Villanova freshman Pierce named MVP at Big East Championships

Sydney Pierce continued his terrific true freshman season at Villanova with a double sprint win at the Big East Championships in Ohio and was named the meet’s Outstanding Track Performer.

Pierce, a spring graduate of Rancocas Valley, won the 100 in 10.64 and the 200 in 21.57, although he wasn’t the top qualifier in either race coming out of the trials.

Pierce ran 10.87 in his 100 trial, which won the second semifinal but was well off the 10.73 that sophomore Zachary Polk of Xavier ran in the first semi.

But in the final, Pierce out-ran Polk (10.68), Marquette freshman Connor Boos (10.69) and Marquette junior Brandon Bell (10.73), who all finished within 1-10th of a second.

In the 200, Pierce ran 21.72 in the first semi but Boos ran 21.70 in the second. But Pierce again topped the field in the final, leading three runners under 21.80. DePaul soph Sebas Feyersinger was second in 10.65 and Polk third in 21.77.

The meet was held at the SPIRE Institute in Geneva, Ohio.

Pierce is the second Villanova sprinter in history to win the 100-200 sprint double at Big East. Salaam Gariba swept the sprints in 1991. Pierce is now a three-time Big East champ. He won the 55 at the indoor meet.

Pierce is Villanova’s first Outstanding Track Performer since Elves Lewis in 2007, and he’s the first Big East Outstanding Track Performer ever from South Jersey, although there have been two Most Outstanding Field Performers from South Jersey — Ray Wilks of Bridgeton for U. Conn in 1996, 1998 and 1999 and Egg Harbor’s James Plummer in 2013.

He’s also Villanova’s first double individual winner at outdoor Big East in 10 years and only the sixth in Wildcat history.

  • 1981 … Brian Dalitri, shot (55-9 3/4), disc (158-5)
  • 1989 … Mark Rainey, 400 (46.97), long jump (24-5)
  • 1990 … Mark Rainey, 400 (47.40), long jump (25-7 1/2)
  • 1991 … Salaam Gariba, 100 (10.42), 200 (20.96)
  • 1997 … Stephen Howard, 1,500 (3:52.31), 5,000 (14:21.25)
  • 2006 … Robert McCade, shot (56-3 1/4), disc (187-8)
  • 2010 … Sterling Pierce, 100 (10.64), 200 (21.57)

Gariba, who won the 100 in 1989 and 1991, and Pierce are the only 100 winers in Villanova history. Carlton Young (1982), Gariba (1991), Carlos Bedoya (2003) and Pierce are the Wildcats’ all-time 200 winners.

Pierce’s previous 100 PR was 10.78 from the Colonial Relays at William and Mary in Williamsburg, Va., back in March. His 200 PR remains 21.34, also from the Colonial Relays.

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