Men’s cross country advances to Nationals

Matt Bolton

The men’s cross country team continued its impressive season on Friday by winning the NCAA Mid-Atlantic Regional. The win guarantees the Wildcats one more race for the season, Nationals for the 32nd time in the history of the program.  

This will be the eighth straight appearance for the men’s team, a school record.  Friday marked the fifth time that Villanova has won the Mid-Atlantic Regional race.  

Villanova’s victory at the NCAA Mid-Atlantic Regional moved it up from the seventh ranked to the fifth ranked cross country team in the nation. Last week I wrote that the Wildcats wanted to race using the pack approach for the Mid-Atlantic meet, and they executed that plan perfectly on Friday. All of the scorers for Villanova finished among the top 15 racers, and only 12 seconds separated the five runners for Villanova.  

They were led by their top runner all season, sophomore Patrick Tiernan, who finished second overall (30:20), and junior Rob Denault who came in fourth (30:22). 

 Rounding out the scoring was senior Sam McEntee, who came in seventh (30:24), junior Jordy Williamsz, who crossed the line in thirteenth (30:30) and senior Brian Basili, who finsihed in 15th (30:32).  Each of the top six runners for Villanova earned All-Mid-Atlantic Region honors for finishing in the top 25. 

This is impressive, since it matches the amount of all-region performers from last year’s team.  

Villanova led the team scoring with 41 points, while Georgetown’s 74 points were good enough for second place and earned it the region’s other automatic bid to the national meet. The national meet will take place this Saturday in Terre Haute, Ind., on the LaVern Gibson Championship Course.  

The women’s team performance at the NCAA Mid-Atlantic Regional resulted in a fourth place finish last Friday.  While the future looks bright for the young Wildcats, it has to be disappointing that their season ended with this race.  

The women hoped to be included in the field of teams that will be racing in Nationals on Saturday, but they ultimately were not given an at-large bid. Villanova was led by Senior Stephanie Schappert, who finished in 14th (21:01) and freshman Siofra Cleirigh Buttner, who finished in 17th (21:10). The other scorers for the women’s team were sophomores Angel Piccirillo, Caitlin Bungo and Erin Jaskot. Piccirillo finished in 29th (21:23), Bungo was 30th (21:23) and Jaskot rounded out the scoring attack in 38th (21:31).

The winner on the women’s side was Georgetown, which won the team title with a score of 38 points, narrowly beating West Virginia’s 42. Princeton’s 125 points were just enough to come in third ahead of the Wildcats’128 points. 

Schappert and Cleirigh Buttner ended their careers by receiving All-Mid Atlantic Region honors for their top 25 individual finishes last Saturday.