Track runs well again in N.Y.

Andrew Gordon

The men’s and women’s track and field teams traveled to the Bronx, N.Y. on Feb. 7 to compete in the New Balance Collegiate Invite. It was a successful weekend for the Wildcats, as members of both the men’s and women’s teams saw numerous personal bests, Big East-qualifying marks and NCAA provisional times.

Villanova competed against teams from over 100 universities around the country, including Top 10 teams Florida State (No. 5 women/No. 6 men), BYU (No. 8 men), LSU (No. 4 women/No. 10 men) and Texas A&M (No. 5 men). The ‘Cats also saw international competition, with athletes coming from France and Canada to the two day meet.

With the Big East Indoor Championships right around the corner, the ‘Nova women added more conference qualifiers at two NCAA provisional qualifiers to their roster.

The 3,000-meter run remained a strong event for the Wildcats as senior Frances Koons and junior Nicole Schappert each bettered the NCAA standard of 9:34.00 with times of 9:18.02 and 9:26.06, respectively. Koons set the all-time meet record in this same event in 2007 with a time of 9:01.02.

The consistency of the women’s distance squad has been evident throughout the indoor season and proved itself yet again with two strong performances in the mile by sophomore Amanda Marino and junior Kaitlyn Tallman. Marino, running in the first of two heats, placed fifth in her section with a time of 4:49.12.

In the final heat, Tallman clocked in at 4:53.77. Both Wildcat runners recorded personal bests in the race while managing to qualify for the Big East and Eastern College Athletic Conference Championships.

The men’s middle-distance and distance factions performed well on the second day of competition.

Along with a plethora of Big East qualifiers, Villanova also had a competitor beat the NCAA provisional standard, giving him the right to compete at the NCAA Indoor Championships in March.

Senior Sean Tully will run at competition held in Texas after showing much determination in his 800-meter heat. Tully finished first in his section with a time of 1:49.91. Not far behind Tully were sophomore Jason Apwah and senior Cody Harper.

Both racing in the first heat, Apwah finished on top of his section in 1:50.72, while Harper crossed the line third with a split of 1:51.61. Both Wildcat runners qualified for the conference championships by running under the standard of 1:55.24.

Another Big East qualifying mark was hit in the 3,000-meter race as New Zealand native and Villanova sophomore Hugo Beamish bettered his personal record by six seconds, running a time of 3:16.86.

The distance team continued to better qualifying times in mass quantities as four ‘Nova runners beat the mile standard of 4:19.54.

Sophomore Matthew Gibney was ahead of the pack in his section, clocking in at 4:06.59, while sophomore Ben Guest was just 18 hundredths of a second behind at 4:06.72.

Fellow sophomore Chris Williams and graduate student Chris Mellea qualified with times of 4:09.92 and 4:09.56, respectively.

The heavily anticipated Big East Conference Championships will be held at the Armory on Feb. 21.