XC finishes strong at pre-national meet

Sam Carella

Setting the stage for the fall’s postseason, Oct. 18 in Waterloo, Iowa, the men and women’s cross country team competed in the 2003 National Division I pre-national meet hosted by the University of Nothern Iowa.

Villanova’s men finished in fifth place in the 8,000m purple team race, while the women ran to 11th place in the 6,000m gold team race. Jon Faulo and Ioana Parusheva led their respective teams to the overall finishes.

The course was hard and flat creating fast times and an interesting race. Fasulo finished in 15th place crossing the finish line in 23:55.

The Wildcats had three more runners in the top 60 with Ryan Hayden placing 23rd in 24:03, Bobby Curtis finishing 31st in 24:08 and Milos Mitric placing 52nd in 24:27.

Next for ‘Nova was Marc Pelerin (24:45) in 83rd place, Kippy Keino in 90th place (24:49) and Jason Jabaut in 195th place (25:59).

“Everyone had solid races … the best is yet to come,” Hayden said. “We are going to get better every week from here on out.”

According to Hayden, everyone is on schedule to achieve their goals individually as well as a team at both the Big East championships and the NCAA championships.

If what Hayden says is true, Villanova will have much success towards the end of its season.

Pat Dunn and David Van Orsdel ran in the open race in Iowa and both performed well, finishing 19th (25:30.7) and 29th (25:47.8) respectively.

Dunn mentioned that the temperature rose more than ten degrees between the earlier purple team race and his own open race. The quick changes in the temperatures made it a difficult 8,000 meters for the team.

Regardless of the temperature both ‘Cats ran well in the later race and would have been able to make good appearances in the earlier race with the rest of the team.

On the women’s side ‘Nova was led by Parusheva’s 17th place finish in 20:58. Next for the Wildcats was Marina Muncan in 21:00 for 20th place.

The remaining Wildcats across the line were Juliette Kenny who placed 56th with a time of 21:39, Colleen Taylor who finished 80th in 22:03, Rebecca Mitchell who placed 141st in 22:48 and Bridget Akard finishing with a time of 23:11, placing in 164th place.

Women’s head coach Gina Procaccio seemed optimistic about the race’s outcome. “Although it doesn’t seem like it, we actually ran pretty well,” Procaccio said.

“Ioana, Marina, Juliette and Colleen ran pretty solid races. We were missing our third and fourth scorers and that really affected the team outcome,” she added. “Hopefully, we’ll get Kirsty back and get Zita where she should be and we’ll be OK. It was the first race for Marina and Ioana so they both ran well.”

After the successful finishes for the men and women at the the 2003 National Division I pre-national meet, both teams are getting ready for the upcoming Big East and NCAA championship meets. The Big East championships start Oct 31.

In preparation for the meets, both the men’s and women’s teams are dedicating themselges to working towards improvement.