Nov. 21, 2011
VILLANOVA, Pa.--An incredible sprint down the final straightaway and a riveting scene at the finish line culminated with senior Sheila Reid (Newmarket, Ont.) winning the individual national title at the NCAA Women's Cross Country Championships on Monday afternoon. Reid won the title for the second straight year and led Villanova to a spot on the podium for the third straight season. She and senior Bogdana Mimic (Pancevo, Serbia) each earned All-America honors as the Wildcats placed third in the team standings. The championships race was held on the LaVern Gibson Championship Course at the Wabash Valley Family Sports Center for the 10th straight year.
The leading group of runners was remarkably tight with 500 meters left in the race and both Reid and down the stretch both Reid and Jordan Hasay of Oregon sprinted towards the finish line side by side. Reid surged into the lead for good in the final 100 meters and crossed the finish line six-tenths of a second ahead of Hasay and the rest of the field. Her winning time was 19:41.2.
"It is very satisfying to win my last collegiate cross country race," Reid said. "I still have an outdoor season but coming in here as the defending champion I really wanted to finish cross country on a strong note and win the individual title again. It may sound trite but I love to win and after college the opportunities to race in cross country are limited."
The top three teams were separated by a mere 19 points. Georgetown won its first-ever team title with 162 points, followed by Washington (170) in second place and Villanova (181) in third. Head coach Gina Procaccio has now led the Wildcats to a spot on the awards podium for three seasons running, including winning the 2009 and 2010 national titles.
"We are always happy to have a spot on the podium," Procaccio said. "That is what we are trying to do, is be a team that can get on the podium year after year. Each one of our runners worked very hard today and they did a great job."
Reid and Mimic are each three-time All-Americans in cross country with their finishes today. Mimic placed sixth overall as the runners remained bunched up at the finish line. She wound up with a time of 19:45.7 and was just over four seconds behind Reid at the finish.
Sophomores Emily Lipari (Greenvale, N.Y.) and Nicky Akande (Lawrenceville, Ga.) came in third and fourth, respectively, for the Wildcats. Lipari placed 55th (20:40.9) and Akande finished 60th (20:43.0) overall, though their finishing spots for team scoring purposes were 37th and 40th. Lipari made a jump of 14 spots from where she finished as a freshman last season, while Akande concluded a terrific sophomore year which saw her emerge as a strong contributor to the Villanova lineup.
The final scoring runner for the Wildcats was junior Summer Cook (Thornton, Colo.), who was 129th overall (21:15.4) and was 99th in the team scoring. She had previously been sixth on the team at the BIG EAST Championships last month and finished among the Wildcats top five for the first time with a strong race today.