Women’s cross-country takes first, men third

Mark O'Neil

The women’s cross-country team took home first place this past weekend at the Penn State National, a 6k race held on Saturday at the Penn State Golf Courses.

The ‘Cats’ first five runners all finished in the top 10, led by senior Sheila Reid, who finished as the individual winner with a time of 20:23. She was followed closely by senior Amanda Marino, who finished in second place with a time of 20:30. Rounding out the rest of the top five for Villanova were senior Ali Smith, freshman Emily Lipari and junior Bogdana Mimic, who finished in fifth, eighth and 10th place, respectively.

The team score of 26 far outpaced second-place Syracuse, one of the other top teams in the Big East, who came into the meet ranked seventh in the country. Rounding out the top five teams were Penn State, Miami (Ohio) and Grand Valley State. The race itself got off to a slow start, and Marino even had to stop at one point to put a shoe back on.

Women’s Head Coach Gina Procaccio was pleased with her team’s performance, noting that the team has done a great job this season of running to the level of the competition — something that she thinks is important as the team heads into the championship season. The next race for the ‘Cats will be the Big East Championship, which will be held at Syracuse University on Oct. 30.

The men’s cross-country team also had a strong day at Penn State, finishing third overall in the team standings during Saturday morning’s 5.2 mile event. The team’s top five runners all finished within 13 seconds of each other, led by junior Matt Kane, who finished in 14th place overall with a time of 25:44. Following Kane were seniors Hugo Beamish, Keith Capecci and Carl Mackenzie, and junior Mathew Mildenhall. They finished in 18th, 19th, 21st and 23rd place, respectively.

This tight grouping among Villanova’s runners gave the Wildcats a team score of 95, just four points behind second place Penn State. Syracuse won the team title, with an overall score of 61.

Men’s Head Coach Marcus O’Sullivan was pleased with his team’s performance, after a disappointing 13th place finish two weeks ago at the Notre Dame Invitational. The returns of Beamish and Mildenhall to the lineup were a large part of the ‘Cats’ improvement. This was Beamish’s first race of the season, and Mildenhall had not run in two weeks.

The team should slowly continue to improve as Beamish and Mildenhall continue to progress in the coming weeks, O’Sullivan said, commenting on their return. The ‘Cats, along with Syracuse and Penn State, far outdistanced the rest of the field, as fourth place finisher Grand Valley state finished with a team total of 139, while fifth place Cornell finished with a total of 178.

The next race for the men’s team will also be the Big East Championship on Oct. 30.