No. 5 women finish victorious in Haverford Invitational

Sam Carella

On a beautiful sunny day, the No. 5 ranked Villanova women’s cross country team competed against Haverford and Swarthmore in the Haverford Invitational. The team displayed all of the hard work they did this summer, and gave us a preview of the good things we can expect this season.

It is clear that the Wildcats ran their summer miles, placing six in the top eight places. Although no team score was computed, it is obvious that Villanova ran away with the victory. If the meet had been scored, the Wildcats would have tallied 15 points to Haverford’s 48, and Swarthmore’s 66.

Junior Juliette Kenny ran away from the competition right from the start with the exception of harrier Shannon Grady, who was not affiliated with any of the schools in the race. Kenny covered the three miles in 17:44, putting her a formidable 15 seconds ahead of the next finisher, Wildcat junior Colleen Taylor.

Behind Kenny and Taylor, senior Claudine Evangelista led a trio of Wildcat harriers across the finish line to complete the scoring. Evangelista placed fourth with a time of 18:13, followed by sophomore Bridget Akard in fifth finishing with a time of 18:16.6, and junior Holly Cosnet in sixth finishing in 18:16.9. Freshman Akilah Vargas made a good showing in her first collegiate race finishing in eighth place with a time 18:54.

Kenny had a great race, and looks like she has improved by leaps and bounds since last season. “Juliette has really stepped it up,” assistant coach Carmen Douma said. “She went home over the summer and really trained hard.”

Head coach Gina Procaccio is also optimistic for Juliette’s future performances. “She is looking very strong and may be in contention for the fifth spot on the team,” she said/

There were several key returning ‘Cats missing from the lineup for the race. Juniors Ioana Parusheva and Kirsti Smith along with seniors Rebecca Mitchell and Carre Joyce, sophomore Marina Muncan, and freshmen Zita Mezei and Denise Mazzeo will most likely make their debuts either in next week’s race in Van Cortland, or at Pre-National three weeks from now.

“Zita [Mezei] and Marina [Muncan] raced long into the summer; as a result they took their break late in the summer and began their training later than some.” Douma said. The other resting runners are in similar situations. Procaccio is confident that all will be ready to race well once the Big East championships and subsequent races arrive.

The team’s next race is Friday, Sept. 26 at Van Cortland Park in Bronx, NY. That race will be a big factor in determining who will be running at Pre-Nationals in three weeks.