Track begins season at Widener with much success

Andrew Gordon

The men’s and women’s track and field teams opened the outdoor season this past Saturday against competitors from schools in the Philadelphia area and the east coast at the Danny Curran Invitational, hosted by Widener University.

The Wildcat women’s squad kicked off the outdoor season in a similar fashion as they ended the indoor season, dominating in numerous events on a sunny afternoon in Chester, Pa. The sprinters were in top shape, winning the 100-meter, 200-meter, 400-meter and 400-meter hurdles. Junior Mary Kate Phelan won the 100-meter race in 12.46 seconds, with freshman Ashley Dunbar coming in fifth place with a time of 12.73.

The ‘Cats showed great depth in the 200-meter dash as sophomore Jessona McDonald finished first in 25.39 and freshman Christie Verdier crossed the line next in 25.46. Junior Makalia Griffith, along with Phelan and Dunbar, finished fifth, sixth and seventh, respectively.

In the women’s 400-meter race, Villanova took the top three spots in a determined performance by Griffith, senior Jordan Sarruda and Verdier. Griffith crossed the finish line first, clocking in at 56.43, while Sarruda and Verdier finished in 57.30 and 57.97, respectively.

Villanova’s only entrant in the women’s 400-meter hurdles managed to outperform the rest of the field as sophomore Kristen Mahon won the race in 1:02.78.

The women’s 4×100-meter relay team also had an impressive outing, with the team of Dunbar, sophomore Audrey Gariepy-Bogui, Phelan and Verdier placing second with a time of 48.31.

The women’s distance performances were reminiscent of the indoor season as Villanova’s depth was evident in both the 800- and 1500-meter races. Senior Ellen Dougherty and junior Nicole Schappert received first and second place with times of 2:11.25 and 2:11.88, respectively. The fifth, sixth and eighth spots were also filled with Wildcat runners as senior Emily McMillan, sophomore Sarah Morrison and junior Kaitlyn Tallman rounded out the Villanova entrants.

The 1500-meter run had a similar result as Schappert, Tallman, Dougherty and Morrison took the top-four spots in the race.

The women’s field events accumulated two first place finishes in the pole vault and javelin throw. Melissa Meggiolaro won the pole vault and was backed up by sophomores Ashlyn Llerandi and Kelly Hannan, who placed second and fourth, respectively. The javelin throw was won by freshman Julia Arduini with a measurement of 39.38 m.

On the men’s side, the Wildcats saw a first place finish in the 400-meter hurdles. Senior Elliot Whaley finished in 54.29 with sophomore Stefan Goodridge close behind in a time of 54.40.

Senior Austin Casey placed second in the 100-meter dash, clocking in at 11.13.

Fellow senior Bryan Harris also placed second, in the pole vault, with a height of 4.25 m.

Some members of the Villanova track and field teams will travel to Gainesville, Fla., this weekend to compete in the Florida Relays. Other members will be in Philadelphia at the Penn Invitational on Saturday.