Outdoor season starts off on the right foot

Brett Crygalis

The Villanova track and field team made the hike to North Carolina State University in Raleigh, N.C. for the first meet of the outdoor season on March 25 – 26. In a promising opening to the season, many heartfelt performances were put forth by a team filled with gutsy athletes.

On the men’s side, Drew Eckman carried over his phenomenal performance from the indoor season. During the indoor season, Eckman put on quite a show at the Big East Championship, where he finished second in the 500-meter dash, as well as helped the 4 x 400-meter relay team take the victory. At the Raleigh Relays two weeks ago, he finished second in the 400-meter dash with a time of 47:56, only missing first place by .27 seconds. Eckman is expected to continue to lead the men’s team to success in the outdoor season.

The other exceptional performance for the men’s team came from Robert McDade. Competing in numerous field events, McDade finished most successfully in the discus with a toss of 169-01 (51.55-meter).

He also finished seventh in the hammer throw with a toss of 169-00 (51.51-meter) and tenth in the shot put with a toss of 49-01 (14.98-meter). Both McDade and Eckman are juniors this year and they both are expected to continue to lead the men’s team next year.

Other notable individual performances from the men’s side were from sophomores John Wilsman, who came in fourth in the 400-meter dash with a time of 48.08, and Kevin Okolie, who came in seventh in the 100-meter dash with a time of 10.93.

On the women’s team, Ioana Parushneva had an outstanding performance, breaking a three-year-old Raleigh Relays record in the 3,000-meter steeplechase with the time of 10:15.31. She shattered the record formerly held by Dawn Cleary of Virginia by a full 3.56 seconds.

Other great performances from the women’s team came from Monique Morgan, who placed third in the 100-meter dash, Tiera Fletcher, who placed seventh in the 400-meter and Akilah Vargas, who placed fourth in the 1500-meter. Along with these great individual efforts, the women’s 4 x 400-meter team and 4 x 800-meter teams both finished in second place in their respective events as well.