Sept. 26, 2013
HAVERFORD, Pa. - For the first time in the young cross country season Villanova had the majority of its lineup in competition, as the Wildcats raced at the Main Line Invitational on the Haverford Alumni Course on Thursday evening. Senior Emily Lipari (Greenvale, N.Y.) won the three mile race in 16:08.03 and crossed the finish line 14 seconds ahead of the runner-up. Villanova placed five runners in the top seven of the race, which did not have any team scoring.
This early in the season the focus has not yet turned to the actual results but there is still plenty to be seen in the times recorded by the Wildcats runners. Lipari's time of 16:08.03 was 26 seconds faster than the one she ran in the same meet last season, while her teammates showed similar progression from their own previous times on the local course.
Senior Nicky Akande (Lawrenceville, Ga.) came in third overall in the field of 86 runners, while redshirt freshman Angel Piccirillo (Homer City, Pa.) was right behind her in fourth place. Akande had a time of 16:45.73, while Piccirillo finished in 16:49.22. The other top finishers for Villanova were junior Stephanie Schappert (Delray Beach, Fla.) in sixth place (17:01.48) and sophomore Sydney Harris (Colorado Springs, Colo.) in seventh place (17:28.65).
Rounding out the group of Wildcats that were in competition was the trio of redshirt freshman Caitlin Bungo (Pittsburgh, Pa.), sophomore Leanne Tucker (Tewksbury, Mass.) and junior Megan Venables (Laurel Springs, N.J.). Bungo came in 13th (17:37.09), Tucker finished 17th (17:49.10) and Venables was 35th (18:23.52).
Thursday's meet featured athletes from six schools in the Philadelphia area, plus a number of additional unattached entries. Although the Wildcats are still gearing up for the bulk of their season schedule, there is already plenty of excitement for the prospects of the team this season. Villanova is ranked No. 11 in the nation in this week's United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) top 30 poll, as well as No. 3 in the Mid-Atlantic Region.
Next up for Villanova is the team's first scored meet of the season. The Wildcats will compete at the Paul Short Invitational on the Lehigh campus on Saturday, October 5.