March 15, 2014
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.--Senior Samuel Ellison (Dresher, Pa.) and sophomore Jordy Williamsz (Melbourne, Australia) each scored team points with top-eight finishes in their respective events as the NCAA Championships concluded at the Albuquerque Convention Center on Saturday night. Ellison came in sixth in the final of the 800 meters and Williamsz placed eighth in the Mile on a successful night for both runners.
In the 800 meters Ellison ran a steady race and crossed the finish line in 1:50.13, less than two seconds off the winning pace. The pack of eight runners stayed tight through most of the race but Brandon McBride of Mississippi State grabbed an early lead and never let it go. The sixth place standing is the highest individual finish at a national meet for Ellison, who was also a qualifier for the indoor 800 meters last year.
Yesterday night Ellison finished fourth in his preliminary heat and then had to wait and see if his time of 1:49.53 was good enough to qualify him for the final. He advanced on time and then returned to the track later on Friday to run the 400 meters leg of the distance medley relay, in which Villanova recorded a ninth place finish.
Ellison had another outstanding indoor season for the Wildcats and was the individual champion in the 500 meters at the BIG EAST Championships last month. He is now a six-time All-American in his career between the indoor and outdoor seasons.
In the Mile final on Saturday night Williamsz crossed the finish line with a time of 4:04.79. Earlier this season he had posted a personal best time of 3:56.84 and his time at a high altitude at the NCAA meet would have been another sub-four minute mark at sea level.
Early on in Saturday night's race the trio of Lawi Lalang (Arizona), Anthony Rotich (UTEP) and Rich Peters (Boston University) went out hard and broke away from the rest of the field of 10 runners. Their pace couldn't be sustained for the entire race but they never fully came back to the rest of the pack either and Rotich wound up winning with a time of 4:02.54.
Williamsz was the BIG EAST champion in the Mile and was ranked third in the nation during the regular season. His sub-four minute time at the Iowa State Classic in February is the fastest by a Wildcats runner since head coach Marcus O'Sullivan posted a faster time during his own racing career.
Villanova wrapped up competition at the NCAA Championships with the two races on Saturday night. The team also received a seventh place finish in the 5000 meters from freshman Patrick Tiernan (Toowoomba, Australia) last night.