Villanova falls just short on second day of Penn Relays

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Villanova falls just short on second day of Penn Relays

Both the men’s and women’s distance runners from Villanova ran good races Friday at the Penn Relays.

Just not quite good enough to win.

One day after capturing its second straight distance medley relay title, the ’Nova women placed third in the women’s 4x1500 Championship of America relay, just behind first-place Michigan and second-place Oregon.

And the ’Nova men came in second place in Friday’s distance medley relay championship, falling to a Penn State squad that claimed its first DMR title since 1959.

“I’m happy for them,” Villanova men’s track coach Marcus O’Sullivan said of his runners. “And I’m disappointed for them.”

In its first big race of the 119th Penn Relays at Franklin Field, the Villanova men certainly lived up to its billing as one of the nation’s premier track programs.

Sam McEntee ran the 1200 in 2:53.0 to kick things off for the ’Cats. He was followed by Sam Ellison (who ran the 400 in 46.0 seconds), Chris FitzSimons (who ran the 800 in 1:49.4) and Jordan Williamsz (who anchored the mile in 3:58.4).

Meanwhile, La Salle’s team of Nick Crits, Wayne Bartholomew, Paul Reilly and Alfredo Santana placed a very respectable sixth. Interestingly enough, both Ellison and Reilly were teammates at nearby Upper Dublin High School, along with Mike Palmasino, who ran the leadoff leg for defending champion Princeton. Palmasino’s Tigers, however, stumbled to a ninth-place finish.

The biggest local story, though, was Villanova. And after failing to win the first of the three distance relays its entered in this weekend, the Wildcats will now focus on the other two -- Saturday’s 4xmile and 4x800.

“You walk past 20, 30 [Penn Relays] wheels every time you go in the locker room before every run,” McEntee said. “Marcus makes note of it. We have so many guys who have run here and won here. It’s such a rich history. Villanova is the school at Penn Relays.”

The same could be said for the ’Nova women, who already showed how potent they are with Friday’s DMR championship.

In the 4x1500, the Wildcats stayed right with powerhouses Michigan and Oregon for most of the race but found themselves trailing by at least 20 meters when anchor Emily Lipari took the baton.

Lipari ran the best anchor leg at 4:17.5 but it was not enough to close the deficit as Villanova placed third with a time of 17:17.57. Stephanie Schappert ran the leadoff leg in 4:22.9, Nicky Akande the second leg in 4:18, and Angel Piccirillo the third leg in 4:19.1.

“I have faith in my finish,” Lipari said. “My only goal was to catch up to them and worry about the finish later. Unfortunately, they started to bang into second gear and I just couldn’t give any more than I was already giving. It’s frustrating because I keep replaying the race in my head. I know I could do it. But I’m going to take this one and learn from it and apply it to tomorrow.”

On Saturday, the ’Nova women will close out its distance relay events with a spot in the 4x800. Most other teams don’t compete in that many relays, and that was perhaps one reason why Michigan and Oregon -- both of whom didn’t participate in the women’s DMR on Thursday -- edged out the Wildcats on Friday.

But the Wildcats wouldn’t have it any other way.

“We’re Villanova,” Schappert said. “We run as many races as we can.”

Praise for the Penn Relays
Just in case you needed any reminders just how respected the Penn Relays are, a couple of the world’s premier runners provided a couple.

In a press conference to preview Saturday’s highly anticipated USA vs. the World relays, England’s Christine Ohuruogo noted that “the atmosphere we have at Penn is like nothing I ever experienced, not even in London.” And American star Allyson Felix added that “there’s really no environment like this.”

Keep in mind, Ohuruogo and Felix are both past Olympic medalists.

Felix, who won three gold medals at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, will likely run in both the 4x100 and 4x400 USA vs. the World relays on Saturday.

And another Olympic gold medalist, Jamaica’s Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, hopes to slow her down.

“USA has been dominating the event for so long,” Fraser-Pryce said. “We just want to come at least one year and do something great. So maybe this year is the time.”

The USA vs. the World races will be televised live on NBC from 1-3 p.m.

Strong showing for Penn freshman
Sam Mattis knows a thing or two about the Penn Relays, having already captured three high school discus titles here.

It shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise, then, that the Penn freshman put in a strong showing in his first collegiate Penn Relays, placing fourth in the discus championship with a throw of 187 feet, 4 inches.

James Plummer of Rutgers won the event at 194-3.

High school fun
One of the loudest cheers of the day came in the high school girls 4x800 Championship of America when Columbia (Maplewood, N.J.) came from way behind in the final lap to overtake Jamaica’s Edwin Allen High and draw “U-S-A” chants from the Franklin Field crowd.

Of local interest in that race, Great Valley, Pennsbury and Garnet Valley placed fifth through seventh.

Temple PG Josh Brown suffers Achilles injury; surgery set for Wednesday

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Temple PG Josh Brown suffers Achilles injury; surgery set for Wednesday

The start of college basketball season is months away, but head coach Fran Dunphy's Temple team may have already suffered a huge blow.

Senior point guard Josh Brown suffered a left Achilles tendon injury last week and will undergo surgery on Wednesday. The timetable for Brown's recovery is unknown at this time.

OwlScoop.com first reported the news.

