PHILADELPHIA, PA. 4/28/2016 – Villanova’s women’s track has a six straight Penn Relays Championship of America winning streak. That streak came to an end as Georgetown won the Women’s Distance Medley Relay Wheel at the 2016 Penn Relays. The defending indoor titlist in this event crossed the finish line in 11:12.73. The Wildcats turned in a time of 11:21.77 behind Oklahoma State (11.17.94).
Coming into this event Villanova had a team missing its most experienced runner as Angel Piccirillo was redshirted earlier this year due to injury. Coach Gina Procaccio planned to insert two freshman runners into the race, but one (Nicole Hustchinson) was out due to illness. Between lack of experience and the shift in the lineup, Procaccio was happy with the results.
“I was really pleased,” said Procaccio about the effort of the team. “I went into this hoping we could get third and that would be great. You just want to see them be tough, and they all did a great job.”
Procaccio had sophomore Siofra Cleirigh Buttner, the most experienced runner, lead off in the 1200 meter leg. Buttner, running a time of 3:28.14 gave the lead to Villanova passing the baton to Sidney Hayes. Georgetown took the lead in the 400 meter leg as Heather Martin ran a 55.12 leg. Villanova was second a Hayes turned in a 56.32 effort.
The Hoyas took control of the race in the 800 meter segment of the race with Sabrina Southerland ran the distance in 2:05.22. Oklahoma State moved into second as Kaylee Dodd finished in 2:08.34. UConn was third as the baton was passed to the anchors with Villanova, with a time of 2:12.44 by sophomore Rebecca Del Rossi, was in fourth.
Georgetown anchor Katrina Coogan increased the lead early and kept the significant advantage to the finish line running a 16000 meter leg in 4:44.07. Her effort was nearly matched by Villanova freshman Sammy Bockoven who ran a 4:44.97. Oklahoma State was in second place as anchor Kaela Edwards had a time of 4:43.49.
“Sammy (Bockoven) had the same split as the Georgetown anchor,” Procaccio said.
The Wildcats look forward as this team will be together for a few more years and will compete for more Penn Relays Championship Wheels.
“We had a few illnesses and injuries this year,” said Buttner. “We’re fielding a team that will be back next year and try and win. We are always trying to win it. There is a passion behind Villanova.”
“We are a pretty young team,” Del Rossi said. “We can come back and do better next time.”
“With the team that we have, we try to look forward,” said Hayes. “We are ready to come back next year and win it.”
The immediate future is on Friday as Villanova will defend their 4 x 1500 Meter championship.
“The other freshman will run tomorrow (Bockover, Hutchinson, and Bella Burda) and Siofra will run anchor,” said Procaccio.
Written By: Glenn Papazian