Men solid in final weeks of competition before Big East

Leslie Combs

With track and field entering its final weeks of regular season competition, the men joined teams across the nation April 13 at various sites for the U.S. Track and Field Coaches Association Series Meet. Villanova traveled to Princeton, N.J. last Saturday, where it competed against Penn State, Princeton and UPenn. Penn State captured first place with 190 points.

Princeton was a close runner-up with 184, while Penn had 160 for third and ‘Nova brought up the rear with 106.

Despite their fourth place finish, the men had several solid performances, and are pleased with the weekend’s results.

The ‘Cats had two main goals going into the meet: to qualify more men for the Big East Tournament just weeks away and to gain experience for bigger meets later this month, namely the Penn Relays and the conference championship.

With several of the ‘Cats recording personal bests, while others performed under the Big East qualifications, head coach Marcus O’Sullivan was pleased with the outcome.

“It was a very good meet heading into the next few weeks,” O’Sullivan said.

Sophomore Pat Dunn was one of the men who ran a personal best, running an 8:27 to capture the 3,000m run.

Both Ryan Hayden and Adrian Blincoe also achieved personal bests on the track in the 800m run. Hayden, a sophomore, took second place in 1:49, while Blincoe, a junior accustomed to running longer distances, took sixth in 1:51.

Remaining with the distance events, junior Tom Parlapiano had an outstanding 1,500m run, winning the race with a personal best of 3:51.

“[Parlapiano] looked very impressive,” O’Sullivan said. “He was very comfortable out there.”

In the same event, freshman Tom Falvey beat the Big East Qualifications with his 3:56 performance, earning him his first conference experience.

Jesse Rapole is another newcomer this year who qualified for the Big East last Saturday, running a 9:27 in the grueling 3,000m steeple chase.

Moving to the sprints, sophomore standout Carlos Bedoya led the way with his second place finish in the 200m run, while classmate Paul Moser took sixth.

Moser later came back to run an impressive 46.5 in the final event of the meet, the 4x400m relay.

Junior Justin Shackleford completed the run-down of those who qualified for the Big East at Princeton after he made the mark in the hammer throw.

Just two weeks away from the prestigious Penn Relays, ‘Nova is using its remaining days to prepare for the showdown across town at Franklin Field.

Coming off a tremendous indoor season, the ‘Cats, for the first time in several years, have returned to the track and field elite podium and share the spotlight once again as one of the favored teams in the nation heading into the postseason.

“We are coming in very competitive being ranked as one of the best teams in the country,” O’Sullivan explained. “It elevates the excitement.”

Before the ‘Cats fight to defend their Championship of America Relay title in the distance medley relay on Penn’s track, the majority of the team will travel to Chester, Pa. to compete in the Widener Invitational tomorrow.

A select few are making the trip cross country to run at the Mount Zach Relays in California.

Sophomore Jason Jabaut, who took last weekend, off will compete in the 800m run, while Blincoe and Hayden will go for glory again, pairing up in the 1,500m run.

The duo’s competition will include the former high school running phenom, Allen Webb, who now suits up for the University of Michigan.