Last year's leading scorer and floor general Quenton DeCosey and big man Jaylen Bond have both graduated, so Brown was expected to take on much more of a leadership role on an evolving Owls team this coming season. Brown and guard/forward Daniel Dingle are the only seniors who were expected to steadily see significant playing time next season. Junior forward Obi Enechionyia is the only other veteran who would fit that category.

But now those plans could be out the window with Brown's sudden injury.

The injury to Brown also could potentially leave Temple without its two most dangerous guards for a significant period of time as sophomore Trey Lowe is still recovering from injuries suffered in a single-car accident in New Jersey in March. There is still no indication as to when Lowe could be ready to return to the court.

The potential absences of Brown and Lowe could lead to more significant roles for sophomore Shawn Alston, Jr. (2.3 points per game in 10.8 minutes of action a night last season) and incoming freshman and three-star recruit Alani Moore.

Brown, a 6-foot-3 Newark, New Jersey native, played in all 33 games for the Owls last season and averaged 8.3 points, 4.9 assists and 4.8 rebounds per game in 36.2 minutes per night, the highest average playing time of any player in the American Athletic Conference. His 3.50 assist-to-turnover ratio was best in the AAC and tied for eighth in the entire country.

Brown's signature moment last season came when he hit a game-winning floater in the dying seconds that enabled Temple to pull off an upset at No. 23 Connecticut in January. He also led the Owls with 16 points in their heartbreaking overtime loss to Iowa in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.

News groups seek to unseal records in Penn State's Jerry Sandusky case

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AP

News groups seek to unseal records in Penn State's Jerry Sandusky case

HARRISBURG, Pa. -- Two news organizations asked a Pennsylvania judge on Tuesday to unseal records in the pending criminal case against three former Penn State administrators over their handling of complaints about Jerry Sandusky, who was convicted of child sexual abuse.

The Associated Press and The Legal Intelligencer on Tuesday asked Dauphin County Judge Richard Lewis to make public filings in the case against the university's former President Graham Spanier, former Vice President Gary Schultz and former Athletic Director Tim Curley.

The motion says dozens of unidentified documents have been sealed in violation of the public's right to access information from the courts. The docket lists dozens of "sealed entries" and provides no information about their contents.

"Although certain grand jury material is, under normal circumstances, properly maintained under seal, if information is in the `public realm' or does not `implicate the secrecy of the grand jury,' it should not be sealed, as the Pennsylvania Supreme Court has instructed," wrote Gayle Sproul, lawyer for the AP and ALM Media LLC, publisher of the country's oldest daily legal newspaper.

She said the volume of sealed documents suggests they "sweep far beyond the narrow category of protected `matters occurring before the grand jury.'"

Schultz's lawyer declined comment, while messages weren't immediately returned by lawyers representing Curley and Spanier. A spokesman said the attorney general's office has "some reservations about the mass release" of information from the case.

The three men await trial on charges of failure to report suspected abuse and child endangerment. Curley and Schultz were first charged at the same time as Sandusky in November 2011; charges against Spanier were added a year later.

Superior Court earlier this year threw out many of the more serious charges against the men, based on a determination that the role played during grand jury proceedings by Penn State's then-general counsel, Cynthia Baldwin, violated attorney-client privilege. The Superior Court file also is sealed.

Sandusky continues to pursue appeals after being convicted in 2012 of 45 counts of child sexual abuse. He spent decades as the defensive coach under Joe Paterno before his retirement in 1999.

Judge grants time for victim claims in Paterno-NCAA lawsuit

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Judge grants time for victim claims in Paterno-NCAA lawsuit

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. -- Lawyers for Joe Paterno's relatives and the NCAA can have more time to look into newly disclosed allegations about claims of abuse against the late Penn State football coach's former assistant Jerry Sandusky, a judge said Monday.

Judge John Leete is presiding over a lawsuit by the Paterno family against the NCAA. He gave the parties 45 days to explore claims that a boy told Paterno in 1976 he was molested by Sandusky, and that two coaches witnessed Sandusky abusing children in the late 1980s. The information was made public this month when a Philadelphia judge ruled in a lawsuit by Penn State over insurance coverage for Sandusky-related claims.

Penn State's lawyers "will, as appropriate, approach victims in the Sandusky matter to ascertain their willingness to take part in voluntary discovery," Leete wrote after a Monday conference in the case. "The court will take all necessary steps to protect the confidentiality and anonymity of any such persons."

Paterno's relatives have rebutted the 1976 accusation, and an attorney for some Sandusky victims has said it is not irrefutably supported. Also, prosecutors have called the 1980s claims unreliable.

The claims were briefly described in a May 4 order by Philadelphia Judge Gary Glazer, but there were few details. The Associated Press and three other news organizations filed a request last week seeking to unseal related court records.

The Paternos say the NCAA's use of a Penn State-commissioned report damaged their commercial interests. Two former Penn State coaches, Jay Paterno and Bill Kenney, are also suing the NCAA, saying the report made it impossible for them to find comparable jobs.

Leete's order said he may adjust a timetable he laid out in March that established deadlines in the case through mid-October.

Messages seeking comment from lawyers for the NCAA and the Paterno family were not immediately returned.

Paterno died in 2012, two months after state prosecutors first charged Sandusky with child molestation.

Sandusky was convicted later that year of 45 counts of child sexual abuse and is serving a 30- to 60-year state prison sentence. He has maintained his innocence. A hearing in his ongoing appeals is scheduled for Friday at the courthouse near State College.