May 28, 2011
BLOOMINGTON, Ind.--Senior Matthew Gibney (Albury, Australia) won his quarterfinal heat in the 1500 meters on Saturday night and qualified for the national championships meet in two weeks. Villanova wrapped up competition at the NCAA East Regional at the Robert C. Haugh Track & Field Complex on Saturday night.
Gibney ran in the first of two quarterfinal heats in the 1500 meters, in which the 12 qualifiers for the national championships were to come from the top five finishers in each heat plus the next two fastest times. Gibney's heat was stacked with BIG EAST champion Jeremy Rae of Notre Dame and Horizon League Champion Kris Gauson of Butler, with three of the top five BIG EAST runners and two of the top five Big Ten runners making up the field.
At the start of the race Gibney began towards the back of the pack and only moved into one of the top five spots and an automatic championships berth with 550 meters left in the race. He held his spot in the top five until the final lap of the race and then started to make a terrific final kick over the last 400 meters. He had passed several runners to move into second place and then broke into the lead with 200 meters left and cruised down the final straightaway with a solid hold on first place. He wound up crossing the finish line with a time of 3:46.29.
Senior Brian Tetreault (Cinnaminson, N.J.) als ran in the first heat of the 1500 meters and came in 12th with a time of 3:59.73.
In the 5000 meters seniors Hugo Beamish (Havelock North, New Zealand) and Brian Long (Louisville, Ky.) and junior Mathew Mildenhall (Auckland, New Zealand) all ran for the Wildcats, with Mildenhall and Beamish each running a good race in the first and second heats, respectively.
Beamish placed eighth in the second heat, which was the faster of two heats. The top five finishers in each heat and the next two fastest times each advanced to the NCAA Championships and both of those next two fastest times came from the heat Beamish was in. He crossed the finish line in 14:10.09 and was less than two seconds behind Andrew Colley of North Carolina State for the final qualifying spot in the national championships meet.
In the first heat Mildenhall placed seventh in 14:11.16 and like Beamish in the next heat was less than two seconds off the final automatic qualifying spot. Mildenhall had an incredible final kick to his race and past four runners during the final 400 meters to move up from 11th to seventh place. In a field made up of 24 runners he found himself towards the back of the pack until after the midpoint of the race and then started to gradually move through the ranks. He continued moving up in the final 800 meters and when the bell sounded for the final lap of the race started a big kick towards the finish.
Long finished 12th in the first heat with a time of 14:29.87. He started strong and ran at the front of the pack for the first 2000 meters and also finished strong to hold his spot in 12th place after falling back from the leading group.
The NCAA Championships will be held at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa from June 8-11.