May 25, 2012
JACKSONVILLE, Fla.--Sophomore middle distance runner Samuel Ellison (Dresher, Pa.) is the first Villanova athlete to secure a spot at the NCAA Championships site in Des Moines, Iowa next month after automatically qualifying in the 800 meters on Friday night. He was running in the national quarterfinals at Hodges Stadium on the second day of the NCAA East Regional and came in third in his heat.
Ellison ran a personal best time of 1:47.76 and had the fourth-fastest time overall out of 27 runners in the quarterfinals. In the first of three quarterfinal heats Ellison was in fourth place after the first lap around the track and moved into the top three at the beginning of the second lap. He moved into second place with 200 meters remaining and then delivered a terrific effort in the final 50 meters to hold his spot in the top three.
The top four runners in Ellison's heat were tightly packed at the finish line and less than six-tenths of a second separated those first four finishers. Aaron Evans of Georgia won the heat in 1:47.31 and was followed by Curtis Beach (Duke) in second place (1:47.75), a mere one one-hundredth of a second ahead of Ellison in third place. Ellison held off Howard Shepard of Louisiana State by 0.11 seconds to secure his automatic qualifying spot.
Also in action for the Wildcats on Friday night was junior Nicoy Hines (Paterson, N.J.), who ran in the quarterfinals of the 400 meter hurdles. Hines ran in the second of three quarterfinal heats and finished seventh in his heat with a time of 52.61.
The final day of action at the NCAA East Regional is on Saturday and sophomore Samuel McEntee (Perth, Australia) will run in the quarterfinals of the 1500 meters at 6:30 p.m. McEntee had the fifth-fastest time in the first round out of the 48 qualifiers for the regional meet.
COMPLETE VILLANOVA RESULTS FROM FRIDAY
Samuel Ellison 4th of 27 1:47.76 Heat 1 (3rd)
400 Meter Hurdles
Nicoy Hines 20th of 27 52.61 Heat 2 (7th)
VILLANOVA SCHEDULE FOR SATURDAY
1500 Meters Samuel McEntee Quarterfinals