T&F: Okolie, Tillman pace Wildcats at Delaware Invitational meet

John Whalon

The track and field teams traveled to Newark, Del., last weekend for their third competition of the indoor season. The ‘Cats fared well in their last meet in New York City, and they continued to perform well in the Delaware Invitational. Although both the men’s and women’s teams finished in third place out of five teams, Villanova had some stand-out performances from a few of the competitors.

For the men’s team, junior sprinter Kevin Okolie set a new personal record for the 60-meter dash with a time of 6.91 seconds. Okolie finished in first place out of 20 runners, and his time was under the Big East qualifying mark of 7.06. Senior field competitor Robert McDade won both the shot put and the weight throw. With a distance of 17.17 meters in the shot put, McDade, like teammate Okolie, hit the Big East qualifying mark.

Other event wins came in the 1000-meter run, the 3000-meter run and the mile run. Freshman Kevin Sives edged out La Salle runner Korey Edwards by .17 seconds to win the 1,000-meter run for the ‘Cats. Fellow freshman Rudy Belko and junior Geoffrey Doody won the mile run and the 3,000-meter run respectively.

The women’s team performed well in the middle distance events with victories in the 1,000-meter run and the 800-meter run. Kaitlyn Tallman, Emily McMillan and Jillian Baczewski finished first, second and third respectively in the 1,000-meter run.

Freshman Laura O’Sullivan won the 800-meter run, and senior Bridget Akard won the mile run. In field events, junior Abby Smith won the weight throw and Kourtney Marquis won the pole vault.

This weekend, the teams traveled to Penn State for the National Open. This meet was significantly larger than the Delaware Invitational and more intense.

Villanova won three events, two from the women’s team and one from the men’s team. Junior distance runner Frances Koons won the mile run, and she also helped Akilah Vargas, Tiera Flecther and Arusha McKenzie win the distance medley. The men’s victory came from McDade, who placed first in the shot put.

Other notable top finishes came from Drew Eckman, who placed second in the men’s 800-meter run. McDade also placed fifth in the weight throw. Monique Morgan placed fifth in the women’s 60-meter hurdles. In the 1,000-meter run, Sean Tully and Mark Korich finished third and fourth, respectively.

John Morse, Elvis Lewis, Eckman and Elliot Whaley placed fifth for the men’s 4×400-meter relay.