UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Sophomores Andrew Marston (Wayne, Pa.) and Casey Comber (Maple Glen, Pa.) were among the top six overall finishers and Villanova had a successful outing at the Penn State National Open with a third place finish in the team standings on Friday morning. Marston was the individual runner-up and Comber placed sixth over 8,000 meters at the Blue/White Golf Courses.
The finishes of Marston and Comber helped the Wildcats stay within striking distance of team champion Oklahoma State and second place Penn State for most of the race. Those two teams were part of a packed field of 17 teams, with the Cowboys entering the meet ranked No. 9 in the nation and the host Nittany Lions coming in ranked ahead of Villanova in the latest Mid-Atlantic Region rankings released by the United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA).
Marston returned in top form after missing the Paul Short Run two weeks ago and recorded a time of 25:16, just three seconds off the winning pace set by Hassan Abdi of Oklahoma State. Comber was close behind with a time of 25:25, while the other scoring runners for the Wildcats included sophomore Paul Power (Phoenixville, Pa.), junior Zach Swenson (Boulder, Colo.) and redshirt freshman Nick Steele (Harvard, Mass.). Power came in 29th with a time of 26:08 and Swenson placed 32nd in 26:12.
A group of three Villanova runners finished consecutively in 45th through 47th places, led by Steele and redshirt freshman Martin Barr (Skokie, Ill.) who were each timed in 26:26. Redshirt freshman Rob Morro (Media, Pa.) had a time of 26:28 and was followed by sophomore Logan Wetzel (Saline, Mich.), redshirt freshman Paul Nichols (Latham, N.Y.) and senior Ben Malone (River Vale, N.J.). Wetzel and Nichols each had times of 26:44 and Malone finished in 26:56.
Oklahoma State won the meet with 61 points, followed by Penn State (79), Villanova (107), Lehigh (115) and Cornell (155) in the top five of the field of 17 teams. Next up for the Wildcats is the BIG EAST Championships on October 28 in Kenosha, Wis.
COMPLETE VILLANOVA RESULTS
Team Scores (Top 10)
1. Oklahoma State 61 2. Penn State 79 3. Villanova 107 4. Lehigh 115 5. Cornell 155 6. William & Mary 156 7. Bucknell 160 8. North Carolina 186 9. Akron 198 10. Duquesne 222
Andrew Marston 2nd of 126 25:16 Casey Comber 6th 25:25 Paul Power 29th 26:08 Zach Swenson 32nd 26:12 Nick Steele 45th 26:26 Martin Barr 46th 26:26 Rob Morro 47th 26:28 Logan Wetzel 63rd 26:44 Paul Nichols 64th 26:44 Ben Malone 73rd 26:56