Nov. 21, 2013
FULL COVERAGE OF SATURDAY'S NCAA CHAMPIONSHIPS
VILLANOVA, Pa.--Coming off a sensational performance at the regional meet Villanova is set to run on Saturday afternoon in the NCAA Championships, held at the LaVern Gibson Championship Course near the Indiana State campus. This is the sixth consecutive appearance at the national meet for the Wildcats, who claimed the team and individual title at the NCAA Mid-Atlantic Regional last week.
The race for the team title at the NCAA regional was an incredible one. Villanova finished with a team score of 31 and beat our runner-up Georgetown by just four points. It was the second time in the last three years that the longtime conference rivals had a memorable matchup at the regional meet. Back in 2011 the Wildcats and the Hoyas finished tied atop the team standings at the Mid-Atlantic Regional.
Seniors Emily Lipari (Greenvale, N.Y.) and Nicky Akande (Lawrenceville, Ga.) were the top two individual finishers at last week's regional meet and all five Villanova scorers placed in the top 16 overall. Lipari and Akande finished with identical times of 19:53 on the 6,000 meter course and crossed the finish line in a dead heat. Redshirt freshman Angel Piccirillo (Homer City, Pa.) came in fourth, while junior Stephanie Schappert (Delray Beach, Fla.) and sophomore Sydney Harris (Colorado Springs, Colo.) were eighth and 16th, respectively.
Lipari was named the Mid-Atlantic Region Athlete of the Year earlier this week and head coach Gina Procaccio earned Mid-Atlantic Region Coach of the Year honors from the United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA). Procaccio has led the Wildcats to at least a share of the team title at the Mid-Atlantic Regional in four of the past five years. Lipari, who is now a four-time all-region performer in cross country, also earned All-BIG EAST honors for the third time in her career earlier in the season.
All five scoring runners for Villanova at the regional meet received All-Mid Atlantic Region acclaim. Since becoming the Wildcats head coach Procaccio has guided her cross country student-athletes to all-region accolades 57 times.
Villanova enters the national championships ranked No. 9 in this week's USTFCCCA national poll, which marks the Wildcats highest ranking of the season. Villanova is one of four BIG EAST teams in the national top 30, joining Providence (No. 1), Georgetown (No. 6) and Butler (No. 13).
The 8,000 meter women's national championship race goes off on Saturday at 1:15 p.m. and can be seen live on NCAA.com. For a link to the live broadcast, and for additional notes about the women's cross country team, click on the links at the top of this release.