Feb. 22, 2014
NEW YORK - On a night that will long be remembered as a special one in Villanova history the men's indoor track & field squad won the team title at the BIG EAST Championships for the fourth time in program history. Head coach Marcus O'Sullivan and his staff were named the conference Coaching Staff of the Year and the Wildcats won seven different events during the conference meet.
On a night that will long be remembered as a special one in Villanova history the men's indoor track & field squad won the team title at the BIG EAST Championships for the fourth time in program history. Head coach Marcus O'Sullivan and his staff were named the conference Coaching Staff of the Year and the Wildcats won seven different events during the conference meet.
The seven events Villanova won included five individual running events, one relay and one field event. Redshirt freshman Josh Lampron (Mansfield, Mass.) was the conference champion in the 1000 meters, sophomore Jordy Williamsz (Melbourne, Australia) captured a title in the Mile, senior Sam McEntee (Perth, Australia) won the 3000 meters and freshman Patrick Tiernan (Toowoombau, Australia) was the winner of the 5000 meters as the Wildcats made a clean sweep of the distance running events.
Senior Samuel Ellison (Dresher, Pa.) ran to a championship in the 500 meters and Villanova also won the distance medley relay for the third straight year. Junior Elbert Maxwell (Pittsburgh, Pa.) came up with a big win in the long jump and is the first athlete in school history to win that event at the conference championships.
"It was exciting to watch," O'Sullivan said. "We had not been in this position before or had this opportunity with this particular group of guys. This experience gives a whole new dimension to this group."
Villanova won the team title with 200.5 points and easily outdistanced runner-up Georgetown (168) and the rest of the seven-team field. This is only the ninth time in the 35-year history of the conference meet that a team has won by a margin of more than 30 points. No previous team had ever put up a higher team score. O'Sullivan noted that as the meet unfolded the Wildcats were without the peace of mind that such a cushion in the standings would suggest.
"When the events are going on you never quite know what else is going to happen. There was a point with five events left where we were only ahead of Georgetown by eight points and we had the high jump, 3000 meters and relays left. It was really too close for comfort at that point so every single point we got was of great value towards us winning it."
O'Sullivan referred to a junction in the meet where Villanova led the Hoyas by a 152-144 margin. Less than 10 minutes later the 3000 meters race was over and the Wildcats had tripled their lead to 24 points. The team title was all but secured with only the 4x800 and 4x400 relays remaining.
Villanova scored 22 points in the 3000 meters thanks to a one-two finish by McEntee and Tiernan and a fifth place result from junior Brian Basili (South Orange, N.J.). McEntee successfully defended his 3000 meters title from a year ago and won with a time of 8:10.52. Tiernan was on his heels in 8:10.71 and Basili crossed the finish line in 8:17.40.
Williamsz is the eighth different Wildcats runner to be a BIG EAST champion in the Mile. His time of 4:08.90 in the final on Saturday night was just over a second faster than the runner-up from Providence. In the preliminary heats yesterday Williamsz was second overall from an original field of 15 runners.
Entering this weekend's meet Ellison was already a three-time All-BIG EAST performer in the 500 meters. He added a fourth such honor to his list of career accolades and also garnered his first individual indoor conference crown. Ellison won on Saturday night with a time of 1:01.67 and had a margin of victory of nearly 1.5 seconds. He had also been first overall after the preliminary heats on Friday afternoon. Senior Chris FitzSimons (Hamden, Conn.) added a fifth place finish in the 500 meters with a time of 1:04.67.
The list of noteworthy Villanova performances from the weekend was not exactly a short one but even still the 1000 meters is an event which stood out in O'Sullivan's mind. Lampron was the champion with a time of 2:22.66, junior Dusty Solis (Colorado Springs, Colo.) tied for second place (2:23.48), graduate student Mike Palmisano (Dresher, Pa.) was sixth (2:24.87) and sophomore Charlie Bates (Hoboken, N.J.) came in seventh (2:25.86).
