GENEVA, Ohio - A strong all-around team effort gave Villanova all the momentum it needed to win the team title at the 2018 BIG EAST Outdoor Track & Field Championships presented by Jeep which wrapped up at the SPIRE Institute on Saturday evening. This is the third time in the last five years and the record 11th time overall that the Wildcats had been BIG EAST outdoor champions. Villanova won six events during the two-day meet, including three individual events and the 4x800 meter relay during Saturday’s action.
Junior middle distance runner Nicole Hutchinson (West Vancouver, B.C.) was named the women’s Outstanding Track Performer of the meet after sweeping the conference titles in the 1500 meters and the 5000 meters. Hutchinson was on the track for the first individual final on Saturday afternoon and won the 1500 meters with a time of 4:19.87. She later won the 5000 meters in 16:18.07 and wound up posting a margin of victory of greater than seven seconds in both races.
Wildcats head coach Gina Procaccio was voted by her peers as the BIG EAST Coach of the Year, an honor she has now earned 12 times during her head coaching career. Saturday’s outdoor conference title wraps up a BIG EAST “Triple Crown” for Villanova this season, as the women’s team has been conference champions in cross country, indoor track & field and outdoor track & field. This is the first time since 1987 that the Wildcats have achieved the Triple Crown feat.
Senior middle distance runner Siofra Cleirigh Buttner (Dublin, Ireland) won the 800 meters for the second straight year with a winning time of 2:05.52. She led a 1-2-3 sweep of the awards podium for Villanova, with sixth-year senior Kelsey Margey (Huntington, N.Y.) and freshman Rachel McArthur (Bristow, Va.) coming in second (2:07.42) and third (2:10.13), respectively. Sophomore Amari Onque-Shabazz (Plainfield, N.J.) was eighth in 2:18.99 to five the Wildcats four scorers in the 800 meters.
The same was true in the 1500 meters, where Hutchinson was followed by fellow juniors Kaley Ciluffo (LeClaire, Iowa) and Ann Campbell (Mission Hills, Kan.) in filling out the awards podium. Ciluffo was second in 4:27.08 and Campbell third in 4:27.89 in the final, while freshman Lauren Ryan (South Yarra, Australia) finished fifth in 4:29.86.
Villanova had a winning lineup in the 4x800 meter relay of junior Sammy Bockoven (Hudson, Ohio), freshman Alex Harris (Stony Point, N.Y.), Ciluffo and Margey. The quartet won the relay in 8:50.10 and the Wildcats outpaced Georgetown by nearly four seconds.