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2011 Big East Championships

 

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With a solid blanket of frost on the ground, E.P. “Tom” Sawyer State Park in Louisville, KY played host to the 2011 edition of the Big East Cross Country Championships. In recent years the park has garnered a ton of steam and credentials as prime real estate to host some of the biggest, most elite cross country meets in the country. In fact, 50 weeks prior at the same location that solid blanket of frost was a solid blanket of snow, paraded on by the NCAA Division II National Championship competitors. Add to the resume numerous Southeast Region Championships (DI), Great Lakes Valley Championships (DII), NAIA Championships, the Greater Louisville Classic (largest cross country meet in the South, college/hs), and the Trinity Invitational (hs). On deck, the 2011 edition of Pre-Nationals and the NCAA Division I National Championship, making a rare departure from LaVerne Gibson in Terre Haute, IN. This place is no stranger to fast times and elite competition.

The Big East credentials in cross country have quietly slipped underneath all the jibber-jabber of the football-driven conference realignment lately, but these teams are here to make a big impression. While Villanova has earned the title as “cream of the crop” over the years winning 9 NCAA team titles on the women’s side, recent strength up front has spread the conference power of titles amongst 6 different women’s teams -- Georgetown, Notre Dame, Providence, Villanova, West Virginia, and Boston College* -- and 6 different men’s teams – Georgetown, Louisville, Notre Dame, Providence, Syracuse, and Villanova.

With this in mind, Matt and Kevin decided to have a “Driving the Sport” projection contest as we set up our merchandise around Dash on this quickly warming morning. Being cross country junkies ourselves, we thought we’d pit our knowledge against each other, inviting an unbiased “celebrity shot” in to the process, too. At 11:00 AM (as the gun was fired for the men’s 8k) our projections came as follows:

Kevin:

1. Providence

2. Villanova

3. Georgetown

23:44 Winning time

Matt:

1. Villanova

2. Providence

3. Louisville

23:32 Winning time

Celebrity Shot:

1. Villanova

2. Louisville

3. Providence

No guess ventured

ACTUAL:

1. VILLANOVA

2. GEORGETOWN

3. LOUISVILLE

23:17 Winning time

In a tightly contested…contest…we’re giving the edge to Matt for projecting the closest winning time and the winner.  Eric Finan was flat out impressive for Cincinnati, just shy of Bobby Curtis’ CR of 23:08 set in 2008.

Knowing we had one of the greatest college runners of all-time toeing the line in the next race in Sheila Reid, we both put our eggs in the ‘Nova basket again. Results as follows:

Kevin:

1. Villanova

2. Providence

3. Notre Dame

Matt: 

1. Villanova

2. West Virginia

3. Georgetown

Celebrity Shot:

1. Providence

2. Villanova

3. UConn

ACTUAL:

1. VILLANOVA

2. PROVIDENCE

3. GEORGETOWN

Edge: Kevin. We didn’t wager a time (is the 6k obscure to anyone else?!). Celebrity shot, UConn for third? Really? On a side note, West Virginia remixed the crowd by wearing the pink “WV” on the navy singlet -- a sweet turn from the gold -- we can assume was in support of Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

In conclusion, 'NOVA FOR THE SWEEP! While some silly, silly fast times were posted today, we’re sure to expect the Big East to make up the brunt of the National Championships in a couple Mondays in Terre Haute. “Driving the Sport” will make a return trip to the ‘Ville next year, rest assured.

Next up: the exotic lands of Indianapolis for the Indy Monumental Marathon…

Posted: 10/29/2011 12:45:55 PM by Matthew Weingardt
Filed under: Big, East, Louisville, Villanova






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