COMPLETE COVERAGE OF THIS WEEKEND'S BIG EAST CHAMPIONSHIPS
VILLANOVA, Pa.--The men’s and women’s track & field teams are headed for the BIG EAST Championships this week, as the conference meet will be held on Friday and Saturday at Ocean Breeze Athletic Complex in Staten Island, N.Y. It is the third straight year that the indoor conference championships will be held at the venue, and all of the action will once again be carried live on the BIG EAST Digital Network. See the top of this release for access to the live stream of the meet, along with other relevant meet information.
Action gets underway on Friday morning with the start of the women’s pentathlon at 9:30 a.m., and then kicks into full gear with field events at 10:30 a.m. and the first race on the track at 11:30 a.m. Saturday’s schedule the first events on the track at 10:20 a.m., and field events once again starting at 10:30 a.m. There is an awards ceremony at 2:40 p.m. on Saturday afternoon following the conclusion of the meet.
Villanova has a number of good storylines to follow on the women’s side of the meet, and among them will be the results of the 800 meters. Senior Siofra Cleirigh Buttner (Dublin, Ireland), freshman Rachel McArthur (Bristow, Va.) and sixth-year senior Kelsey Margey (Huntington, N.Y.) have the top three times in the conference entering the meet, and both Cleirigh Buttner and McArthur currently have times that rank in the top 16 nationally which would put them in line to qualify for the NCAA Championships next month. Cleirigh Buttner is the indoor school record holder in the 800 meters with a mark of 2:02.97 which she set last season, and her season best this year is 2:04.16.
McArthur is one of two true freshmen in the nation who currently rank in the top 16 of the descending order performance list in the 800 meters. She, along with fellow freshmen Lauren Ryan (South Yarra, Australia) and Alex Harris (Stony Point, N.Y.), are among the Wildcats newcomers who could make an impact at their first conference meet. Ryan and Harris are both scheduled to run the Mile this weekend, in which their top times on the year are 4:43.22 and 4:49.05 respectively. Ryan is also slated to compete in the 3000 meters and has a season-best time of 9:37.19 in the event. Junior Kaley Ciluffo (LeClaire, Iowa) is Villanova’s top performer who is scheduled to run the Mile, with a personal best mark of 4:41.32 which she recorded in her home state at the Iowa State Classic earlier this month.
There is also plenty to look out for outside of the distance events. Sophomore sprinter Trudy-Ann Williamson (Kingston, Jamaica) has the leading BIG EAST time this season in the 60 meters with a mark of 7.45. That is the second-fastest time in the 60 meters in school history, trailing only her own school record of 7.41 which she set in her second collegiate meet last year. Williamson missed last season’s indoor BIG EAST Championships due to an injury and went on to redshirt the outdoor collegiate season.
Williamson is joined in the sprints by the duo of sophomore Danielle Burns (Phoenix, Ariz.) and freshman Sarah Jones (Sewell, N.J.), who will each compete in the 60 meter hurdles and the 200 meters. Burns season and personal best time of 8.67 in the hurdles puts her 10th on Villanova’s all-time performance list. She scored as a freshman last season in both the hurdles and the 200 meters at the indoor conference championships. Burns and Jones are ranked third and fourth in the BIG EAST in the 60 meter hurdles to this point in the season. Jones has run season best times of 8.79 in the hurdles and 26.07 in the 200 meters.
Villanova is typically strong in the pole vault and the horizontal jumps, and that has once again been the case this season. Junior Adeline Scelzi (Glen Allen, Va.) and freshman Cala Lejman (Ambler, Pa.) have both cleared 3.65 meters in the pole vault this season, and Scelzi is the defending indoor conference champion. Freshman Amanda McNelis (Commack, N.Y.) and redshirt freshman Dominique Franco (Richboro, Pa.) have season best arks of 3.60 meters. Junior Alex Patrick (Media, Pa.) leads the way for the Wildcats in the long jump, where her personal best mark of 5.53 meters from earlier this season ranks seventh in the conference. The trio of senior Courtney Caldwell (Trenton, N.J.), sophomore Katie Ciccarone (Freehold, N.J.) and sophomore Gloria Donou (East Brunswick, N.J.) is ranked 6-7-8 in the BIG EAST in the triple jump.
Since the debut of the women’s BIG EAST Championships in 1983, the Wildcats have won the indoor conference title 14 times and have also won 160 individual event and relay titles.