March 10, 2012
NAMPA, Idaho - A tremendous kick which included the fastest time in the field over the final 400 meters enabled Villanova sophomore Samuel McEntee (Perth, Australia) to surge to a fourth place finish in the Mile at the NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships at Jackson Indoor Track on Saturday evening. McEntee crossed the finish line in 4:01.91 in a thrilling ending to the national championship race.
Only the official times of the race could separate the first four runners across the finish line and that group was separated by just one quarter of a second, with the second through fourth finishers racing within thirteen-hundredths of a second of each other. McEntee had arguably the best closing kick in the field and moved up three spots as he closed in on the homestretch of the race.
"Sam did very well to finish fourth and I am very happy for him," Villanova coach Marcus O'Sullivan said. "This was a great effort for sure and an even better finish considering Sam was running in his first NCAA championship meet indoors and still has yet to make his collegiate debut during the outdoor season."
McEntee closed the race with a time of 54.95 over the last 400 meters, the fastest split in the field of 11 runners. Unofficially he had a time of 1:55 over the final 800 meters but was clearly at his strongest when it counted most. McEntee appeared caught in the middle of the pack with as little as 500 meters remaining but by the final straightaway had moved to the outside and was right at the front of the race.
"It was a congested field and Sam got caught near the rail for just a little too long," O'Sullivan said. "He wasn't quite where he should have been with 500 meters left but then in the last 400 meters he made a terrific move up towards the front. He did a great job to get up to fourth place in such a close and exciting finish."
Chris O'Hare of Tulsa won the national championship in the Mile with a time of 4:01.66 and was followed by Rich Peters (Boston University, 4:01.78) and Miles Batty (BYU, 4:01.86) ahead of McEntee. The fourth place finish by McEntee netted five team points for the Wildcats.
Villanova has now wrapped up the 2011-12 indoor season and will prepare for the start of outdoor competition in two weeks.
NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships
Finals - Mile
1) Chris O'Hare Tulsa 4:01.66 2) Rich Peters Boston University 4:01.78 3) Miles Batty BYU 4:01.86 4) Samuel McEntee Villanova 4:01.91 5) Andrew Bayer Indiana 4:02.13 6) Peter Callahan Princeton 4:02.66 7) Erik van Ingen Binghamton 4:02.70 8) Raul Botezan Oklahoma State 4:02.90 9) David McCarthy Providence 4:04.05 10) Kirubel Erassa Oklahoma State 4:04.36 11) Robby Creese Penn State 4:11.45