Nov. 20, 2013
NEW ORLEANS--Senior Emily Lipari (Greenvale, N.Y.) was named the Mid-Atlantic Region Athlete of the Year by the United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) and head coach Gina Procaccio was selected as the Mid-Atlantic Region Coach of the Year in an announcement on Tuesday morning. Villanova won the NCAA Mid-Atlantic Regional last week and is headed to the NCAA Championships this coming weekend.
Lipari won the individual title at the regional meet last week with a winning time of 19:53 on the 6,000 meter Lehigh Cross Country Course. She and classmate Nicky Akande (Lawrenceville, Ga.), who won the regional title last season, crossed the finish line in a dead heat and helped lead the Wildcats to the team title and an automatic NCAA bid in thrilling fashion.
This is the sixth consecutive year that a Villanova runner has won the individual title at the NCAA regional meet and the fourth time in the last five years that the Wildcats have claimed at least a share of the regional title. Lipari has been the top finisher for Villanova in every race she has run this season and she received All-Mid Atlantic Region honors for the fourth straight year.
Lipari came in second at the BIG EAST Championships last month and was also the top runner for the Wildcats at the Main Line Invitational, the Paul Short Run and the Pre-NCAA Meet this season. She received back-to-back BIG EAST Athlete of the Week honors following her performances at the Main Line and Paul short meets.
Villanova stepped up in a big way with an incredible performance at the regional meet last week and placed its five scoring runners in the top 16 overall to narrowly defeat conference rival Georgetown by just four points (31-35). This is the sixth straight season that the Wildcats have earned a team bid to the NCAA Championships.
Each of the five scoring runners for Villanova were named to All-Mid Atlantic Region team. Akande received the honor for the third straight season. She and Lipari were joined on the team by redshirt freshman Angel Piccirillo (Homer City, Pa.), junior Stephanie Schappert (Delray Beach, Fla.) and sophomore Sydney Harris (Colorado Springs, Colo.).
The NCAA Championships will be held this Saturday at the LaVern Gibson Championship Course in Terre Haute, Ind. The women's race begins at 1:15 p.m. and will be streamed live on NCAA.com.