Feb. 17, 2013
GENEVA, Ohio - Junior middle distance runner Emily Lipari (Greenvale, N.Y.) was one of many stars for Villanova on the second day of the BIG EAST Indoor Track & Field Championships and the Wildcats came away with a terrific third place team finish at the SPIRE Institute on Sunday afternoon. Lipari was the individual champion in the 1000 meters and also anchored Villanova to its 21st all-time title in the 4x800 meter relay. Lipari was named the women's Most Outstanding Performer of the Meet and shared the honor with Jade Barber of Notre Dame.
Lipari delivered the relay championship to the Wildcats with a sensational finish in the final 50 meters to close out a thrilling race that had no shortage of exciting shifts in momentum. By the second leg of the relay Villanova, Notre Dame and Georgetown had established themselves as the frontrunners in the field of 12 teams. The lineup of sophomore Stephanie Schappert (Delray Beach, Fla.), freshman Angel Piccirillo (Homer City, Pa.), junior Nicky Akande (Lawrenceville, Ga.) and Lipari eventually came away with a winning time of 8:40.50 and held off Notre Dame by less than one tenth of a second.
There was less than 200 meters to go in the anchor leg of the relay when Lipari made a push to take the lead. It immediately looked like that move was what Notre Dame anchor Rebecca Tracy was waiting for, and she responded by racing away into the lead as the relay headed towards the final straightaway. Lipari had to make her final kick a big one and she caught up to Tracy inside the final 50 meters secure the win.
Lipari's big finish was possible because of great runs by Schappert, Piccirillo and Akande in the first three legs of the relay. Schappert held the lead for a good portion of her opening leg and did not surrender the lead until there was less than 200 meters left before the first handoff. She gave the baton to Piccirillo with the Wildcats in second place and Piccirillo held the position until putting Villanova into the lead in the final 200 meters of her leg. In the third leg of the relay Akande kept the Wildcats in the lead and set up Lipari for the big finish.
Making the anchor leg for Lipari that much more impressive is that she was running her third race in a span of three hours. Earlier on Sunday morning the day started off with an immediate highlight for Villanova, as the trio of Lipari, Piccirillo and senior Shannon Browne (Staten Island, N.Y.) registered a 1-2-4 finish in the finals of the 1000 meters.
Lipari crossed the finish line with a winning time of 2:46.19, with Piccirillo right behind her in 2:46.33. Browne came in fourth with a time of 2:50.03 and the 23 team points Villanova scored in the race instantly moved the team up from sixth place to second in the standings. As the events of the day unfolded the Wildcats were never further back than fourth place in the team rankings.
In the final straightaway of the 1000 meters a big finish by Lipari and Piccirillo might have been foreshadowing for what would eventually come in the relay. Early on in the race Hannah Neczypor was up at the front of the pack with Lipari but was the runners headed into the bell lap it looked like Piccirillo would be the one to present the biggest challenge to her teammate. At the final turn Rachel Schneider of Georgetown used her final kick to burst into the lead but Lipari and Piccirillo responded with a knockout punch and raced away from Schneider in the final 75 meters.
Just over an hour after her win in the 1000 meters Lipari was back on the track to race in the Mile, in which the Wildcats had four entries. Due to the number of runners that entered the event, the Mile was a finals-only race held today. Schappert and Lipari scored team points for Villanova by coming in fifth (4:43.20) and seventh (4:46.88), respectively. Sophomores Courtney Chapman (Fayetteville, N.Y.) and Amanda Borroughs (Saratoga Springs, N.Y.) came in 11th (5:03.06) and 13th (5:14.64), respectively.
Another exciting finish took place in the finals of the 500 meters, where freshman Michaela Wilkins (Ellicott City, Md.) and sophomore Faith Dismuke (Passaic, N.J.) came in second and fourth, respectively. Wilkins earned All-BIG EAST honors for her runner-up finish and registered a time of 1:13.28, while Dismuke crossed the finish line in 1:13.51.
