Feb. 18, 2012
NEW YORK - A thrilling finish at the end of the 5000 meters race resulted in an individual championship for senior Bogdana Mimic (Pancevo, Serbia) and Villanova stands in third place as a team at the midpoint of the BIG EAST Indoor Track & Field Championships, which began at the New York Armory on Saturday afternoon. Mimic led the way and the Wildcats scored points in four events which concluded on Saturday.
Villanova also was the runner-up in the distance medley relay at the close of competition on Saturday, saw freshman Alexandra Wasik (Medina, Ohio) place second in the pole vault and had freshman Katherine Petruzzellis (Annandale, N.J.) register a team point thanks to an eighth place finish in the pentathlon.
The most exciting finish of the day came from Mimic in the 5000 meters, as she crossed the finish line in 16:25.53 and beat Laura Nagel of Providence by just 28 hundredths of a second. The race was every bit as close as the narrow gap in times indicates and Mimic did not take the lead for good until the home stretch. This is the fourth BIG EAST indoor title that Mimic has won in her career and the first in an individual event. She is also a three-time champion on relays at the indoor conference meet.
Both the present and future of the Wildcats were on display in the team's runner-up finish in the distance medley relay. All four runners for Villanova were first or second-year athletes and freshmen Courtney Chapman (Fayetteville, N.Y.) and Faith Dismuke (Passaic, N.J.) ran the first two legs of the race. Chapman had a split of 3:30.4 in the 1200 meters and Dismuke recorded a time of 57.2 in the 400 meter second leg.
The latter half of the relay was run by sophomores Emily Lipari (Greenvale, N.Y.) and Nicky Akande (Lawrenceville, Ga.), who helped the Wildcats hold off a charge by Connecticut to remain in second place. Lipari had a split of 2:05.8 on the 800 meter leg and Akande anchored the relay with a 1600 meters split of 4:39.9. All four runners on the relay will earn All-BIG EAST honors for the team's second place finish.
Villanova has built a great deal of momentum in the field events over the past two seasons and the runner-up finish by Wasik in the pole vault continued the run of success for the program in that event. Wasik cleared a height of 3.95 meters on her first try to set a personal best mark for the third time this season. In the progression of the competition she cleared heights of 3.60 meters, 3.75m, 3.85m and finally 3.95m, needing a total of just five jumps to clear those four heights. She will earn All-BIG EAST honors for her second place finish.
Petruzzellis competed in the pentathlon for the second time this season and was strong all-around to earn a team point for finishing in the top eight. She finished with 3,380 points and during the competition came in as high as a tie for seventh place in the high jump (1.61m). She also was eighth in both the 60 meter hurdles (9.36) and the 800 meters (2:28.0) while coming in 10th in the shot put (9.68m) and 12th in the long jump (5.04m).
There were plenty of notable results from eight other events which had preliminary round competition on Saturday, including six in which the Wildcats advanced one or more athletes to the finals. Senior Shericka Ward (Leesburg, Fla.) had the fastest overall time in the 60 meter hurdles (8.32) and also the second fastest run of the day in the 200 meters (23.98). She was joined in qualifying for the finals in the 60 mH by freshman Emerald Walden (Lafayette Hill, Pa.), who finished fifth out of 14 runners in the preliminaries with a time of 8.57.
Akande and Lipari each advanced to the finals of their respective individual events in addition to running the distance medley relay. Akande had the fastest time out of 30 runners in the Mile with a time of 4:47.54 in the preliminaries. Freshman Stephanie Schappert (Delray Beach, Fla.) also qualified for the finals of the Mile after coming in third in her heat with a time of 4:54.50. Schappert finished strong and ran the final 800 meters in 2:16 to secure her spot in the finals on Sunday afternoon.
Lipari ran in the preliminary heats of the 1000 meters and finished with a time of 2:53.47, good for third overall out of 21 competitors. Junior Ariann Neutts (Succasunna, N.J.) joined Lipari in qualifying for the finals of the 1000 meters, placing seventh with a time of 2:51.39. Lipari came in second in her heat to advance automatically to the finals while Neutts advanced on time after coming in third in her preliminary heat.
Senior Christie Verdier (Baldwin, N.Y.) had a season-best time of 55.02 in the 400 meters and was second overall out of 26 entries in the preliminary heats of the 400 meters. Freshman Leanne Tucker (Tewksbury, Mass.) and senior Erin Ryan (Doylestown, Pa.) each moved on to the finals of the 800 meters after coming in fifth (2:14.06) and seventh (2:14.20), respectively, in the prelims.
Villanova finished competition on Saturday with 29 team points. Cincinnati (43 points) leads the field of 15 teams at the midpoint of the meet and Notre Dame (30) is also ahead of the Wildcats, who are trailed by Louisville (24) and USF (22) to round out the top five.
In addition to the events that had preliminary heats on Saturday there is also the high jump, triple jump, 3000 meters and the 4x400 and 4x800 meter relays on tap for the final day of action tomorrow.
COMPLETE VILLANOVA RESULTS
BIG EAST Championships
New York Armory
Team Standings (Day 1 of 2)
Villanova 3rd of 15 29 Points
Bogdana Mimic 1st of 17 16:25.53 Megan Venables 16th 17:32.29
Distance Medley Relay
Villanova 2nd of 13 11:13.41 Courtney Chapman 1200 Meters 3:30.4 Faith Dismuke 400 Meters 57.2 Emily Lipari 800 Meters 2:05.8 Nicky Akande 1600 Meters 4:39.9
Alexandra Wasik 2nd of 17 3.95m Kathleen McPhillips tie-7th 3.60m Melissa Meggiolaro tie-7th 3.60m
Kathleen Petruzzellis 8th of 15 3380 Points Pentathlon 60 Meter Hurdles 8th of 15 9.36 Pentathlon High Jump tie-7th of 15 1.61m Pentathlon Shot Put 10th of 15 9.68m Pentathlon Long Jump 12th of 15 5.04m Pentathlon 800 Meters 8th of 15 2:28.0
60 Meter Hurdles
Shericka Ward 1st of 14 8.32 Emerald Walden 5th 8.57
60 Meter Dash
Varonica Johnson 16th of 26 7.65
Shericka Ward 2nd of 23 23.98 Varonica Johnson 11th 24.59
Christie Verdier 2nd of 26 55.02 Qualitra Brown 24th 58.18
Faith Dismuke 15th of 19 1:16.45
Leanne Tucker 5th of 11 2:14.06 Erin Ryan 7th 2:14.20 Amanda Borroughs 10th 2:14.82 Shannon Browne 11th 2:17.09
Emily Lipari 3rd of 21 2:53.47 Ariann Neutts 7th 2:51.39 Mary Bohi 16th 3:00.13
Nicky Akande 1st of 30 4:47.54 Stephanie Schappert 11th 4:54.50 Sydney Harris 15th 4:58.61