Villanova cross country sweeps Big East titles

The women’s cross country team of Villanova continued its domination of the Big East Cross Country Championships over the weekend. But this year, the Wildcats had some company.

The Villanova men’s cross country team, with five of its runners finishing in the top 13, captured the team title on that side, its first since 2002.

The women won the conference crown Saturday for the fourth consecutive year. Sheila Reid further cemented her place as perhaps Villanova’s best cross country runner of all-time, winning the individual championship for the third consecutive year.

Reid, a senior, clocked a time of 19 minutes. 40.9 seconds over the 6,000-meter course in Louisville, Ky.

The Wildcats’ Bogdana Mimic, also a senior, surged at the end to finish second in 19:51.2. Rounding out the scoring for Villanova were sophomores Nicky Akande (12th) and Emily Lipari (16th) and senior Callie Hogan (23rd).

“It took a complete team effort for us to win and that is exactly what happened,” said Villanova women’s coach Gina Procaccio. “Everyone had to set up for us and I am so proud of our runners for getting their jobs done.”

On the men’s side, Villanova also received a great team effort led by senior Matthew Gibney, who was the team’s top finisher in 23:41.4, placing him fifth overall on the 8,000-meter course. Senior Keith Capecci was right behind Gibney in 23:42.2, and Ryan Sheridan crossed the line in eighth place in 23:51.3.

Freshman Samuel McEntee (11th) and junior Matt Kane (13th) were the Wildcats’ other scorers. Mathew Mildenhall came in 14th to join his five teammates on the all-Big East team.

“Our entire team realized that the only way to have their talent shine through was to fight for it and have a desire to win,” men’s coach Marcus O’Sullivan said. “The team understood that sense of urgency.”

The two Wildcat teams next will compete Nov. 12 in the NCAA Mid-Atlantic Regional in Princess Anne, Md.