T&F: ‘Nova competes at NCAA Indoor Championships

Tim Richer

The Wildcats finished off the women’s indoor track season in style this weekend with strong representation at the NCAA Indoor Championships in Fayetteville, Ark. Junior Frances Koons finished eighth in the 3,000-meter, senior Monique Morgan placed eighth in the 60-meter hurdles and the distance medley team finished 10th for Villanova, which entered the championships as the No. 17 team in the country.

Morgan ran a time of 8:27 in the hurdles finals after running a personal-best 8:16 in the preliminary round. The event capped off a senior season, in which she earned All-American honors for the second straight year. In 2006, Morgan received the award in the 100-meter hurdles.

This was also the second season in which Koons collected All-American honors in the 3,000-meter. Her time of 9:20.22 was good enough for a top-10 finish in the finals.

Villanova’s distance medley team finished with a time of 11:15.58 in the finals. Sophomore Ellen Dougherty ran the first 1,200 meters of the race, senior Tiera Fletcher ran next 400 meters, followed by an 800-meter leg from senior Akilah Vargas. Koons anchored the relay with 1,600 meters. North Carolina was the victor in the event, finishing over six seconds faster than second place Tennessee.

Koons was guaranteed not to go home empty-handed from Fayetteville. Before the championships, Koons was awarded the Mid-Atlantic Region Women’s Track Athlete of the Year by the U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association.

Among Koons’ long list of achievements on the season was her record-setting time of 9:01.01 in the 3,000-meter at the New Balance Collegiate Invitational earlier this year. The previous record was 9:13. The winning run was the third fastest in Villanova history, behind former Olympians Vicki Huber and Sonia O’Sullivan. She was also recognized as the Women’s Most Outstanding Track Performer at the Big East Indoor Championships in February.

The Villanova men’s best effort came in the distance medley, where they were close to qualifying in the NCAA Indoor Championships. The relay team consisted of seniors Mark Korich, Drew Eckman and Bobby Curtis and sophomore Elvis Lewis.

The Wildcats track and field team moves outside on March 22 when it competes in the Walt Disney World Invitational in Orlando, Fla.