Men's Track Set For NCAA Championships
March 13, 2014
VILLANOVA, Pa.--The 2013-14 indoor track & field season for Villanova has already seen some of the top performances in program history and the Wildcats will continue their season at the NCAA Championships this weekend. Three individuals from Villanova qualified for the national meet, as did the team's distance medley relay squad. Individually, the Wildcats will be represented by senior Samuel Ellison (Dresher, Pa.) in the 800 meters, sophomore Jordy Williamsz (Melbourne, Australia) in the Mile and freshman Patrick Tiernan (Toowoomba, Australia) in the 5000 meters.
Ellison has a top time of 1:48.40 in the 800 meters this season, which is the fastest indoor mark for a Villanova runner in more than a decade. Ellison also qualified for the NCAA Championships last season and was a second team All-American in the 800 meters, while also running a leg on the Wildcats first team All-America distance medley relay team. Last month Ellison won the BIG EAST title in the 500 meters and earned All-BIG EAST honors in the event for the fourth straight year.
Tiernan set an indoor school record in the 5000 meters at the Iowa State Classic in February and is currently ranked second in the nation in the event. His time of 13:37.73 broke the indoor Villanova mark of 13:38.3 which was set by Sydney Maree in 1981. Tiernan had the lead for most of his race in Iowa and wound up finishing less than half a second off the winning pace. He sent on to win the BIG EAST title in the event.
Williamsz ran the fastest Mile by a Wildcats runner in decades at the Iowa State Classic. His time of 3:56.84 from that meet ranks third in the nation this season. Williamsz, who is one of 36 Villanova to have run at least one sub-four minute Mile or its metric equivalent, is the program's fastest miler since current Wildcats head coach Marcus O'Sullivan posted faster times during his own racing career.
The selection of Villanova's DMR squad to the national meet comes after the Wildcats moved up to third on the national performance list in the relay earlier this month. A lineup that included junior Dusty Solis (Colorado Springs, Colo.), Ellison and seniors Chris FitzSimons (Hamden, Conn.) and Sam McEntee (Perth, Australia) broke the 9:30 mark indoors for the first time since 2002 and finished with a time of 9:28.06. Villanova won the BIG EAST title in the DMR last month.
As a team the Wildcats won their first BIG EAST title since 1986 and also registered the highest team score in the history of the conference meet. Villanova won seven different events at the BIG EAST Championships and scored 199.5 points to easily outdistance runner-up Georgetown and the other six teams in the field.
Head coach Marcus O'Sullivan and his staff were named the BIG EAST Coaching Staff of the Year and earlier this week O'Sullivan was named the Mid-Atlantic Region Head Coach of the Year by the United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) for the fifth time in his career.
Over the years the Wildcats have produced 36 indoor national champions, including 24 individual event titles and 12 championships in the relays. O'Sullivan led Villanova to its three most recent titles, which came in the 3000 meters (Adrian Blincoe, 2002) and in consecutive years in the distance medley relay (2002, 2003).