Track starts season with a bang

Kyle Scudilla

The Villanova Wildcats men’s and women’s indoor track teams kicked off their 2004-05 season on Sunday by playing host to the Jack Pyrah Invitational at Haverford College.

The Wildcats came away with 13 event wins in all: eight by the men and five by the women.

This was the second year in a row for this meet. It has been held to honor the achievements of longtime Villanova track coach Jack Pyrah, who has been involved with the team since the 1960s. Villanova’s competition for the day included Delaware, LaSalle, Temple, Haverford, Swarthmore, Widener, Cabrini and Franklin & Marshall.

The Villanova men dominated their side of the meet. They won eight first-place finishes out of 15 events. The Wildcats’ top finishers on the day were Drew Eckman (500-meter dash), Kippy Keino (1-mile run), Mark Korich (1000 meters), Mark Pelerin (5000 meters), Paul Ohm (pole vault), Bob McDade (shot put, weight throw) and the relay team (4×400 meter relay).

Villanova’s most impressive individual events included the 500-meter dash, 1-mile run, 1000 meters and 5000 meters.

In the 500-meter dash, Eckman, Francisco Aguirre and John Wilsman finished as the top three in the event.

Also placing high in the race were freshmen Pat Gazzini and Dan Doherty. The 1000-meters competition saw Villanova take six of the top seven finishing spots. Korich, Kyle Audi, Sam Carella and Terence Byrnes finished as the top four, while Tim Murphy and Matt Spence were in the mix at sixth and seventh, respectively.

Likewise, in the 5000-meters, Pelerin, Mike Kerrigan, David VanOrsdel, and Craig Segal made up the top four finishes. Nick Burkey (2nd, 55-meter hurdles), Dave Wilks (2nd, pole vault), Tim Murphy (4th, pole vault) and Matt Spence (6th, pole vault) were also a part of the men’s numerous successes for the day.

Meanwhile, on the women’s side, the ‘Cats came away with five first-place finishes. Tiera Fletcher (300 meters), Holly Cosnett (1000 meters), Mariana Muncan (3000 meters), Tiana Riel (long jump) and the relay team (4×400 meter relay) each captured first place wins for Villanova.

Muncan’s time of 9:08.44 was good enough to automatically qualify for the NCAA Tournament. It was also the second-fastest time posted in the history of Villanova University.

Other impressive finishes of the day came from Akilah Vargas, Arusha McKenzie and Casey Nelson, who finished second, third, and fourth, respectively in the 1000 meters. Nia Cooper (2nd, triple jump), Kourtney Marquis (2nd, pole vault) and Erin Swerzbin (3rd, pole vault) also added to Villanova’s highly successful showing at the event.

The teams will head to action next at New York University for the NYU Meet on Jan. 15.