‘Nova showcases talent, dominates at Haverford

Leslie Combs

Both the men and women got off to a fast start in their 2002 season last Friday against Main Line rival Haverford College. Keeping with tradition, the season opener pitted the local squads against each other on the Haverford campus cross country course, where only individual, not team scores were tallied.

While racing the four-mile trek, Villanova’s leading men maintained a fairly tight pack throughout the race. Senior Jason Jabaut ran an outstanding first race to win the meet in 20:22, beating out Haverford’s lone up-front competitor, junior Brandon Rowe, by five seconds. Three, four and five belonged to the Wildcats, with junior Pat Dunn leading the trio in 20:29. Freshman Milos Metric did not let the fact that it was his first collegiate meet psyche him out, and the promising newcomer took fourth in 20:37. Close on his heels was classmate Mark Peleraw, who also looks to add to the depth to the 2002 team after taking fifth in 20:41.

Haverford then broke in the midst of ‘Nova with junior Greg Bielecki finishing sixth in 20:42 and sophomore Bobby Cannon finishing seventh in 20:43.

The Wildcat’s next trio rounded out the top seven runners for ‘Nova with sophomore Tom Falvey clocking in at 20:45 for eighth and juniors Michael Botti and Andrew Cameron rounding out the top 10 in 20:46 and 21:06 respectively.

Top runners junior Ryan Hayden and senior Adrian Blincoe, did not run in the race as a coaches’ decision to not assemble the entire varsity team until later this season.

However, the men looked good overall during the race and were able to finish strong, despite little outside competition.

After failing to find a consistent fifth runner last season head coach Marcus O’Sullivan is confident that the same problem will not present itself this fall. “I am very positive,” O’Sullivan said. “I thought it was a great showing today. We know we need one guy to make up our five, and I think there are one or two or three or four that can potentially take that spot.”

The women looked equally as dominant as the men on Haverford’s course early last Friday evening. Timing only a 5-K course, while continuing to run a four-mile race, the Wildcats were impressive to watch. Sophomore Ioana Parusheva took control of the lead early on and never relinquished it, finishing in 17:03, a full 30 seconds ahead of junior teammate Carre Joyce who crossed the line in 17:33. Parusheva’s fast time was not only notable for being her first meet of the season, but also for the fact that she ran the race alone at the front, leaving no one to push her.

Giving the top five places to Villanova, the young Wildcat trio clocked in next.

Freshman Bridget Akord finished third in 17:53, while sophomore Kirsty Smith and freshman Liz Gesel took fourth and fifth respectively in 18:06 and 18:12.

Haverford finally broke through the ‘Nova pack when sophomore Sarah LaMoy took sixth in 18:15. The ‘Cats followed right behind when sophomore Juliette Kenney took seventh in 18:54. Haverford juniors Abigail Noble and Prentiss Clark clocked in next at 18:58 and 19:22 to finish eighth and ninth respectively. Completing the top ten and taking the seventh spot on ‘Nova’s roster, sophomore Holly Cosnett placed 10th in 19:25.

The ‘Cats’ successful monopoly of the top five scoring positions came without the help of top runners sophomore Kailin Toedebusch and junior Rebecca Mitchell who both took the day off.

“Since the whole team did not race, our goal as a team was just to start the team off on a positive note,” Smith said.

The men and women will next travel to Terre Haute, Ind. Oct. 5 to compete at the Indiana State Invitational.

The main intent for the trip is to familiarize the ‘Cats with the course they will run at Nationals later this November.