Villanova Women Celebrate 2009 National Cross Country Championship
Villanova University honored its 2009 NCAA National Championship Womens Cross Country Team March 29, 2010 at the Villanova Conference Center. Athletic Director Vince Nicastro remarked on the outstanding efforts of the athletes and coaches to earn the National Championship-- the teams first since 1998. Nicastro also mentioned that many of the runners from that team and other Villanova teams, supporters and family members were in attendance. The President of Villanova, the Rev Peter Donohue O.S.A., has been a big supporture of the Villanova Track and Field and Cross Country program (The program is directed by Irish Olympian and Mile Great Coach Marcus O'Sullivan).
Rev Peter Donohue (pictured at left) addressed the team and those in attendance and thanked all those who made the victory possible. He also noted that the Women's Cross Country team are the definition of true student athletes and were named the Division I Cross Country Scholar Team of the year (with a cumulative team GPA of 3.38). He also noted the team was honored with a Congressional Resolution for their victory.
Marcus O'Sullivan remarked on the great job the team and Women's Coach Gina Procaccio(pictured at right) had done all season to build the program and to bring back the National Championship. Marcus also mentioned how much fun he, the tmens and womens teams and the Villanova staff had every day, along with doing the hard work necessary to become a champion.
After a video presentation of the season, Women's Head Coach Gina Procaccio gave moving remarks about the obstacles the team faced during the season, the contribution of every runner on the team, the great support they received at Villanova from Rev Peter Donohue, Marcus O'Sullivan, her assistant coaches including Meghan Courtney and the other staff member, trainers etc at Villanova to keep everyone healthy. Coach Procaccio also mentioned that the team was never ranked #1 all season (Washington) going into the meet despite consistently outstanding team performances in winning the Big East Championship, NCAA Regional Championships and of course the NCAA National Championships in Terre Haute, Indiana.
In the NCAA Chamiphship victory junior Amanda Marino finished 6th, junior Sheila Reid finished 13th, Soph Bogdana Mimic finished 22nd, Junior Ali Smith finished 24th, senior Nicloe Schappert finished 26th-- (all were NCAA Cross Country All-Americans). Frosh Brooke Simpson finished 60th, and Senior Kaitlin Tallman finished 98th in the enormous field. Coach Procaccio was named 2009 NCAA Division I Coach of the Year by the US Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association. Other members of the Cross Country Team included Meredith Altenhofen, Shannon Browne, Anne Francis, Meagahn Higgins,Calie Hogan, Katherine LaCosa, Sarah Morrison, Ariann Neutts, Kristen O'Down Kaitlin O'Sullivan, Theresa Rush and Meghan Smith. (Note: LaCosa and Rush are the only seniors).
Villanova Track and Cross Country All American Frances Koons (pictured at right with mother Lisa), a Graduate Assistant for the Cross Country team, and a former Mid Atlantic Cross Country Runner of the Year and Big East Track Runner of the year gave the Benediction for the team.