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Dave Zeitlin | The Associated Press | April 24, 2014

Villanova wins Penn Relays medley

Emily Lipari Emily Lipari helped Villanova win the distance medley relay Thursday at the Penn Relays.

PHILADELPHIA -- Emily Lipari led Villanova to its third consecutive Penn Relays women's distance medley relay championship Thursday, catching Stanford's Aisling Cuffe on the anchor leg.

Villanova won in 10 minutes, 57.35 seconds -- 0.29 seconds ahead of Stanford at Franklin Field.

After crossing the finish line, Lipari jumped into the waiting arms of teammates Stephanie Schappert, Michaela Wilkins and Nicky Akande. Schappert ran the opening 1,200-meter leg in 3:25, Wilkins followed with a 54.40 in the 400 and Akande ran the 800 in 2:04.51 to pass the baton to Lipari in fourth place. Lipari quickly passed Georgetown's Rachel Schneider and Oregon's Laura Roesler, before waiting until the last possible moment to get by Cuffe, running the mile in 4:33.44.

"I was pretty relaxed going into that last 400 meters," Lipari said. "Sometimes, I mistakenly fall asleep. But we were really hungry. The girls that ran before me were out there being really tough. For me not to give that same toughness would have been such a shame."

Villanova coach Gina Procaccio was confident that Lipari would pull ahead.

"I didn't think she would lose to Aisling Cuffe," Procaccio said. "They were high school rivals and Emily did the same thing to her in the high school 3,000 a few years back. I know Emily has the kick no matter who she's against. (Cuffe) opened up a little bit, but I was still pretty confident Emily would run her down."

Georgetown was third in 11:06.14, followed by Dartmouth (11:06.31) and Oregon (11:06.89).

Villanova won the event for the 13th time and pulled off its first threepeat since winning five straight from 1987 to 1991.

"I always tell them this is our turf," Procaccio said. "I don't care what anyone's done. It's our turf. And they know how to win at Penn."

In other events, North Carolina State's Tremanisha Taylor successfully defended her college shot put title with a mark of 57 feet, 9 inches -- the ninth-best effort in Penn Relays history.

N.C. State's Alexis Perry won the women's long jump at 20-9\\.

Princeton's Julia Ratcliffe won the women's hammer throw at 216-2, and Arkansas' Sandi Morris took the women's pole vault title at 14-5\\ -- the second-best height in meet history.

The meet continues Friday and Saturday with a full slate of high school and college events, as well as six "USA vs. The World" relays Saturday. Among the runners set to compete for Team USA are Olympic medalists Justin Gatlin, Leo Manzano, Walter Dix, DeeDee Trotter and Francena McCorory.

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