Villanova women finish third in 4 x 1,500 at Penn Relays

Posted: April 28, 2013

WE'LL NEVER know what might have happened had Villanova's women maybe had some fresher legs to run in yesterday afternoon's 4 x 1,500-meter race at the Penn Relays.

But the Wildcats used three of the same people - all underclassmen - who had helped them win the distance medley relay for the second straight year the day before, an event that Michigan and Oregon elected to skip.

So naturally, it came down to those three teams. And in the end, Michigan and Oregon had just a little bit more, even though anchor Emily Lipari did about all she could to at least give Villanova a chance. It wasn't quite enough, as the Wolverines, who won this event in 2007 and '08, finished first in 17 minutes, 15.47 seconds, just ahead of Oregon (17:16.50) and 'Nova (17:17.57). All three times were among the 10 fastest in Carnival history. The only time 'Nova ran faster here was 2010 (17:15.41), when it finished second to Tennessee.

That won't make the Wildcats feel any better.

"It happens; you've got to deal with it," said Lipari, whose 4:17.5 was 2 seconds better than UM's Amanda Eccleston and nearly 3 seconds lower than the Ducks' Becca Friday. "We're part of a team. That's what racing is. Some teams are going to do things differently. We have tough girls. So does Michigan and Oregon. That [DMR] was [Thursday]."

Shannon Osika (4:22.3), New Jersey native Jillian Smith (4:18.6) and Rebecca Addison (4:15.0) were UM's first three. Eccleston is a graduate student who transferred from Division II Hillsdale College.

Wildcats freshman Angel Piccirillo, who ran so well in the DMR's opening 1,200, allowed Michigan and Oregon to open up what turned out to be a little too much separation on the third leg, after Stephanie Schappert and Nicky Akande had kept 'Nova right there. Piccirillo, who won here twice as a high-school miler, was in tears afterward.

"We've asked her to do some very big things for us," Lipari said. "And she has. As a freshman, I handed off dead last [after running the DMR 1,200] and blew up everything. She certainly didn't do that."

Meanwhile, with respect to skipping the DMR . . .

"I think," UM coach Mike McGuire said, we made the right decision."

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