Sept. 28, 2012
BETHLEHEM, Pa.--Backed by three runners that finished in the top nine overall and with its top seven athletes healthy and running together Villanova won the team championship at the Paul Short Run on Friday morning in dominant fashion. In the Men's Gold Race the Wildcats accumulated 69 points from their top seven runners to easily outdistance William & Mary, Georgetown and the rest of the field of 37 teams at the Lehigh University course.
"I was very happy to see us come out on top," Villanova head coach Marcus O'Sullivan said. "During the race I thought that Georgetown looked very strong and I didn't fully realize until the end of the race that William & Mary had packed their top four and run as well as they did. It took a great performance for us to come in first."
At the top of the Villanova lineup the trio of sophomore Samuel McEntee (Perth, Australia), senior Mathew Mildenhall (Auckland, New Zealand) and freshman Jordy Williamsz (Melbourne, Australia) all finished in the top nine out of 332 runners in the Gold race. McEntee placed fourth on the 8,000-meter course with a time of 24:13, while Mildenhall and Williamsz were separated by just one second in seventh place (24:22) and ninth place (24:23).
Junior Greg Morrin (Hockessin, Del.) had a terrific race for the second straight week and was the Wildcats fourth runner with a 23rd place finish and a time of 24:37. Redshirt freshman Rob Denault (Aurora, Ont.) matched that time with a 26th place finish, while the Villanova top seven was rounded out by senior Matt Kane (Fairfield, Conn.) in 39th place (24:50) and sophomore Brian Basili (South Orange, N.J.) in 55th place (25:00).
"Of all the noteworthy runs today we got a really great performance from Greg Morrin," O'Sullivan said. He ran very well at Haverford this week and today he stepped up and had an excellent result to be our fourth runner. I am very proud of the way Greg has run in the first two races of the season."
Three of the top five teams in the final standings were from the BIG EAST, including the Wildcats along with third-place Georgetown (101 points) and fifth-place Providence (194). The other teams in the top five were William & Mary in second place (100) and Dartmouth in fourth (175).
"Not everyone ran their best but we had enough depth to overcome that," O'Sullivan said. "It has been rare for me to have the whole team running together this early in the season and I think we will only get better from here. I am hoping that having all the guys run together will be a good omen for us and I do think that will be the case as the season progresses."
The strong result on Friday is particularly encouraging for Villanova after the team struggled at the Paul Short meet last season. This season also marks the first time in several years that O'Sullivan has had his entire roster healthy and running together - both in training and in competition - this early in the season.
"We are traditionally a slow starting team at the beginning of the season so it gives the guys a great deal of confidence to pick up a win like this so early," O'Sullivan said. "We still have room to pick it up and continue improving during the season."
The ability to field their full lineup also allowed the Wildcats to demonstrate their depth, as the team's top five runners were separated by just 25 seconds at the finish line. Villanova had an average time of 24:26 from its top five and the 25-second spread was the best from the field of teams.
Following a break next weekend the Wildcats will return to action on Saturday, October 13 to compete in the Pre-NCAA Meet at E.P. Tom Sawyer State Park in Louisville, Ky.
COMPLETE VILLANOVA RESULTS
Paul Short Run
Lehigh University Course
Top 10 Teams
Villanova 69 William & Mary 100 Georgetown 101 Dartmouth 175 Providence 194 Cornell 202 Yale 255 Columbia 309 Lehigh 312 Saint Joseph's 332
Samuel McEntee 4th of 332 24:13 Mathew Mildenhall 7th 24:22 Jordy Williamsz 9th 24:23 Greg Morrin 23rd 24:37 Rob Denault 26th 24:37 Matt Kane 39th 24:50 Brian Basili 55th 25:00 Alex Tully 65th 25:06 John Pickhaver 68th 25:08 Tom Trainer 118th 25:37
Men's Open Race
Dusty Solis 12th of 394 25:34 Chris O'Sullivan 33rd 26:10 Charlie Bates 34th 26:10 Chris Pietrocarlo 40th 26:16 Dan Harris 54th 26:28 Robert Hurlbut 64th 26:39 Richie Bohny 191st 27:56