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April 27, 2013

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Villanova head coach Gina Procaccio...

Opening statement: I can't believe it. I can't even believe it. I can't stop smiling. This is the first 4x800 relay I have even entered in the Penn Relays as a head coach. I love the 4x800. We have been dominating it at our conference meet for the last few years. It is one of my favorite relays. I love running it. I just love it and we haven't had one in about 15 years.

On having a team to run in the 4x800: I was so excited this year that we were even going to put together a 4x800 relay. I knew their splits on paper. I told them `We can do it. It's the last day. Anything can happen.' Emily [Lipari] split a 55 on a 4x400 relay two weeks ago. I told her `Listen, you can go out in 59 and be totally fine. You can do it. You can run with anybody.'

On what it took to win: It was all four of them. It was such a team effort. We had two freshmen on the first two legs. The Penn Relays is a big deal for Villanova. Luckily, these two freshmen ran here a lot in high school so they know what Penn Relays is about. They know that you have to step up and do it.

On Kelsey Margey: I told her you just kind of have to bring in the lead. I told her how to run it, stay calm and explode the last 100. She's got this amazing finish and I knew she could run with anybody and she just listened perfectly.

On Angel Piccirillo: I knew Angel wasn't going to let anybody by her, even though this is her third straight day of running and she's a little sick and she's a freshman. It doesn't matter. You can do amazing things.

On Nicky Akande: Nicky is so super solid. That's just her thing. That relay, that 800 leg, she was our big-game changer on Thursday so I knew she was going to be solid and give it to Emily in the race and just see if she can get it done.

On setting a collegiate record: I just can't believe it. It was so amazing. It was so exciting. A collegiate record, never in a million years would I have expected that, but it's just icing on the cake. It was so much fun."

On Angel Piccirillo, Nicky Akande and Emily Lipari running three straight days: To me running three straight days is just something we have always done. That's just Villanova. All the girls of the past, that's just what you do if you're one of the top girls on the Villanova team. When it comes to Penn Relays you're going to be on all three relays. It's not something we talked about being a big deal. They're super fit. I knew they would recover quickly. You get to the last day and you do have to run a lot on emotion. You might have to run on heart because you might have some tired legs out there, but if you can just put that out of your head you can do it. They know stories of great Villanova relay legs who have come out here and run some time that they've never come close to running before. You just do it for your teammates and the program and the tradition.

On the four runners as a group: They come here to Villanova to be a part of this. I'm just so proud of all four of them. They stepped up and got it done.

On enjoying the win: I think we'll enjoy this one a little more than the DMR [on Friday]. The DMR, as soon as we finished, I told them `We have a race tomorrow so forget about it.' This one, I'll let them enjoy until Monday.

Junior Emily Lipari (anchor leg)...

On her motivation after a third place finish in the 4x1500 relay on Friday: You have two choices as a runner. You can sit there and feel sorry for yourself and just let it affect the next day, which I have done in the past, or you can use it as fuel for the next day and get our team all fired up and get ourselves to believe that we can do it.

On Angel Piccirillo: Angel was bummed out from her race yesterday. She put a lot of that on herself, but this is a four person team. We told her that she had to come back today with a vengeance and she sure did. She didn't let anyone pass us. It was just so incredible the way these two freshmen stepped up for us. They have been asked to do so much for us this year and I'm so proud of them.

On her finish: All I could see in front of me was that green and yellow uniform and as I've said so many times before, I've watched all these girls before me with so much pain on their face. And the minute they handed off to me and each of them stationed at a different point in the race for me and they were just giving me so much encouragement. Kelsey [Margey] is quiet and I heard her screaming like I have never heard anyone scream before. I got up and down. This is totally a group effort. We're all tired but all of weren't sitting there like `Oh this is our third race.' Like Gina said we don't run just one interval and then go home.

On winning: We are all extremely happy and we're going to enjoy this one for a little bit. It's just so great to wear that Villanova across your chest and to do something that is so much bigger than yourself. I wouldn't trade any of these memories or experiences for anything.

On the competition: I know Oregon is a great team and whoever they are going to put on that leg is going to be a top runner so I can't stand there wasting time thinking `This girl does this or she could potentially be better than me.' It's all about guts. It's all about heart. Whoever they put on that leg didn't matter to me because these three girls totally set the tone for the race itself.

Junior Nicky Akande (third leg)...

On the enjoyment of this race versus the DMR: I think it was just from not winning yesterday. We just wanted to come back with a vengeance. It was such a team effort. You have two freshmen who gave everything they had for us and we just couldn't help but do the same. I saw them hurting and I was hurting too, but I knew that if we all ran our best we could do it.

On what it took to win: It was such a team effort. It always is. To come back after not coming out on top and to start a new day like that hever happened and then to bring it home was just great.