Villanova Leads Both Standings After Day 1 of Big East Championships

Kelly Montesi; Photo Courtesy: Villanova Athletics

Villanova is on top of both the men’s and women’s competition after Day 1 of the Big East Championships, which featured a thrilling relay tie.

On the women’s side, Villanova has 77 points to Xavier’s 69 after the two first-day relays on Wednesday night. For the men, Villanova has 102 points with Providence second in 77, with 3-meter diving factored in.

Big East Championships Team Scores


  1. Villanova 102
  2. Providence 77
  3. Xavier 74
  4. Seton Hall 40
  5. Connecticut 17


  • Villanova 77
  • Xavier 69
  • Connecticut 66
  • Seton Hall 60
  • Providence 56
  • Butler 52

The session started with a relay tie in the women’s 200 medley, Villanova and Xavier rallying on the final leg to overcome UConn and tie for the title. Both squads – Millicent Routledge, Rayann Jaryszak, Kelly Montesi and Perri Stahl of Villanova; Brooke Atkins, Lydia Schaeffer, Lorelei Gertner and Kali Fischer of Xavier – clocked in at 1:41.74. Fischer was the star of the anchor leg, with a split of 22.53 seconds to run down UConn, which the Musketeers trailed by .62 seconds at the 150-yard mark. The Huskies settled for third in 1:41.95.

Villanova was considerably more emphatic in the 800 free relay, winning by more than three seconds in 7:19.35, though it took until the final leg for that edge to materialize. Routledge, Abbey Berloco, Nicole Welch and Montesi comprised the foursome for the Wildcats, which didn’t take the lead until Montesi delivered a 1:46.35 off the end to take the Wildcats from third to first. They were fourth after the first leg.

Through three legs, it appeared to be a battle between UConn and Xavier. Fischer took the Musketeers out first in 1:49.92. UConn took the lead at the 600-yard wall thanks to consecutive sub-1:50 splits by Niamh Hofland and Melissa Lowry. The Huskies took second in 7:22.40 with Xavier third.

On the men’s side, Seton Hall won the 200 medley relay, taking a run at Louisville’s 12-year-old conference record. They fell a half-second shy of that, but the foursome of Ross Pantano, Thomas Staes, Liam Cosgrove and Thomas Minar won in 1:29.39, .05 ahead of Xavier. Christian Thomas closed quickly for the Musketeers in 19.91, but it wasn’t enough, the squad of Alexander Sironen, Davis Klein, Roark Lundal and Thomas taking silver. Villanova was third in 1:30.76.

Xavier prevailed in the 800 free relay, with Andrew Martin blowing the field away on the anchor leg with a 1:37.30 to rally from second to a decisive first by 1.5 seconds. Benjamin Quon, Jonathan Bernard, Ethan Wing and Martin clocked in at 6:39.64. Second was Villanova (Reid Hutcherson, Kevin Geist, Charlie Hinckley, Jake McIntyre) in 6:41.08. Seton Hall was disqualified, a blow to the Pirates’ point total.

Villanova finds itself on top thanks to big diving points. Michael Ackert won the 3-meter event unchallenged, with a score of 604.85 points. Teammate Noah Clipman was third, with UConn’s Justin Corres sandwiched in between. Only four divers competed.