Track: Tully, Vargas post top finishes at track invitational

Jonathan Hofmann

The track teams were highly successful this past Saturday at the Alex Wilson Invitational Meet at the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Ind. This was an important meet for the team as selections for the NCAA championship meet were announced on Monday.

Junior Sean Tully finished third out of 12 runners in the men’s 800-meter event with a time of 1:49.39. Coming in behind him was senior Mark Korich at 1:49.97, good enough for fourth place. Freshman Jason Apwah finished in sixth place with a time of 1:50.05. These are the best times for each runner this season and the first time this year they have registered an NCAA provisional time in the 800-meter event.

The team has been having a strong year with Tully, Korich and Apwah leading the pack.

“As far as the team, we are having one of our best years to date,” Korich said. “We have two individual qualifiers for the NCAA championships, in addition to a relay going in with the fifth-fastest time in the country.”

Tully and Apwah were able to place third and fourth, respectively, at last month’s Big East meet.

Apwah was excited to even place at the Alex Wilson Invitational.

“Finishing sixth at the Alex Wilson Invitational was sort of a surprise for me,” he said. “Coming into it, I knew the meet was known for having quality races. I was actually sick for the entire week before the race with sinus problems, coughing and a runny nose.”

The season is far from over for the Wildcats, who are due to host the Big East Championship in May. The success at this weekend’s meet should be a good indicator of what is to come for the team this season.

The women posted several standout performances as well. Senior Akilah Vargas contined to improve on her successful season. Vargas shaved more than five seconds off of her NCAA provisional qualifying time in the mile race, putting up a time of 4:40.90 and finishing fifth out of a field of 29 competitors. Her time is just 0.9 seconds over the NCAA automatic time, giving Vargas a great chance of being selected to compete in the championship meet.

While Villanova’s top women’s finish on the day came from one of their most senior members, they had a second success in the mile competition from one of their youngest. Freshman Alison Smith finished 23rd in the mile with a time of 4:58.84. — J.H.