Feb. 4, 2012
NEW YORK - Sophomore Emily Lipari (Greenvale, N.Y.) broke the 4:40 mark in the championship section of the Mile for the first time in her career and headlined a talent-laden field of runners with a big individual win at the New Balance Collegiate Invitational on Saturday evening. Villanova wrapped up this weekend's meet at the New York Armory with several noteworthy results on the second day of competition.
Lipari raced across the finish line with a time of 4:39.78 to break her previous personal best by almost three seconds. She won by exactly half a second over the runner-up from Tennessee and the rest of the field of 21 competitors. It was the second win in as many races in the Mile for Lipari this season and her time put her on the doorstep of the NCAA Championships automatic qualifying standard.
The top four finishers in the Mile were separated at the finish line by a mere 1.19 seconds but Lipari was the only runner to cross the line in a time under 4:40. So far this season Lipari has run postseason qualifying times (BIG EAST Championships, ECAC Championship) in the 1000 meters, the Mile and the 3000 meters.
In addition to the win by Lipari in the Mile the Wildcats also registered a victory on Saturday in the Pennsylvania section of the 4x400 meter relay. Villanova recorded a winning time of 3:50.34 and came in first out of six schools that made up the race.
Sophomore Nicky Akande (Lawrenceville, Ga.) competed in the championship section of the 3000 meters and finished in seventh place with a time of 9:39.46, easily qualifying her for postseason competition in the event. Akande has demonstrated her versatility during the indoor season and has matched Lipari by also notching postseason qualifications in the 1000 meters and the Mile. Freshman Sydney Harris (Colorado Springs, Colo.) came in 10th in the 3000 meters with a time of 10:00.01.
One other strong result for the Wildcats in the running events came from senior Shericka Ward (Leesburg, Fla.) in the championship section of the 200 meters. In the preliminary heats Ward registered a time of 24.08 to finish eighth overall out of 66 entries, including second in her individual heat. She moved on to the championship and repeated her time of 24.08 to come in ninth in the finals.
Villanova returns to New York next weekend to compete in the world-famous Millrose Games next Saturday.
COMPLETE VILLANOVA RESULTS
200 Meters (Championship)
Shericka Ward 8th of 66 24.08 2nd (Heat 3) Varonica Johnson 49th 24.95 5th (Heat 3)
Shericka Ward 9th of 12 24.08 3rd (Heat 2)
Emily Lipari 1st of 21 4:39.78
3000 Meters (Championship)
Nicky Akande 7th of 11 9:39.46 Sydney Harris 10th 10:00.01
4x400 Meter Relay (Pennsylvania)
Villanova 1st of 6 3:50.34
Triple Jump (Championship)
Samantha Francis 22nd of 24 11.81m
Triple Jump (College)
Marie Minasi 29th of 42 10.96m Victoria Profit 34th 10.81m