NEW ORLEANS - Senior middle distance runner Ben Malone (River Vale, N.J.) was named an honorable mention All-American by the United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCA) in an announcement made on Monday afternoon. Malone concluded his outstanding collegiate career at the NCAA Championships last week, where he competed in the national semifinal round of the 1500 meters.
This is the third career All-America honor for Malone and the second of his senior season. He was previously an honorable mention All-American in the 1500 meters in 2016 and he also garnered first team honors as part of Villanova’s distance medley relay squad at the indoor NCAA Championships earlier this year. Malone wound up his Wildcats career as a three-time All-American, a six-time BIG EAST champion and a 10-time All-BIG EAST performer.
In his final collegiate race at the NCAA meet in Eugene, Ore. last week, Malone recorded a time of 3:50.61 in the 1500 meters to place sixth in his heat and 18th overall in the semifinal round. The top five finishers in Malone’s heat moved onto the final and he put himself in contention for one of those spots with a strong race and a big kick in the final 200 meters. He had been an automatic qualifier through the national first round and quarterfinal heats at the NCAA East Preliminary in Tampa last month, and his season-best time of 3:43.38 in the quarterfinals gave him the fastest qualifying time among the 12 athletes who moved on to the national championships.
Malone was also the runner-up in the 1500 meters at the BIG EAST Championships in a race that was run in cold and rainy conditions. It was his time of 3:44.64 in the Kehoe Invitational at Maryland on May 4 which earned him a spot to compete at the East preliminary meet.
Returning to the outdoor NCAA meet for the second time in his career was a fitting individual highlight for Malone’s final collegiate campaign, although the year was filled with several defining team moments as well. Malone ran legs on both relays which won Championship of America titles at the Penn Relays in April and was also part of the 4x800 meter relay squad which won a BIG EAST title and helped the Wildcats clinch the team crown at the conference meet.
Villanova won both the distance medley relay and the 4xMile relay to bring home championship wheels from the Penn Relays. It was the first time since 1984 that the Wildcats won two titles in the same year at Penn. Malone led off the DMR with a split of 2:58.34 over 1200 meters and ran the second leg of the 4xMile relay two days later with a split of 4:04.6.
This outdoor season was the 11th in the last 12 years in which at least one Villanova athlete has advanced to the NCAA Championships. Since the program first scored at the outdoor national meet in 1947, the Wildcats have earned a total of 150 All-America honors.