Dec. 3, 2011
HAVERFORD, Pa. - Senior Shericka Ward (Leesburg, Fla.) broke two meet records - including one of her own previous marks - and freshman Faith Dismuke (Passaic, N.J.) also set a record as Villanova opened the 2011-12 indoor season by hosting the ninth annual Jack Pyrah Invitational at Haverford College on Friday evening. In all the Wildcats registered seven first-place finishes in the season's first meet.
Ward picked up wins in both the 55 meters and the 300 meters while Dismuke won the 500 meters to complete a successful evening in the sprint events for a young Villanova team. Ward crossed the finish line in the 55 meters in 7.07, eclipsing her own previous meet record of 7.12 set last season. In the 300 meters she finished in 39.61 to beat the record of 39.63 that current classmate Christie Verdier set two years ago.
In the 500 meters Dismuke recorded a margin of victory of nearly two seconds with a time of 1:15.52, which was just over three-tenths of a second faster than the meet record which had stood for five years. Former Wildcat Makalia Griffith set the old mark of 1:15.85 back in 2006.
Dismuke was not the only Villanova sprinter to have a successful collegiate debut on Friday evening. Freshmen Varonica Johnson (Charlotte, N.C.) and Qualitra Brown (Suffolk, Va.) each had strong results in the 55 meters and the 300 meters. Johnson was the runner-up to Ward in the 55 meters and placed fifth in the 300 meters, while Johnson was third and second in those two events, respectively. In addition, freshman Emerald Walden (Lafayette Hill, Pa.) won the 55 meter hurdles in 8.19.
In the middle distance events the Wildcats tallied victories in both the 800 meters and the 1000 meters. Freshman Leanne Tucker (Tewksbury, Mass.) won the 800 meters with a time of 2:20.32 and finished six-tenths of a second ahead of senior Erin Ryan (Doylestown, Pa.) in second place. Those results marked strong collegiate debuts for both runners, as Ryan is shifting to the track this year after enjoying a successful four-year career for the Villanova women's soccer team.
Freshman Amanda Borroughs (Saratoga Springs, N.Y.) won the 1000 meters with a time of 3:00.32. She emerged as the winner in an exciting finish which saw Borroughs beat out the runner-up from Temple by less than two-tenths of a second.
Two runners competed in the 3000 meters for the Wildcats and freshman Megan Venables (Laurel Springs, N.J.) came in second with a time of 10:20.33, while junior Meghan Smith (Newark, Del.) placed third (10:28.96).
The other win for Villanova came from freshman Kathleen McPhillips (Carlisle, Pa.) in the pole vault. She cleared a height of 3.65 meters on her first try and finished first out of 17 competitors, with three other Wildcats among the entries. McPhillips also finished third in the long jump with a distance of 5.39 meters. The rest of the pole vault competitors from Villanova included junior Kim Logoyda (Randolph, N.J.) and freshman Erica Litvak (Weston, Conn.) tying for third place (3.45m), while senior Melissa Meggiolaro (Whippany, N.J.) placed sixth (3.35m).
There is a great deal of young talent on the Wildcats roster this season and of the 22 athletes that competed for Villanova on Friday night 14 are in their first or second year of collegiate eligibility. Tonight's meet was a good opportunity for the entire team to see where it stands entering an upcoming break for final exams and the holiday season.
Villanova is next in action at the NYC Gotham Cup on January 13 at the New York Armory.
NOTES: The ninth annual Jack Pyrah Invitational was held in memory of longtime Wildcats coach Jack Pyrah ... A bench in his honor was dedicated on the track in Villanova Stadium just over a year ago to celebrate the Jack Pyrah Memorial Fund reaching $100,000 in donations.
COMPLETE VILLANOVA RESULTS
Megan Venables 2nd of 19 10:20.33 Meghan Smith 3rd 10:28.96
55 Meter Hurdles
Emerald Walden 1st of 15 8.19 Katherine Petruzzellis 7th 9.09
Shericka Ward 1st of 27 7.07 (Meet Record) Varonica Johnson 2nd 7.17 Qualitra Brown 3rd 7.24 Samantha Francis 13th 7.51
Faith Dismuke 1st of 29 1:15.52 (Meet Record) Anna Francis 5th 1:18.74 Katherine Petruzzellis 17th 1:23.28
Shericka Ward 1st of 40 39.61 (Meet Record) Qualitra Brown 2nd 40.41 Varonica Johnson 5th 41.89 Emerald Walden 14th 43.39
Leanne Tucker 1st of 11 2:20.32 Erin Ryan 2nd 2:20.92
Amanda Borroughs 1st of 10 3:00.32
4x400 Meter Relay
Villanova `A' 3rd of 13 4:02.14 Villanova `B' 4th 4:05.76
Jamie Klein 7th of 7 9.82m
Kathleen McPhillips 3rd of 15 5.39m Alexandria Reo 6th 5.12m Katherine Petruzzellis tie-8th 5.05m
Kathleen McPhillips 1st of 17 3.65m Kim Logoyda tie-3rd 3.45m Erica Litvak tie-3rd 3.45m Melissa Meggiolaro 6th 3.35m
Alexi Stershic 7th of 11 9.57m
Samantha Francis 2nd of 8 11.35m Victoria Profit 3rd 11.32m Marie Minasi 4th 11.14m