Feb. 19, 2012
NEW YORK - Sophomore middle distance runner Emily Lipari (Greenvale, N.Y.) won an individual BIG EAST title in the 1000 meters and also anchored the conference champion 4x800 meter relay at the New York Armory on Sunday afternoon, where Villanova finished third in the team standings after a terrific day of competition to wrap up the meet.
Lipari won her first individual conference title with ease and posted a winning time of 2:46.94 in Sunday afternoon's final. Her time was a new personal best and she won by nearly two seconds over the rest of the field. In the preliminary heats yesterday Lipari had the third fastest time out of 21 competitors in the preliminaries (2:53.47) before moving up today to capture the championship.
The 4x800 relay squad consisted of freshman Stephanie Schappert (Delray Beach, Fla.), sophomore Nicky Akande (Lawrenceville, Ga.) and junior Ariann Neutts (Succasunna, N.J.) ahead of Lipari and the quartet finished with a time of 8:38.55 to hold off Notre Dame by less than a second. Lipari racn a split of 2:08.7 on the anchor leg and Akande had the team's fastest split with a time of 2:07.6 on the second leg of the relay.
With these two wins the Wildcats have now won both the 1000 meters and the 4x800 meter relay at three consecutive BIG EAST indoor meets. This was the 20th time in the history of the conference meet that Villanova has won the 4x800 relay.
Each of the four members of today's 4x800 lineup fared well in their individual events to help lead the Wildcats to the high team finish. Neutts ran the 1000 meters and finished in fourth place with a time of 2:48.82, less than a quarter of a second out of second place in the field of nine runners.
Schappert and Akande each ran in the finals of the Mile and Schappert made an incredible push in the final 800 meters to move up to third place and earn All-BIG EAST honors with a time of 4:48.90. She had a strong kick down the stretch in the preliminaries on Saturday as well and came back with today's terrific performance. Akande finished ninth in the finals of the Mile (4:53.20) after previously having the fastest time out of 30 runners in yesterday's heats.
In the team standings the Wildcats finished with 89.5 points and were a mere half a point behind runner-up Cincinnati (90), while Georgetown captured the team title with 102 points. Rounding out the team scores behind Villanova were Notre Dame (79), Louisville (72), Connecticut (66.5), USF (64.5), Pitt (57), Syracuse (36), St. John's (35), West Virginia (33.5), Providence (22), Rutgers (18), DePaul (9) and Marquette (6).
Two runners scored team points for the Wildcats in the 60 meter hurdles, the 800 meters and the 3000 meters. Senior Shericka Ward (Leesburg, Fla.) was the runner-up in the 60 meter hurdles in 8.38 and garnered All-BIG EAST honors for that performance. Later in the meet she also came in fourth in the 200 meters with a time of 24.17. Freshman Emerald Walden (Lafayette Hill, Pa.) was the other Villanova scorer in the 60 mH with a time of 8.65.
In the 3000 meters senior Bogdana Mimic (Pancevo, Serbia) came in fifth and freshman Courtney Chapman (Fayetteville, N.Y.) followed close behind in seventh place. Mimic, who won the 5000 meters title yesterday, pulled out to an early lead in the 3000 meters and crossed the finish line in 9:43.23. Chapman came in with a time of 9:48.09.
Freshman Leanne Tucker (Tewksbury, Mass.) and senior Erin Ryan (Doylestown, Pa.) each looked strong in the 800 meters, with Tucker coming in fourth and Ryan seventh. Their times in the race were 2:10.77 and 2:14.37, respectively.
The final team points for the Wildcats came in the 4x400 meter relay and the high jump. Ward led off the 4x400 relay - the final event of the meet - and was followed by freshman Faith Dismuke (Passaic, N.J.), senior Christie Verdier (Baldwin, N.Y.) and freshman Varonica Johnson (Charlotte, N.C.). Villanova came in eighth place with a time of 3:43.87 in the relay.
In the high jump sophomore Samantha Yeats (Califon, N.J.) tied for eighth place by clearing a height of 1.70 meters to earn half a point.
COMPLETE VILLANOVA RESULTS
BIG EAST Championships
New York Armory
Team Standings (Day 2 of 2)
Villanova 3rd of 15 89.5 Points
Emily Lipari 1st 2:46.94 Ariann Neutts 4th 2:48.82
Leanne Tucker 4th 2:10.77 Erin Ryan 7th 2:14.37
60 Meter Hurdles
Shericka Ward 2nd 8.38 Emerald Walden 7th 8.65
Stephanie Schappert 3rd 4:48.90 Nicky Akande 9th 4:53.20
Christie Verdier 9th 57.39
Shericka Ward 4th 24.17
Bogdana Mimic 5th 9:43.23 Courtney Chapman 7th 9:48.09 Sydney Harris 14th 10:05.02
4x800 Meter Relay
Villanova 1st of 13 8:38.55 Stephanie Schappert 2:11.5 Nicky Akande 2:07.6 Ariann Neutts 2:10.6 Emily Lipari 2:08.7
4x400 Meter Relay
Villanova 8th of 14 3:43.87 Shericka Ward Faith Dismuke Christie Verdier Varonica Johnson
Samantha Yeats tie-8th of 15 1.70m
Samantha Francis 11th of 19 11.96m Victoria Profit 17th 11.25m