Women’s cross country team finishes seventh

Kyle Scudilla

Junior runner Mariana Muncan became a three-team All-American as she helped lead Villanova’s cross country team to its best finish in six years.

The Wildcats placed seventh out of a field of 31 teams during last week’s NCAA Cross Country Championships, held at Indiana State University in Terre Haute, Ind. It was the best performance by Villanova since they won the 1998 national championship. Muncan, a native of Pancevo, Yugoslavia, placed sixth overall in the 6K race with a time of 20:43. She placed ahead of all but one of her Big East counterparts.

Following Muncan for the Wildcats was senior Ioana Parusheva of Bulgaria. She finished 26th with a time of 21:13. Elizabeth Gesel, a junior, finished with a time of 21:46, good for 54th place. Senior Kirsty Smith clocked in at 21:52 to place 64th while fellow senior Colleen Taylor posted a time of 22:29 and was 127th. The entire field of runners consisted of 250 participants from the nation’s top cross country teams.

Villanova was just one of the Big East Conference’s representatives that finished near the top of the competition. The Providence Friars finished third overall. They were followed by Notre Dame (fourth) and West Virginia (15th).

The NCAA Championships have been held annually since 1981 and this was Villanova’s 19th appearance at the competition. In their history, the Wildcats have won seven national titles, including a remarkable six in a row from 1989-1994.

This year’s champion was Colorado. This was their second team title in the NCAA championships. The Buffalos had three runners in the top 10 and five in the top 25.



Villanova also garnered an impressive accolade on the men’s side of the competition.

Wildcat sophomore and native of Louisville, Ky., Bobby Curtis ran as an individual and won All-America honors. He finished with a time of 31:22 in the 10K meter race. Curtis’ time was the 15th fastest in a field of 242 runners.

The accomplishment completes a superb year by the Villanova sophomore, who also won the Big East Conference Cross Country title earlier this year.