April 28, 2014
NEW ORLEANS--Senior distance runner Emily Lipari (Greenvale, N.Y.) has been named the Division I National Athlete of the Week by the United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA), as announced by the organization on Monday afternoon. This is the second time in her career that Lipari has received the award.
Villanova had a performance for the ages at the Penn Relays last weekend and swept the Championship of America distance relays. Lipari anchored all three of the Wildcats victories in the distance medley relay, the 4x1500 meter relay and the 4x800 meter relay. She was named the Women's Athlete of the Meet for the relay events for the second straight year.
Lipari is now the only Villanova woman in history to anchor five Championship of America winners at the Penn Relays. She also anchored the Wildcats victories in the distance medley relay and the 4x800 relay last season and has been a part of three consecutive DMR victories. With her performance this past weekend Lipari joined Kathy Franey (1990) and Krestena Sullivan (1997) as the only Villanova women to anchor three winning relays in one year.
In the distance medley relay last Thursday afternoon Lipari made a furious charge in the final 200 meters to overtake Aisling Cuffe of Stanford on the last straightaway and finish first by just over one quarter of a second. The same script was repeated the next day as Lipari also surged past Cuffe in the final steps to win the 4x1500 relay. Saturday afternoon's 4x800 relay saw Lipari get the baton for the anchor leg in first place and she maintained the lead the rest of the way for the Wildcats third consecutive victory.
Villanova added to its legacy at the Penn Relays with last weekend's three wins and the program now has 35 Championship of America titles all-time. Lipari and fellow senior Nicky Akande (Lawrenceville, Ga.) have each racked up six titles over the past three years and that total is tied for the third most in team history.
Akande also ran on all three winning relays last weekend. Junior Stephanie Schappert (Delray Beach, Fla.) and sophomore Angel Piccirillo (Homer City, Pa.) each ran two of the three relays, while sophomores Kelsey Margey (Huntington, N.Y.) and Michaela Wilkins (Ellicott City, Md.) ran one relay apiece.
With the Penn Relays in the rear view mirror the Wildcats will now prepare to host the BIG EAST Championships, which take place at Villanova Stadium on May 10-11.
NOTES: Lipari also was named the Division I National Athlete of the Week during the 2013-14 indoor season ... She received the honor on February 24 after leading Villanova to the team title at the indoor BIG EAST Championships.