COMPLETE COVERAGE OF THIS WEEK'S INDOOR NCAA CHAMPIONSHIPS
Championship Central | Accepted Entries | Live Results | Live Video (link will go live on Friday)
VILLANOVA, Pa.--Women’s track & field senior Siofra Cleirigh Buttner (Dublin, Ireland) and the men’s track & field distance medley relay squad are set to compete in the indoor NCAA Championships at Gilliam Indoor Stadium in College Station, Texas this week. The national championships take place on Friday and Saturday on the Texas A&M campus. See the links at the top of this release for relevant information related to the championships.
The men’s distance medley relay will compete for a national title on Friday night, with the race scheduled for 9:45 p.m. Eastern time (8:45 p.m. Central time in Texas). Villanova earned its spot at the national meet based on its time at the UCS Invitational in Winston-Salem, N.C. on February 16. At that meet, the lineup of fifth-year senior Ben Malone (River Vale, N.J.), freshman Brian Faust (Stone Mountain, Ga.), junior Harry Purcell (Dublin, Ireland) and sophomore Logan Wetzel (Saline, Mich.) recorded a time of 9:37.30, which was converted down to 9:29.57 since the race was run on a flat track.
With the converted time, the Wildcats ranked 11th on the descending order qualifying list that was used to select the participants for the NCAA meet. The top 12 declared relays are chosen for the meet and Villanova earned an NCAA berth for its DMR squad for the sixth straight year and the seventh time in the last eight seasons.
Since the indoor national championships began in 1965, the Wildcats have scored team points in the distance medley relay a total of 23 times. That includes 10 scoring finishes since 1995 and top-eight finishes in each of the last three seasons. Villanova has won national titles in the distance medley relay on six occasions, with those years being 1968, 1969, 1980, 1981, 2002 and 2003. Wildcats head coach Marcus O’Sullivan was a member of the 1981 national championship squad and coached the 2002 and 2003 champions.
Cleirigh Buttner is a qualifier for the women’s 800 meters at this week’s national meet. It is the fourth straight year that she will run at the indoor NCAA Championships, and the third consecutive year that she earned an individual qualifying spot. Cleirigh Buttner previously qualified in the 800 meters as a sophomore in 2016 and she competed in the Mile at last year’s national meet.
The top time for Cleirigh Buttner in the 800 meters this season is 2:03.89, which she ran at the BIG EAST Championships to set a new meet record in the event. Cleirigh Buttner defended her conference title in the event and lowered her season time from 2:04.16, which she had recorded at the Columbia Challenge back in January. She enters the NCAA meet ranked 10th among the accepted entries in the 800 meters.
Cleirigh Buttner is the indoor school record holder in the 800 meters with a time of 2:02.97 which she recorded at the Columbia Challenge in January of 2017. Her collegiate best time of 2:02.11 came outdoors last year at the NCAA East Preliminary, and she has run as fast as 2:01.98 in England during the 2016 summer season. Cleirigh Buttner previously finished ninth in the 800 meters at the indoor national championships in 2016, and earned first team All-America honors with an eighth place finish in the Mile last year.
Villanova has earned 17 indoor All-America selections in the 800 meters, including two honors in the past four years. The national semifinal heats of the 800 meters are on Friday night at 8:25 p.m. Eastern (7:25 p.m. Central), with the eight qualifiers for the final moving on to compete for a national title on Saturday evening at 6:40 p.m. Eastern time (5:40 p.m. Central).