Nov. 25, 2013
NEW ORLEANS--Freshman Patrick Tiernan (Toowoomba, Australia) and junior Sam McEntee (Perth, Australia) were each named cross country All-Americans in an announcement on Monday afternoon by the United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA). The two runners finished ninth and 27th, respectively, at the NCAA Championships last weekend as Villanova wrapped up a terrific season with an 18th place team finish at the national meet.
Tiernan was the top finisher for the Wildcats in each of his last six races of the season. His ninth place finish at the NCAA Championships on Saturday was the best for a Villanova runner in six years. Tiernan crossed the finish line with a time of 30:15.7 on the modified 10,000 meter course, on which the starting boxes were relocated due to wet and muddy conditions. The race was also run in frigid weather.
In his first collegiate season Tiernan burst onto the scene and quickly made an impact for the Wildcats on the national level. He was the individual champion at both the BIG EAST Championships and the NCAA Mid-Atlantic Regional, with his performances at the top of the lineup helping lead Villanova to the team titles at each of those meets as well. Tiernan was named the Mid-Atlantic Region Athlete of the Year by the USTFCCCA last week.
McEntee was a consistent No. 2 runner in the Wildcats lineup all season and earns All-America honors in cross country for the first time in his career. He was the second BIG EAST runner behind Tiernan to cross the finish line at the NCAA meet and finished with a time of 30:36.7. McEntee improved by 50 spots from his best previous finish at the national championships.
Earlier this season McEntee came in fourth individually at the BIG EAST Championships and was the runner-up to Tiernan at the NCAA Mid-Atlantic Regional. This is the third straight year he has earned all-region honors and the second time in cross country he has been an All-BIG EAST performer. Between cross country and the indoor and outdoor track seasons McEntee is now a five-time All-American, three-time BIG EAST champion and seven-time All-BIG EAST performer during his Villanova career.
After the Wildcats won the BIG EAST and Mid-Atlantic Regional championships the team was ranked No. 14 in the nation going into the NCAA meet. That is the highest ranking for Villanova since it finished at No. 13 at the end of the 2011 season. During the year the Wildcats were also the team champion at the Princeton Invitational and came in second at the Chile Pepper Festival in Arkansas.
Villanova was one of only six schools from the field of 31 teams at the NCAA Championships to have more than one All-American, while Tiernan and McEntee were the only two All-Americans from the BIG EAST Conference.
Head coach Marcus O'Sullivan has now coached his Wildcats student-athletes to All-America honors 73 times, including 14 times in cross country. The only other season in which the men's cross country team had two All-Americans under O'Sullivan was in 2000 (Adrian Blincoe, Ryan Hayden). O'Sullivan was named the Mid-Atlantic Region Coach of the Year last week, marking the fifth time he has received the honor.