Nov. 17, 2012
LOUISVILLE, Ky. - At the NCAA Championships on Saturday afternoon Villanova registered a 27th place finish in the team standings at E.P. Tom Sawyer State Park. In his final collegiate cross country race senior Mathew Mildenhall (Auckland, New Zealand) was the Wildcats top finisher with a time of 30:50 on the 10,000 meter course.
This is the fifth straight season that Villanova earned a team berth to the national meet. In recent years the Wildcats have displayed terrific depth throughout its lineup and this season the team has mostly been led by its younger runners.
In today's meet however, Villanova had its two fifth-year seniors - Mildenhall and Matt Kane (Fairfield, Conn.) - cross the line as the Wildcats top two finishers. Mildenhall, who also has eligibility remaining for the indoor and outdoor track and field seasons, has had a strong season for Villanova and it was fitting for him to wrap up an excellence collegiate cross country career at the top of the Wildcats lineup.
Mildenhall came in 108th overall and scored 84 points towards the Villanova team total based on his finish among teams with a full lineup of runners. Kane came in 145th with a time of 31:04.6 and was two seconds ahead of sophomore Sam McEntee (Perth, Australia), who was 150th overall.
The fourth and fifth counting runners for the Wildcats were freshman Jordy Williamsz (Melbourne, Australia) and redshirt freshman Rob Denault (Auora, Ont.), who finished 161st (31:12.8) and 166th (31:16.7), respectively, in the field of 246 runners.
Villanova was one of four BIG EAST schools in the field of 31 teams at the NCAA Championships. The conference was also represented by Syracuse (15th), Georgetown (25th) and Notre Dame (28th).
The team champion in Saturday's race was Oklahoma State with a total of 72 points, while Wisconsin (135), Colorado (158) and Northern Arizona (191) rounded out the top four teams. The individual national champion was Kennedy Kithuka of Texas Tech, who produced a winning time of 28:31.3.
Overall this was the 30th team appearance at the NCAA Championships for the Wildcats, who have won four national titles. That total is tied for the sixth-most national championships in the history of the NCAA cross country meet. Villanova won three consecutive national championships from 1966-68 and captured four titles in a five-year span from 1966-70.
This season the Wildcats received an automatic bid to the NCAA Championships after finishing second at the NCAA Mid-Atlantic Regional last week. The team's results this season also include a fifth place finish at the BIG EAST Championships, eighth place finish at the Pre-NCAA Meet and a team title at the Paul Short Run.