Women’s cross country takes Big East

Lindsey Beakes

Despite the cold and windy conditions, the women’s cross country team managed to claim its second consecutive Big East Championship on Saturday at the Wayne E. Dannehl National cross country course in Kenosha, Wisc. This was Villanova’s 12th Big East title and their first back-to-back win since the ’93 season.

The team had to deal with a record amount of rainfall, five inches of rain in eight days, and muddy course conditions in order to get its title of Big East Champions.

Villanova was led by junior Sheila Reid, who won her first Big East individual title by finishing the course in 20:46. This was the first individual title for the team since Frances Koons claimed it in 2006.

After missing the 2008 season due to a hip injury, Reid has managed to consistently finish first for the Wildcats and has claimed the individual title at both the Bill Dellinger and Panorama Falls invitationals. She was also named the Big East women’s cross country athlete of the week for the first week of October. In an interview with Big East Television after the race in Wisconsin, Reid credited her successful race to working with her teammates.

Right behind Reid was fellow junior Amanda Marino who came through the finish line in 20:52 to claim second. Sophomore Bogdana Mimic was also a top-10 finisher as her 21:14 finish landed her in fourth overall, which is an improvement upon her fifth-place finish last year. Mimic was right behind Georgetown sophomore Emily Infeld.

Next in line for the Wildcats was freshman Brooke Simpson who moved up from a consistent seventh-place scorer in the last two meets to fourth scorer and 11th overall, making this her best race of the season. Junior Ali Smith also crossed the finish line in 21:44, coming in directly behind Simpson in only her second race of the season.

Head Coach Gina Procaccio was interviewed by Big East TV after the championship race and she said that she was proud to see Simpson and Smith step up and move up on the list of scorers. Seniors Kaitlyn Tallman and Nicole Schappert rounded out Villanova’s top seven by placing 20th and 22nd, respectively, with times of 21:56 and 22:05. Tallman and Schappert successfully displaced other teams’ top five runners and outran the fourth and fifth runners for West Virginia to help seal the win for Villanova. Each runner made All Big East by finishing in the top 25.

The team easily beat out the second and third place teams, West Virginia and Syracuse, with a 30-point finish. West Virginia finished with 74 points and Syracuse had 84.

Next up for the Wildcats is the Maryland Eastern Shore hosted Mid-Atlantic Regional on Nov. 14.