By Chris Lotsbom, @ChrisLotsbom
(c) 2014 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved
NEW YORK (21-Feb) — A new meet record of 10:55.63 was run by Georgetown University in the women’s distance medley relay, highlighting the opening day of competition here at the Big East Conference Championships at The New Balance Track & Field Center at The Armory. Hannah Neczypor, Emma Keenan, Andrea Keklak, and Katrina Coogan combined to run not only a meet record, but also a facility record and the second fastest mark in the NCAA this season.
“I think that today was the first day that we really ran to our potential,” said Coogan, speaking to members of the media alongside her teammates. “It’s cool to finally pull it together, especially at Big East.”
Beginning the relay was Neczypor, who timed an unofficial 3:19 1200 meter leg as she battled Villanova’s Stephanie Schappert.
“I haven’t run many 1200’s but that is definitely a big PR for me,” said Neczypor. “It was just helpful knowing in the back of my mind that I needed to be up there for these girls and get them in a good position for the rest of the race.”
Villanova was still hot on Georgetown’s heels during the 400m and 800m legs, as Keenan handed off to Keklak. While Keklak created a small gap, it was Coogan who did the most damage on the anchor leg. As soon as Coogan –daughter of Olympians Gwynn and Mark Coogan– received the baton for the final 1600m leg, the race was all but over. Even though Villanova countered with Emily Lipari, a mile specialist in her own right, no one was going to catch Coogan. Going out faster than usual, the 20-year-old pushed herself to an unofficial 4:32 split, defeating Villanova and Lipari by four seconds.
“I kinda went out a little too fast. I was hurting the rest of the leg,” admitted Coogan, a gold medal draped around her neck. “I was focusing on running for these girls and my teammates and doing it for them. When you think of it like that, you just start running and you just go.”
Georgetown’s final time, 10:55.63, breaks the previous meet record of 11:06.99 by more than ten seconds, a mark set by Connecticut last year. It also ranks second in the NCAA this season to Stanford (10:54.04), and is a new school record.
In the men’s distance medley relay, Villanova’s Dusty Solis came from behind in the final mile leg to claim victory in 9:42.08. Joining him on the winning quartet was Christopher O’Sullivan, Cory Serfoss, and Ben Malone. Georgetown was a close second, timing 9:45.26.
Villanova’s Patrick Tiernan sprinted home to win the 5000m title over Georgetown’s Collin Leibold. Tiernan, the reigning Big East Cross Country champion, entered the meet as the favorite, having run 13:37.73 for 5000m just last weekend.
Waiting until 1000 meters remained, Tiernan injected a hard surge that strung out the already single-file field. While most of the field fell behind, Leibold hung tight off the Australian’s shoulder. They would race neck-and-neck until the bell, when Tiernan pulled away for the victory.
Finishing first in 14:04.26, Tiernan earned Villanova ten team points. Leibold took second in 14:05.79, while Sam McEntee of Villanova rounded out the top three in 14:12.91.
“It went out pretty slow, just as we were expecting,” said Tiernan, who is slated for tomorrow’s 3000m. “The last couple laps were a bit harder than I would have liked them to be, but still came away with a win and Sam got third. It was a great result for us.”
From the get go, the women’s 5000m was a two-way race. After one circuit of The Armory’s 200 meter oval, Providence’s Emily Sisson and Laura Nagel had an eight meter cushion on the field, a gap that would continue to grow with each lap completed.
Executing their pre-race strategy to perfection –work together, exchange the lead every 400 meters– Nagel and Sisson seemed to be running comfortably until a quarter mile remained. That’s when they switched from workout mode to race mode.
Sprinting all out around the final bend, it was Sisson overtaking Nagel for the victory, 16:08.01 to 16:08.34.
“Going in we wanted to break it up every 400 [meters], take turns and go the last 400 all out,” said Sisson, quickly giving credit and praise to Nagel, a New Zealander. Both will return tomorrow for the 3000m.
All the pre-race favorites advanced in the women’s 800 meters, led by Villanova’s Nicky Akande. Akande, who placed fourth in the 800m at last year’s championships, ran away from the first heat to time 2:07.17.
In the second heat, it was locals taking the top two spots. Villanova’s Kelsey Margey, formerly of Friends Academy and a resident of Huntington, N.Y., won in 2:08.67, followed closely behind by Georgetown freshman Sabrina Southerland. Southerland, a graduate of Benjamin Cardozo High School in Queens, drew many cheers from her hometown fans.
Georgetown’s Ryan Manahan topped the list of men’s mile qualifiers with a time of 4:13.00. Villanova favorites Jordan Williamsz and Robert Denault were second and third fastest; both are sub-four minute milers.
Prelims for the women’s mile and men’s 800m, as well as the men’s and women’s 1000m, were scratched from the meet program. All entrants in those respective disciplines will move on to tomorrow’s finals.
Resutls can be found here.
Day 1 team score are as follows:
Women - Team Rankings - 6 Events Scored =============================================================================== 1) Villanova 48 2) Marquette 37 3) DePaul 26 3) Providence 26 5) St. John's 25 6) Georgetown 20 7) Butler 17 8) Xavier (Ohio) 14 Men - Team Rankings - 5 Events Scored =============================================================================== 1) Villanova 57 2) Marquette 44 3) Georgetown 37 4) DePaul 16 5) Xavier (Ohio) 14 5) Butler 14 7) Providence 11