Wilkins produced a great result and did it the hard way, running on the outside for more than half of the race. She made a push for the lead with 150 meters left and then fought hard to hold her spot in a big crowd after Deseree King of Georgetown emerged as the eventual champion down the stretch. King had a margin of victory of eight-tenths of a second but behind her the next five runners were separated by only 0.47 seconds at the finish line.
There were also strong results posted by the Wildcats in the field events, including All-BIG EAST performances by junior Samantha Francis (Kingston, Jamaica) in the triple jump and sophomore Alexandra Wasik (Medina, Ohio) in the pole vault. Francis came in third in the triple jump with a distance of 12.34 meters and records her best career finish at the indoor meet. She won her first career conference title in the triple jump during the last outdoor season.
Wasik led three Villanova athletes that finished in the top seven of the pole vault. She cleared a height of 3.95 meters to earn runner-up and all-conference honors, while clearing at least 3.80 meters for the fifth time in as many outings this season. Sophomore Kathleen McPhillips (Carlisle, Pa.) established a new career best by clearing a height of 3.85 meters and came away with a fourth place finish, while freshman Abigail Nolte (Branchburg, N.J.) tied for seventh place with a height of 3.75 meters. Junior Samantha Yeats (Califon, N.J.) scored points for the Wildcats with a seventh place finish in the high jump (1.70 meters).
Among the other results in the running events, Akande and freshman Kelsey Margey (Huntington, N.Y.) each ran in the finals of the 800 meters and placed fourth and eighth, respectively. Akande ran a steady race and wound up with a time of 2:09.88, while Margey registered a time of 2:14.95. Akande notched her third top-eight individual finish at a BIG EAST meet and her second indoors, improving on an eighth place finish in the 800 meters as a freshman two years ago. Including relays, Akande now has seven top-eight finishes at the conference level.
Villanova also received a fifth place finish from sophomore Emerald Walden (Lafayette Hill, Pa.) in the 60 meter hurdles and an eighth place showing from classmate Varonica Johnson (Passaic, N.J.) in the finals of the 200 meters. Walden ran the 60 hurdles in 8.70 and her fifth place finish is the highest at the conference level of her young career.
Senior Summer Cook (Thornton, Colo.) and Chapman raced in the 3000 meters and came in 11th and 15th, respectively. The race included a rerun in between the final two relays after originally being stopped due to the 1000 meters mark. More than 30 minutes passed until the race was rerun due to a problem with the waterfall start. Cook registered a time of 9:42.99 and Chapman finished in 10:01.92.
The meet closed with the 4x400 meter relay and the Wildcats recorded a time of 3:53.27 to place 11th with a lineup of Dismuke, Margey, Walden and Wilkins.
COMPLETE VILLANOVA RESULTS
Emily Lipari 1st of 8 2:46.19 Angel Piccirillo 2nd 2:46.33 Shannon Browne 4th 2:50.03
Nicky Akande 4th of 8 2:09.88 Kelsey Margey 8th 2:14.95
60 Meter Hurdles
Emerald Walden 5th of 9 8.70
Stephanie Schappert 5th of 14 4:43.20 Emily Lipari 7th 4:46.68 Courtney Chapman 11th 5:03.06 Amanda Borroughs 13th 5:14.64
Michaela Wilkins 2nd of 8 1:13.28 Faith Dismuke 4th 1:13.51
Varonica Johnson 8th of 8 24.16
Summer Cook 11th of 16 9:42.99 Courtney Chapman 15th 10:01.92
4x800 Meter Relay
Villanova 1st of 12 8:40.50 Stephanie Schappert Angel Piccirillo Nicky Akande Emily Lipari
4x400 Meter Relay
Villanova 11th of 11 3:53.27 Faith Dismuke Kelsey Margey Emerald Walden Michaela Wilkins
Samantha Francis 3rd of 18 12.34 meters
Alexandra Wasik 2nd of 18 3.95 meters Kathleen McPhillips 4th 3.85 meters Abigail Nolte tie-7th 3.75 meters Virginia LaMacchia 17th 3.60 meters
Samantha Yeats 7th of 11 1.70 meters