Villanova’s men’s and women’s cross country teams competed in NCAA Division I Mid-Atlantic Region Championships hosted by Bucknell University on Nov. 15. The men’s team won the region and the women’s team placed third in the championship races.
Led by Wildcat seniors Jon Fasulo and Ryan Hayden, in second and third place respectively, the men’s team won the meet, with Georgetown finishing a slim but decisive two points behind. Two weeks ago the men lost to Georgetown and Notre Dame at the Big East Championships, but, they managed to step it up and surprise the Hoyas.
“I had been focusing on each individual’s performance,” head coach Marcus O’Sullivan said. “Hearing of our team victory was great after seeing them all run so well.”
Milos Mitric and Bobby Curtis were next across the line for the Wildcats in 8th and 14th places, respectively. Both ‘Cats had great performances.
“It is great for them to see themselves run so well,” O’Sullivan said. “It really makes them feel like they are in shape and all the training has been worth it.”
The women were led by junior Ioana Parusheva placing 7th with a time of 20:20 minutes. Next across the line was sophomore Marina Muncan who placed 10th in 20:41. Juliette Kenny and Rebecca Mitchell crossed the finish line next for the ‘Cats placing 17th and 31th, respectively. Rounding out the scoring for the women were Kirsty Taylor in 33rd place with 21:43 minutes and Kirsty Smith in 38th place. Also, Zita Mezei placed 51st in 22:19 minutes.
Georgetown captured the women’s Mid-Atlantic Region title with 56 points, while Princeton scored 78 points to take second over Villanova’s 98 points.
“Strong performances by Ioana Parusheva, Marina Muncan and Juliette Kenny helped the team to a third place finish,” head coach Gina Procaccio said. “Juliette was very impressive and definitely ran the best race of the season. The rest of the team ran well enough for us to finish six points ahead of Penn State and earn a bid to the NCAAs.”
Both the men and the women are looking forward to NCAA Championships Nov. 24. Their performances at Regionals have secured them both positions on the starting line in Northern Iowa for their championship races. Thirty-one teams are selected each year to participate in each championship race.
The top two teams from each of the nine regions automatically qualify; 13 additional teams are selected at large, based upon their performance in their region.
The Villanova men are currently ranked No. 9 in the country, while the women are ranked No. 15. Both teams are looking to improve upon those rankings.