Eckman and Hayden Win Big East Titles on Last Day of Competition
May 8, 2005
PISCATAWAY, N.J. - On the final day of competition at the 2005 Outdoor Big East Championships, Villanova crowned two conference champions and wound up with 93 points to finish in fourth place in the team standings. Rutgers won the team title with 192 points, while Notre Dame (143.50) and Pittsburgh (117) rounded out the top three.
"We came into the weekend trying to score 100 points," Villanova head coach Marcus O'Sullivan said. "That seemed like a reachable goal with the athletes we have on this team. With 93 points, we were pretty close to our goal, and I am pleased by that."
Graduate student Ryan Hayden (Richmond, Canada) captured the title in the 800 meter run with a time of 1:52.54 in Sunday's final. He entered the race as the top seed after winning his preliminary heat on Saturday, and took first once again on Sunday to claim his 10th career conference title.
Sophomore Drew Eckman (Oxford, Pa.) placed first in the 400 meter hurdles with a time of 52.38 in the finals. Like Hayden, he won his preliminary heat on Saturday and went into the finals as the top seed. Eckman led from start to finish along the way to winning the race. Freshman Patrick Gazzini (Katonah, N.Y.) placed seventh in the race with a time of 55.36.
"Ryan ran a very tactical race in the 800 meters," O'Sullivan said. "He had a great run in that event, and Drew was never pressured in winning the 400 meter hurdles."
The Wildcats received strong performances in three different events from sophomore Robert McDade (Broomall, Pa.). McDade finished second in the hammer throw, third in the shot put and fourth in the discus. Those efforts helped him to contribute 18 points towards Villanova's team total of 93.
"Robert did a great job for us this weekend," O'Sullivan said. "He was able to bring in a lot of team points and that was a big accomplishment. He was one of the reasons were able to score enough points to finish in fourth place."
McDade posted a mark of 53.02 meters in the hammer on Sunday, and finished a narrow margin behind the winning mark of 54.09m. On Saturday, McDade produced marks of 16.45m in the shot put and 50.97 meters in the discus throw.
The Wildcats had one other competitor in the field events on Sunday, as junior Ryan Vealey (Warwick, R.I.) was seventh in the javelin with a distance of 54.89 meters.
Villanova placed second in all three of the relay events on Sunday. In the 4x100 meter relay, the Wildcats posted a time of 41.74 behind the quartet of freshman Francisco Aguirre (Quito, Ecuador), graduate Carlos Bedoya (White Plains, N.Y.), junior Carl Hansen (Glen Mills, Pa.) and freshman Kevin Okolie (Dix Hills, N.Y.).
In the 4x400 meter relay, Aguirre, Hansen, freshman John Wilsman (Philadelphia, Pa.) and Eckman finished in a time of 3:13.11. The final relay was the 4x800 meter quartet of junior Sam Carella (Riverton, N.J.), sophomore Kippy Keino (Eldoret, Kenya), Hayden and sophomore Mark Korich (Wyndmoor, Pa.) that finished with a time of 7:35.04.
In addition to running on the 4x100 relay squad, Bedoya competed in the finals of the 100 and 200 meter dashes. He placed fifth in the 100 meters with a time of 10.67, and took sixth in the 200 meters in 21.52. In the 400 meter dash, Aguirre (48.81) and Wilsman (49.67) placed fourth and sixth, respectively.
Junior Marc Pelerin (Marlton, N.J.) and sophomore Michael Kerrigan (Stroudsburg, Pa.) each ran in the finals of the 1500 meters, where they finished eighth and 12th, respectively. Pelerin crossed in a time of 3:59.24, while Kerrigan's time was 4:06.30.
Pelerin also placed 15th in the 5000 meter run with a time of 15:32.88. Taking eighth in the same event was classmate Milos Mitric (Zivke Micial, Yugoslavia), who produced a time of 14:49.04.
In events that were completed on Saturday, junior Craig Segal (Holmdel, N.J.) ran in the 10000 meter run and placed 12th with a time of 33:16.74. Keino competed in the 3000 meter steeplechase and crossed in fourth place with a time of 9:08.86. Sophomore Matt Spence (East Stroudsburg, Pa.) and freshman Tim Murphy (Glen Rock, N.J.) competed in the decathlon and placed seventh and eighth, respectively. Spence totaled 5246 points, while Murphy had 5207 points.
Villanova will next compete in the IC4A Championship, which is being hosted by Princeton University this Friday through Sunday. The meet will take place at the Weaver Track & Field Stadium.