and junior Elbert Maxwell (Pittsburgh, Pa.) became the first athlete in school history to win the conference long jump title. Villanova also picked up a win in the distance medley relay with a gutsy finish at the end of the anchor leg. When all the events for Friday had been completed the Wildcats had eight different athletes score team points in four individual events, while also notching the relay victory.
Villanova had a DMR lineup that included junior Chris O'Sullivan (Havertown, Pa.), junior Cory Serfoss (Easton, Pa.), freshman Ben Malone (River Vale, N.J.) and junior Dusty Solis (Colorado Springs, Colo.). By the time Solis took the baton for the 1600 meter anchor leg a head-to-head race between the Wildcats and Georgetown was shaping up.
Solis took the baton with Villanova and Providence in a heated battle for second place. During the first 800 meters of his anchor leg Solis mostly stood in third place but he went to work at exactly the right time. He moved into the lead with 400 meters remaining and in the final two laps around the track fought hard to hold off Hoyas anchor Darren Fahy for an eventual three-second margin of victory. The winning time for the Wildcats was 9:42.08, while Georgetown was second (9:45.26) and the Friars third (9:47.82).
Villanova has won 15 indoor BIG EAST titles in the DMR, including being the champion in three of the past five years. Last season the Wildcats won with a time of 9:47.59 and also beat out the Hoyas and Providence to win the relay.
In the 5000 meters Tiernan and senior Sam McEntee (Perth, Australia) came in first and third, respectively. Villanova has now produced the league's indoor 5000 meters champion four times, including in three of the past four years. Hugo Beamish was a back-to-back champion in 2011 and 2012 and Tiernan notched the latest Wildcats victory in the event. His winning time was 14:04.26, the fastest of the four championship titles won by Villanova in the 5000 meters. McEntee finished in third place with a time of 14:12.91, while junior Brian Basili (South Orange, N.J.) and redshirt freshman Harry Warnick (Fairfield, Conn.) came in 11th (14:41.08) and 16th (15:06.75), respectively.
After the first 1500 meters of the race Tiernan made a move towards the front of the pack as the pack started to break up for the first time. At the 2200 meter mark Tiernan was in third place and Basili was fourth but 300 meters later when the race reached its midpoint Tiernan had taken the lead. He never relinquished it and defeated Collin Leibold of Georgetown by just over 1.5 seconds.
Maxwell was the top-ranked athlete in the long jump entering the meet and he came up with the longest distance of his career to become the Wildcats first BIG EAST high jump champion. He registered a personal best distance of 7.46 meters and won by a comfortable margin in a field of 12 athletes. Maxwell is also due to complete in the high jump when the league championships conclude on Saturday evening.
Other scorers for Villanova on Friday came in the pole vault and the weight throw. Senior Chris Dougherty (Cherry Hill, N.J.) continued his excellent season by finishing second in the pole vault with a height of 4.60 meters. Freshman Kolby Koeck (Altoona, Pa.) and junior Charlie Kido (Nampa, Idaho) came in sixth (4.10m) and seventh (3.95m), respectively.
In the weight throw senior Drew King (New Haven, Conn.) finished fourth with a distance of 15.85 meters and sophomore James Rowen (Rockville Centre, N.Y.) placed sixth with a mark of 14.99 meters. Freshman John McDonald (New Providence, N.J.) was ninth (13.20m).
The other events held on Friday were all preliminary heats that will conclude tomorrow. The first four events of the heptathlon were also contested on Friday morning. In the races that had preliminary heats senior Samuel Ellison (Dresher, Pa.) is currently first in the 500 meters (1:03.36), while sophomores Jordy Williamsz (Melbourne, Australia) (4:13.31) and Rob Denault (Aurora, Ont.) (4:13.37) are second and third, respectively, in the Mile. Junior Bryan Murphy (Teaneck, N.J.) is second overall in the 400 meters entering tomorrow's final.
Freshman PJ Succi (Warminster, Pa.) and sophomore Robert Cacace (Yonkers, N.Y.) are each competing in the heptathlon. They are first and second in the standings, respectively, with the final three events to be contested on Saturday night. Succi has amassed 2,363 points thus far and Cacace is a close second with 2,341 points.
Succi had the top marks in the heptathlon in both the 60 meters (7.43) and the high jump (1.72m), while Cacace had the best mark in the shot put after throwing for a distance of 11.66 meters.
There will be an opening ceremony at 4:25 p.m. on Saturday to mark the beginning of competition for the day. The first running event is the final heat in the Mile at 4:40 p.m., while the last men's event of the night is the 4x400 meter relay at 4:40 p.m. An awards ceremony follows the championships at 8:50 p.m.
NOTES: The top three finishers in each event earn All-BIG EAST honors for that event ... Villanova has at least one athlete entered in each event at the conference championships and is the only team that can make that claim.
DAY 1 TEAM SCORES
Villanova 57 Marquette 44 Georgetown 37 DePaul 16 Xavier 14 Butler 14 Providence 11
COMPLETE VILLANOVA RESULTS
Patrick Tiernan 1st of 19 14:04.26 Sam McEntee 3rd 14:12.91 Brian Basili 11th 14:41.08 Harry Warnick 16th 15:06.75
Distance Medley Relay
Villanova 1st of 7 9:42.08 Chris O'Sullivan 1200 Meters Cory Serfoss 400 Meters Ben Malone 800 Meters Dusty Solis 1600 Meters
Chris Dougherty 2nd of 7 4.60m Kolby Koeck 6th 4.10m Charlie Kido 7th 3.95m
Elbert Maxwell 1st of 12 7.46m
Drew King 4th of 10 15.85m James Rowen 6th 14.99m John McDonald 9th 13.20m
60 Meters (Preliminaries)
Bryan Murphy 4th of 13 7.09 Vince Thompson 10th 7.22
200 Meters (Preliminaries)
Vince Thompson 12th of 13 23.00
400 Meters (Preliminaries)
Bryan Murphy 2nd of 11 48.32 Ayomide Obadare 4th 48.88 Donald Urschel 7th 49.63 Kyle Cartwright 9th 50.09
500 Meters (Preliminaries)
Samuel Ellison 1st of 12 1:03.36 Chris FitzSimons 5th 1:04.52 Peter Winslow 8th 1:06.12 Cory Serfoss 10th 1:06.32
Jordy Williamsz 2nd of 15 4:13.31 Rob Denault 3rd 4:13.37
Heptathlon (Through 4 Events)
PJ Succi 1st of 3 2363 Robert Cacace 2nd 2341
Heptathlon #1 - 60 Meter Dash
PJ Succi 1st of 3 7.43 Robert Cacace 3rd 7.64
Heptathlon #2 - Long Jump
PJ Succi 2nd of 3 6.00m Robert Cacace 3rd 5.72m
Heptathlon #3 - Shot Put
Robert Cacace 1st of 3 11.66m PJ Succi 2nd 9.90m
Heptathlon #4 - High Jump
PJ Succi 1st of 3 1.72m Robert Cacace 2nd 1.72m