May 24, 2012
JACKSONVILLE, Fla.--Sophomore middle distance runner Emily Lipari (Greenvale, N.Y.) had the fastest time in the field in the first round of the 1500 meters and senior sprinter Christie Verdier (Baldwin, N.Y.) ran a personal best time in the first round of the 400 meters to highlight the action for Villanova on the first day of competition in the NCAA East Regional at Hodges Stadium. Lipari and Verdier automatically advanced to the quarterfinals of their events and sophomore Nicky Akande (Lawrenceville, Ga.) advanced on time in the 800 meters.
Lipari used an incredible kick in the final lap of the 1500 meters to win the third heat of the event with a time of 4:21.37, the second-fastest time she has run in collegiate competition. Lipari was in fifth place after the first 300 meters and mostly held her position within striking distance of the lead before surging from fourth place into the lead in the final 200 meters of the race.
The third heat out of four in the 1500 meters was the fastest and the top three finishers from the heat had the three fastest times in the field of 48 runners that made up the first round in the competition. The top three runners in each heat automatically qualified for the quarterfinals on Saturday night and Lipari easily secured her spot in the quarterfinal race. Junior Ariann Neutts (Succasunna, N.J.) also ran in the third heat on Thursday evening and finished 12th in the heat with a time of 4:30.31.
In the 400 meters Verdier finished third in the last of six heats in the first round to earn her spot in Friday night's quarterfinals. Her time of 53.28 was the second-fastest of her career and her best mark in an open race, topped only by her split of 52.90 in the distance medley relay at the Penn Relays. Verdier had the 11th fastest time in the field for the 400 meters.
Akande ran a terrific race in the 800 meters and finished with a time of 2:07.55, advancing on time to the quarterfinals with the 19th fastest time overall. She started strong and moved into the lead after the first lap around the track and overall was in the top three for nearly all of the first 700 meters before the leading pack became extremely tight approaching the finish line.
In the national semifinals of the 10000 meters freshman Megan Venables (Laurel Springs, N.J.) finished 30th with a time of 36:15.73. She wrapped up a season that saw her finish sixth at the BIG EAST Championships and third at the ECAC Championship.
Freshman thrower Jamie Klein (Hawthorne, N.J.) also was in action on Thursday afternoon in the javelin and came in 35th with a mark of 40.41 meters. Her performance wrapped up a very successful freshman campaign for Klein, who scored team points at the BIG EAST Championships and was the individual winner of the College section of the javelin at the Penn Relays.
The second day of action at the East Regional gets underway for Villanova at 11 a.m. on Friday when freshman Alexandra Wasik (Medina, Ohio) competes in the first round of the pole vault. Running events begin at 5:30 p.m.
COMPLETE VILLANOVA RESULTS FROM THURSDAY
Jamie Klein 35th of 47 40.41 Meters
Emily Lipari 1st of 48 4:21.37 Heat 3 (1st) Ariann Neutts 34th 4:30.31 Heat 3 (12th)
Christie Verdier 11th of 48 53.28 Heat 6 (3rd)
Nicky Akande 19th of 47 2:07.55 Heat 4 (5th)
VILLANOVA SCHEDULE FOR FRIDAY
Pole Vault Alexandra Wasik First Round
High Jump Samantha Yeats First Round
100 Meter Hurdles Shericka Ward First Round
400 Meters Christie Verdier Quarterfinals
800 Meters Nicky Akande Quarterfinals