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by Pat Ralph

Several members of the Villanova track and field team participated in the 2013 NCAA Division I Indoor Track and Field Championships in Fayetteville, Arkansas at the University of Arkansas last weekend.

The action took place both Friday and Saturday night, with the Wildcats participating in four events on the first night.

In the first event of the night for the ’Cats, which was the semifinal heats of the Men’s Mile, sophomore Rob Denault ran in the second heat of the semifinals.

The top four in each heat, plus the next two fastest times, were the prerequisites for advancing to the finals of the Men’s Mile. Unfortunately, Denault finished seventh in the second semifinal heat of the Mile, so he was unable to participate in the final.

The second race on the night for the Wildcats was the 800-meter, which junior Sam Ellison ran. Ellison was slotted to run in the first of two semifinal heats, with the top three in each heat plus the next two fastest times advancing to the finals.

However, Ellison placed seventh in his semifinal heat with a time of 1:49.22 and was unable to advance to the finals.

Despite the early two disappointing finishes for the ’Cats, Villanova finished second in the Women’s Distance Medley Relay with a time of 10:57.96 in their third race of the night.

The relay team consisted of freshmen Angel Piccirillo and Michaela Wilkins, and juniors Nicky Akande and Emily Lipari.

The women’s DMR squad earned all-American honors for their second-place finish.

In the Wildcats fourth and final race of the first night of competition, the men’s DMR team placed fifth with a time of 9:35.46 despite being seeded ninth coming into the race.

The relay team, which consisted of Ellison, junior Chris FitzSimons, junior Sam McEntee and freshman Jordy Williamsz, earned all-American honors for their fifth place finish.

In the second and final night of competition, the Wildcats participated in only one race with Lipari running in the 3000-meter.

In the 3000-meter final, Lipari placed 14th with a time of 9:30.54 to wrap up the weekend for the Wildcats.

She had an early lead in the 3000-meter race and was in fifth place after the first mile before the field spread out over the second half of the race. Despite the disappointing finish for the middle distance runner, Lipari has had an impressive winter season.

Lipari was named the Mid-Atlantic Region Athlete of the Year this past week, and at the Big East Championships last month, Lipari repeated as the individual champion in the 1000-meter, and also anchored the Wildcats to the conference title in the 4×800-meter relay for the second straight year.

With the NCAA Championships concluding the winter season for the ’Cats, the Villanova track and field team will now begin their spring portion of the 2012-2013 season.

The first event of the spring season for the Wildcats is the Philadelphia College Classic on March 23.

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