Sports Roundup: Remember us? Ott, Pena ready to roll

Corey Marine

Forwards Antonio Pena and Andrew Ott are both returning to the team this year as red-shirt freshmen, meaning they were on the team last year but did not play, making them eligible for another season.

Despite the lack of playing time last year, both players were able to make the best of their time with the team and were able to learn from their teammates.

“The people that played ahead of me showed me how to be a Villanova player,” Pena said.

When asked about what he learned from his first season on the team, Ott told reporters, “I was really able to learn a lot from the other guys. They showed me the ropes with everything off the court and on the court. It also gave me a chance to play better defense, play with the team, and develop my body. Sometimes it was tough to not be in the games, but it was really valuable because it taught me things I wouldn’t be able to learn otherwise.”

Both players had no problem feeling like they were part of the team despite not playing.

“The team did a great job of making me feel a part of the team last year,” Ott said.

‘Nova Nation is anxious to see how the forwards will contribute to the team on the court this season. Head Coach Jay Wright also has high expectations for these returning players.

“They know what’s going on, and that helps during practice because they know our system,” said Wright. “They’ve got to get their game legs under them now.” — C.M.

Cross Country: Curtis and Guest place in NCAA Regional Championships

Senior Bobby Curtis and freshman Ben Guest led the Wildcats to a second-place finish at the Cross Country NCAA Regional Championship at Lehigh’s Goodman Campus with a score of 70 points, sealing a spot at the NCAA finals on Nov. 19. Curtis finished the 10K race in first place with a time of 30:08, while Guest finished sixth with a time of 30:30. This is Curtis’s second individual victory this season. Guest passed seven runners during the final 600 meters en route to his finish, giving ‘Nova the four-point edge over third-place finisher Princeton.

“We ran extremely well today,” Villanova Head Coach Marcus O’Sullivan said. “Curtis ran another terrific race, while Guest ran an outstanding final 600 meters to give us the second-place finish.”

On the women’s side, Villanova finished the NCAA Regional Championship with a strong fifth-place finish overall. Freshman Sheila Reid was the first woman to cross the finish line for the Wildcats with a twelfth-place finish, clocking in at 20:37 over the 6K course. Her performance landed her an individual spot at the Division I-NCAA finals in Terre Haute, Ind., on Monday.

Reid was followed by three classmates: freshmen Ali Smith, Caillie Hogan and Amanda Marino. Reid, Smith and Hogan all received All-Mid-Atlantic Region honors for their performances. Smith finished the race at 20th overall with a time of 20:53. Hogan followed her with a time of 20:59 in her 24th-place finish. Marino placed 30th overall with a time of 21:17. The four freshmen were followed by senior Akilah Vargas, who finished 33rd overall with a time of 21:23 to round out Villanova’s top five women’s finishers. — C.M.

Swimming and Diving: ‘Cats defeat Rutgers

The women’s swimming and diving team hosted Rutgers on Friday in a Big East matchup and shocked the Scarlet Knights by defeating them 160-137. Rutgers had been undefeated in the Big East for seven years previous to the Wildcats victory.

The ‘Cats improved to 5-1 on the season. Freshman Liz Stetson won the 200-meter butterfly, posting her best time in this event at 2:06:16. Stetson also competed in the winning 200-meter medley relay team, which included sophomore Katie O’Gorman, junior Brie von Rosendahl and senior Jesse Radtke. Sophomore Sarah Czar and freshman Astrid Armgarth each had two individual wins to help the ‘Cats post the victory. — J.A.