Aug 28, 2013
NEW ORLEANS--Villanova has earned a team bid to the NCAA Championships in each of the last five years and has a bright outlook for the 2013 season with a strong core group returning. In preseason polls announced by the United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) this week the Wildcats are ranked No. 27 in the nation and No. 3 in the Mid-Atlantic Region.
The trio of junior Sam McEntee (Perth, Australia) and sophomores Rob Denault (Aurora, Ont.) and Jordy Williamsz (Melbourne, Australia) are the top returning runners for Villanova, which came on strong at the end of the 2012 campaign and earned an automatic bid to the national meet. McEntee and Williamsz finished second and fourth, respectively, at the NCAA Mid-Atlantic Regional and Denault was also among the team's five counting runners in a second place team finish.
Wildcats head coach Marcus O'Sullivan traditionally points to a strong start in the team's early meets as a springboard to success later in the year. Villanova begins the 2013 season two weeks earlier than in past years and will compete in the Big Five Invitational on September 13 in Philadelphia. Another local meet will follow on September 26 when the Wildcats run in the Main Line Invitational at Haverford. The two early meets allow Villanova ample time to build towards the bulk of its schedule.
The first major meet on the Wildcats schedule is the Chile Pepper Festival, which will be hosted by Arkansas on October 5. The Razorbacks are ranked No. 5 in the preseason national rankings and the Chile Pepper meet is likely to draw a strong field of competing teams. Villanova will also compete in the Princeton Invitational (Oct. 19) prior to beginning the postseason stretch which includes the BIG EAST Championships (Nov. 2), NCAA Mid-Atlantic Regional (Nov. 15) and NCAA Championships (Nov. 23).
In the first year of the newly configured BIG EAST Conference the conference championships will be held at the Wayne E. Dannehl Course in Somers, Wis. The site previously hosted the BIG EAST meet in 2009. The Wildcats are one of two conference teams in the preseason national poll, with Georgetown (No. 24) also appearing in the top 30. Providence was among several teams that received votes in the poll.
Georgetown and Villanova came in at No. 2 and No. 3, respectively, in the Mid-Atlantic Region rankings, with Princeton currently holding the top spot in the region.