Schappert wins Main Line Invitational for Wildcats

Matt Bolton

After its 19th place finish at nationals last year, the women’s cross country team look to qualify for the national meet for the seventh consecutive year and it got off to a good start at the Main Line Invitational last Thursday night. 

On the men’s side, sophomores Patrick Tiernan and Harry Warnick and senior Brian Basili placed in the top five overall to lead the ’Cats. 

Senior Stephanie Schappert captured the individual title at the Main Line Invitational. Schappert finished the three-mile Alumni Course at Haverford College in 16:51.10 and had an impressive margin of victory winning by more than 11 seconds. 

In cross country, the top five finishers score for the team, so it is a positive sign that for the Wildcats they were all in the top 10 overall in the team’s first meet of the year.

Schappert has run in the Main Line meet each of her four years on the team, and her time in Thursday’s race was a personal best for the course. 

She has finished within the top six in each of her four races in the meet and led all of the 61 runners to score the victory. Elyssa Gensib from Penn was the runner-up with a time of 17:02.40.

Eleven of the 17 Villanova runners ran in the meet, which featured a total of six local teams. As the season-opener the Wildcats should be impressed with its effort. 

While this meet wasn’t scored, it was important to get a race under their belt. It allowed them to get a better chance to see how they measure up as they head into the heart of their schedule. 

Villanova competes at the Washington Invitational next weekend in its first scored meet of the year.

Sophomore Caitlin Bungo and three other Wildcats finished seventh through 10th. Bungo finished in 17:22.00 and barely ahead of junior Sydney Harris who came in eighth place (17:22.50). 

Sophomore Julie Williams placed ninth (17:29.70) and freshman Nicole Armstrong came in 10th (17:32.20). 

As for the times of those outside the top ten for Villanova, sophomore Alexandra Russo came in 12th with a time of 17:39.00. Russo was followed by freshmen Erin Jaskot in 17th (17:54.10) and Katie Fisher in 18th place (17:56.90). 

Junior Leanne Tucker finished 20th (18:05.80), while freshman Rebecca Del Rossi was 22nd with a time of (18:09.40) and senior Megan Venables was 31st (18:31.20) and rounded out the runners from Villanova.

With a shift in focus to what is ahead for the team, it gets busy, and it gets busy quick. 

The 13th ranked Villanova women will be splitting up for the next set of races scheduled for Oct. 4, with runners participating in both the Paul Short Run in Bethlehem, Pa. as well as the University of Washington Invitational in Seattle, Wash. 

The Washington Invitational includes several top ranked teams including Oregon (No. 2) and Washington (No. 15) who both finished just ahead of Villanova in the NCAA Division 1 championships last year. 

This is Villanova’s first year participating in the Washington Invitational. 

Senior Stephanie Schappert comes to this race with her strong performances at the national level last year and her first place finish at last week’s Main Line Invitational. 

The Villanova Squad will also be returning to the Paul Short Run looking to improve on last year’s third place finish.  

NCAA rival and fifth ranked Georgetown will also be at Lehigh University to compete in the 6K race. 

Sophomore Angel Piccirillo finished 20th last year with Schappert finishing 41st. 

The men’s team will be participating in both the Washington Invittional and Paul Short Run as well. 

Both teams will look to send a message on the west coast, where the nation’s top teams reside. 

Women’s cross country Head Coach Procaccio will most likely be weighing the exposure to the West Coast teams as a factor in determining who will be representing Villanova at each race.