"That was a big win for Lampron and Dusty came back after running hard yesterday," O'Sullivan said. "Charlie Bates put up a time of 2:25. Those were the kinds of performances that you just looked at with wonder and realized that something special was happening."
Palmisano, Bates and Lampron were not quite done for the evening, either. They all followed junior Chris O'Sullivan (Havertown, Pa.) in the 4x800 meter relay and the Wildcats came in second with a time of 7:37.80 in the relay. Villanova also finished fourth in the 4x400 relay. A lineup of sophomore Donald Urschel (East Brunswick, N.J.), junior Cory Serfoss (Easton, Pa.), freshman Ben Malone (River Vale, N.J.) and freshman Kyle Cartwright (Oyster Bay, N.Y.) posted a time of 3:20.69. On Friday afternoon Serfoss and Malone had each been part of the Wildcats victory in the distance medley relay.
Earlier on Saturday evening Malone came up big with a second place finish in the 800 meters. He crossed the finish line in 1:51.80 and junior Chris Pietrocarlo (Hampstead, N.H.) came in seventh with a time of 1:56.87. Urscher and Cartwright were also individual scorers earlier in the night, as they came in sixth (49.67) and seventh (50.72) respectively in the 400 meters. To round out the sprint events junior Bryan Murphy (Teaneck, N.J.) placed fourth in the 60 meters (7.03), while sophomore Aaron Sandifer (Harrisburg, N.C.) and freshman PJ Succi (Warminster, Pa.) were second (8.62) and fourth (9.29) in the 60 meter hurdles.
Maxwell tied for third place in the high jump and cleared a height of 2.00 meters to earn 5.5 team points. In the long jump on Friday he had set a new personal best distance in the long jump en route to his first career league title. Junior Matthew Sidney (Canton, Mass.) finished fifth in the high jump (1.95m).
Villanova will be back in action next weekend. With the BIG EAST meet completed the Wildcats will turn their attention to their potential for qualifying in individual events for the NCAA Championships next month.
COMPLETE VILLANOVA RESULTS
Bryan Murphy 4th of 9 7.03
60 Meter Hurdles
Aaron Sandifer 2nd of 4 8.62 PJ Succi 4th 9.29
Donald Urschel 6th of 7 49.67 Kyle Cartwright 7th 50.72
Samuel Ellison 1st of 9 1:01.67 Chris FitzSimons 5th 1:04.67 Peter Winslow 9th 1:06.38
Ben Malone 2nd of 7 1:51.80 Chris Pietrocarlo 7th 1:56.87
Josh Lampron 1st of 10 2:22.66 Dusty Solis tie-2nd 2:23.48 Mike Palmisano 6th 2:24.87 Charlie Bates 7th 2:25.86
Jordy Williamsz 1st of 12 4:08.90 Rob Denault 9th 4:13.26
Sam McEntee 1st of 19 8:10.52 Patrick Tiernan 2nd 8:10.71 Brian Basili 5th 8:17.40 Harry Warnick 11th 8:22.25
4x400 Meter Relay
Villanova 4th of 7 3:20.69 Donald Urschel Cory Serfoss Ben Malone Kyle Cartwright
4x800 Meter Relay
Villanova 2nd of 7 7:37.80 Chris O'Sullivan Mike Palmisano Charlie Bates Josh Lampron
Elbert Maxwell tie-3rd of 8 2.00m Matthew Sidney 5th 1.95m
Denis Ostick 7th of 11 12.97m Connor Milanaik 10th 11.76m Chris Dougherty 11th 11.74
James Rowen 6th of 11 13.34m Dan Sullivan 10th 11.84m
Heptathlon #5 - 60 Meter Hurdles
PJ Succi 2nd of 3 9.32 Robert Cacace 3rd 10.06
Heptathlon #6 - Pole Vault
PJ Succi 2nd of 3 4.10m Robert Cacace 3rd 2.80m
Heptathlon #7 - 1000 Meters
PJ Succi 1st of 3 2:54.58 Robert Cacace 3rd 3:30.87
Heptathlon - Final Scores
PJ Succi 2nd of 3 4403 Robert Cacace 3rd 3574