Nov. 21, 2013
FULL COVERAGE OF SATURDAY'S NCAA CHAMPIONSHIPS
VILLANOVA, Pa.--For a program-record seventh consecutive year Villanova will be competing in the NCAA Championships, which take place this this Saturday afternoon on the LaVern Gibson Championship Course near the Indiana State campus. Entering the meet the Wildcats have tallied three straight first-place finishes, including winning the team and individual titles at both the BIG EAST Championships and the NCAA Mid-Atlantic Regional this month.
At last week's regional meet Villanova earned an automatic bid to the NCAA Championships with its finish atop the team standings. The regional title for the Wildcats is the team's first since 2003 and the fourth under head coach Marcus O'Sullivan, who was named the Mid-Atlantic Region Coach of the Year earlier this week by the United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA).
This is the seventh straight season that Villanova has earned a team bid to the NCAA Championships. The longest previous strong of NCAA appearances was six years from 1966-71, a stretch that included the Wildcats winning four national championships in a five-year span. Villanova is ranked No. 14 in the nation going into the national meet on Saturday, its highest spot in the USTFCCCA top 30 poll since finishing the 2011 season at No. 13.
At the Mid-Atlantic Regional last week Villanova captured the team title in dominant fashion by placing each of its five scoring runners in the top 12 overall. Freshman Patrick Tiernan (Toowoomba, Australia) and junior Sam McEntee (Perth, Australia) finished first and second, respectively, and Tiernan became the first individual champion for the Wildcats since Bobby Curtis in 2007. The other scoring runners for Villanova were sophomores Rob Denault (Aurora, Ont.) and Jordy Williamsz (Melbourne, Australia) in ninth and 10th place, and junior Brian Basili (South Orange, N.J.) in 12th place.
Tiernan was chosen as the Mid-Atlantic Region Athlete of the Year after being the individual champion at both the NCAA Mid-Atlantic Regional and the BIG EAST Championships. Tiernan has been the top finisher for the Wildcats in each of his last five races entering the national championship race. Each of the five scoring runners named above, in addition to senior Alex Tully (Little Rock, Ark.), have received All-BIG EAST and All-Mid Atlantic Region acclaim this season.
The 10,000 meter men's national championship race goes off on Saturday at Noon and can be seen live on NCAA.com. For a link to the live broadcast, and for additional notes about the men's cross country team, click on the links at the top of this release.