The women’s cross country team won its second straight national championship last Monday, led by senior Sheila Reid, who was the individual national champion.
The team narrowly edged out Florida State for the title, winning the team championship by only 40 seconds.
Reid beat out second place finisher Emily Infeld of Georgetown by less than 3 seconds, as she broke away during the final stretch and won with a final time of 20:06.9.
Senior Amanda Marino was Villanova’s second-place finisher, finishing in eighth place in the individual competition just 20 seconds behind Reid.
Senior Ali Smith finished in 20th place, while junior Bogdana Mimic finished in 22nd place. Freshman Emily Lipari sealed the win for the Wildcats, finishing in 69th place and ahead of the fifth place runners from Florida State and Texas Tech, who finished in second and third place.Villanova had entered the race as the favorite, having won last year and returning eight runners from last year’s Championship-winning team.
Villanova has now won nine titles since the NCAA Championships began in 1981, which is five more than the nearest competitor.
The race was held under less than favorable conditions, with strong winds slowing the pace and preventing any runners from taking a commanding lead until the final 200 meters, when Reid broke away from the pack.
This was her eighth individual win in her last 10 meets. While Reid’s strong performance in both this meet and throughout the season certainly stand out, Head Coach Gina Procaccio made sure to emphasize the fact that the win was truly a team effort.
Villanova’s top four runners all finished within 34 seconds of each other, and Lipari finished within 40 seconds of the top four.
Reid’s story is truly one of comeback, as she was quoted after the race saying, “If you had told me two years ago I’d be here, I don’t think I’d believe you.”
During her freshman year, Reid tore cartilage in her hip socket and had to undergo surgery.
The recovery process required her to miss her sophomore season, and she credited Procaccio with helping her come back from such a serious injury.
With the win, Villanova cemented their place as the one true dynasty in the field of women’s cross country. With Procaccio, the cycle has come full circle, as she won a national title during her time at Villanova, and has now been able to coach the team to back-to-back National Championships.