May 5, 2013
PISCATAWAY, N.J. - Villanova continued its dominance in the 4x800 meter relay with a meet record and junior Emily Lipari (Greenvale, N.Y.) was both the anchor of the relay and the individual champion in the 1500 meters as the BIG EAST Championships wrapped up at the Rutgers Track & Field Complex on Sunday afternoon. During three days of competition the Wildcats recorded nine All-BIG EAST performances - including the two titles won on Sunday - and Villanova finished in fourth place in the final team standings.
Lipari completed a relay lineup that finished with a time of 8:34.23, eclipsing by more than one second the previous meet record of 8:35.62 set at Villanova Stadium by Georgetown two years ago. Sophomore Stephanie Schappert (Delray Beach, Fla.) led off the relay and was followed by freshman Kelsey Margey (Huntington, N.Y.) and junior Nicky Akande (Lawrenceville, Ga.) in a victory that was symbolic of the Wildcats recent run in the 4x800 relay. Villanova won by a margin of nearly 10 seconds over Notre Dame and the rest of the field of 12 teams and was comfortably in front of the pack for the entire race.
In the first half of the race Schappert and Margey each looked strong but when Akande took the baton for the third leg of the relay she immediately put significant daylight between herself and anyone behind her. It was cruise control from that point on for the Wildcats, who successfully defended their relay title from last season and won the event for the 16th time at the outdoor BIG EAST meet.
Villanova has also won the 4x800 meter relay at each of the last four indoor BIG EAST Championships and made a much bigger splash on the national scene just last week with a record-setting Penn Relays performance. In their win over Oregon at the Penn Relays the Wildcats set an all-time collegiate record in the 4x800 relay with a winning mark of 8:17.45.
In that win Lipari made an incredible kick in the final 100 meters to overtake a runner from Oregon and secure the victory. At the BIG EAST meet on Sunday she won the individual 1500 meters in the same fashion, passing Rebecca Tracy of Notre Dame with her final few strides to come away with the conference title by a margin of just 0.18 seconds. Lipari crossed the finish line in 4:24.25 to register the 20th all-time win by a Villanova runner in the 1500 meters at the outdoor conference championships.
This is the first individual outdoor title for Lipari, who was one of three Wildcats to score team points in the event. Freshman Angel Piccirillo (Homer City, Pa.) came in third with a time of 4:25.56 to earn All-BIG EAST honors, while Schappert came in fifth (4:26.17) and senior Ariann Neutts (Succasunna, N.J.) was ninth (4:29.18).
Akande and sophomore sprinter Emerald Walden (Lafayette Hill, Pa.) also produced individual All-BIG EAST performances. Akande came in third in the finals of the 800 meters with a time of 2:09.03 and Margey finished fifth in that race in 2:09.61. Including both individual events and relays Akande is now a five-time All-BIG EAST performer, a distinction which includes back-to-back top-three finishes in the 800 meters over the past two seasons.
In the 100 meter hurdles Walden raced to a time of 13.66 in the finals on Sunday to notch her first career All-BIG EAST honor. She had registered a personal best time of 13.58 in the preliminary heats on Saturday and was ranked third overall going into the finals, a standing which she maintained with today's finish.
Sophomore Faith Dismuke (Passaic, N.J.) came in fifth in the finals of the 400 meter hurdles with a time of 1:01.44.
In the field events freshman Anne Yahiro (Downers Grove, Ill.) and junior Samantha Yeats (Califon, N.J.) recorded sixth place finishes in the triple jump and the high jump, respectively. Yahiro registered a jump of more than 12 meters for the first time in her career and finished with a career-best mark of 12.18 meters. Yeats tied a personal best by clearing a height of 1.78 meters in the high jump.
VILLANOVA SUNDAY RESULTS
100 Meter Hurdles
Emerald Walden 3rd of 7 13.66
400 Meter Hurdles
Faith Dismuke 5th of 8 1:01.44
Nicky Akande 3rd of 8 2:09.03 Kelsey Margey 5th 2:09.61
Emily Lipari 1st of 12 4:24.25 Angel Piccirillo 3rd 4:25.56 Stephanie Schappert 5th 4:26.17
Courtney Chapman 13th of 13 18:31.72
4x400 Meter Relay
Villanova 9th of 12 3:45.22 Michaela Wilkins Angel Piccirillo Faith Dismuke Varonica Johnson
4x800 Meter Relay
Villanova 1st of 12 8:34.23 Stephanie Schappert Kelsey Margey Nicky Akande Emily Lipari
Samantha Yeats 6th of 13 1.78 Meters
Anne Yahiro 6th of 15 12.18 Meters