Koons places second out of 252 at Pre-NCAA meet

Mary Elizabeth Donovan

In the Pre-NCAA meet on Saturday hosted by Indiana State, the men’s and women’s cross country teams kept themselves in contention for the NCAA championship meet next month. Villanova will have to compete in the Big East championship on Oct. 27, in order to qualify for the national championship.

In the meet on Saturday, the women’s team came in second among Big East schools behind Georgetown which finished in eigth place but in front of Marquette and Louisville. Junior Frances Koons led the Wildcats and finished second out of 252 runners with a time of 20:09, just seven seconds behind the first place winner. North Carolina State’s Julia Lucas placed first. Akilah Vargas was the second Wildcat to finish with a time of 21:22, and she came in 61st place. The next three Villanova runners, freshman Siobhan Coleman, Katina Alexander and Zita Mezei, finished within five seconds of each other with times of 21:54, 21:59, 21:59, respectively.

Freshman Theresa Rush who ran in the meet maintains a positive spirit.

“We didn’t run as well as we wanted to at pre-nationals on Saturday but we definitely went home with a few positives. Frances Koons and Akilah Vargas ran really well but the rest of us hoped to run a little faster,” Rush said. “However, it was a good learning experience because we got to run against the top teams in the NCAA and now we know where we stand and what we need to work on to qualify for nationals.”

In the men’s 8K race, senior Bobby Curtis finished third out of 243 male runners with a time of 23:44. Despite missing last season, Curtis ran with the leading group and managed to catch a runner in front of him late in the race. No other runners placed in the top 50, but senior Andrew Keino came in 52nd place finishing in 24:30. With a time of 23:31, Martin Fagan of Providence won the race. The men’s team ultimately placed 17th in the meet, but the coaches and runners still believe that they can make nationals. Colorado won the meet, followed by Florida State.