Women’s Cross Country Competes at Nationals


Courtesy of Villanova Athletics

Women’s Cross Country Competes at Nationals

Emma Houghton

Villanova finished its cross country season on Saturday with a 24th place finish amongst a field of 31 teams at the LaVern Gibson Championship Cross Country Course in Terre Haute, Ind.

Sophomore Lydia Olivere led the team with 29th place finish in a field of 252 runners in the 6k race. She posted a time of 20:39.9, earning her first career All-American award. She finished 129 spots higher than she did at the Championships last season. Earlier this week, Olivere was named the Mid-Atlantic Region Women’s Athlete of the Year award after winning the Big East and NCAA Mid-Atlantic Regional individual titles this past month. 

Senior Ann Campbell finished in 111th with a time of 21:19.4 and freshman Maggie Smith finished in 141st with a time of 21:33.2. This was Campbell’s third race at the NCAA Championships. 

Freshman Brynne Sumner and senior McKenna Keegan were the fourth and fifth scoring runners for Villanova, finishing with times of 22:05.9 and 22:41.8, respectively. Two other freshmen, Nikki Merrill and Anna Helwigh, rounded out the team’s results, posting times of 22:42.7 and 22:43.8, respectively.

Villanova had the youngest team amongst the 31 competing, featuring a lineup of four freshmen and five runners who did not have NCAA Championship experience. 

A second place finish at the NCAA Mid-Atlantic Regional earned the team a bid to Nationals, making this the 11th time in the past 12 seasons that the ‘Cats have earned a spot at the NCAA meet.

Despite labeling this season a rebuilding year, head coach Gina Procaccio led the squad to a 24th place finish on the national stage, produced an All-American, a Mid-Atlantic Region Women’s Athlete of the Year and three Mid-Atlantic All-Region Team runners in Olivere, Campbell and Smith.