Track and Field Splits Season Opener


Courtesy of Villanova Athletics

Lydia Olivere led the ‘Cats with a win in the 800m.

Owen Hewitt, Staff Writer

Villanova women’s track and field started the year off strong at the Penn 10-Team Select at Ocean Breeze in Staten Island, N.Y., coming in first out of the eight teams that participated in the meet. The men’s squad fared worse at the counterpart meet, finishing sixth out of the eight-team field, 70 points behind first-place Cornell. 

The women’s team ended with seven first-place finishes in the track portion of the day’s events. Junior Jane Livingston came in first in both the preliminary and final 60-meter hurdles, finishing in 8.48 seconds and 8.38 seconds, respectively. In the 60m sprint, senior hurdler Trinity Hart finished at the top of the standings in both the preliminary (7.88 seconds) and final (7.86). Junior Alexis Martin was also able to qualify for the 60m final race, where she ran an 8.02, which was good for fourth. 

The ‘Cats also dominated in the longer events. Graduate sprinter McKenna Keegan finished first in the 400m, with a time of 54.58 seconds. The ‘Cats were able to sweep the podium for the 800m, as senior Lydia Olivere placed first with a time of 2:15.99, junior Maggie Smith finished second, running a 2:16.25, and junior Anna Helwigh rounded out the top three with a time of 2:17.88. The Olivere and Smith tandem finished one and two again in the mile race, as they posted times of 4:43.81 and 4:44.09, respectively. The Wildcats took third in both the 3000m and 4x400m relay, as freshman Emma McGill finished the 3000 in 9:56.26, and the relay team finished the 4×400 in 3:55.23.

In the field events, the Wildcats claimed two first-place finishes, both by graduate thrower Sade Meeks. It was Meeks’ first meet as a Wildcat after transferring from Jacksonville State. Meeks broke a 20-year-old school record in the weight throw by more than a meter, winning the event with a distance of 17.98. She also claimed the top of the board in the shot put with a distance of 14.76 meters.

The combination of 14 top three finishers was good enough to put the ‘Cats at the top of the field at the end of the meet, posting a point total of 124.33, ahead of second-place Cornell by 27 points. 

In a meet that consisted of fewer events, the men’s team claimed just two first-place finishes. Junior distance runner Sean Dolan finished with a time of 1:48.11 in the 800 meters, good enough for first. Senior distance runner Charlie O’Donovan posted a third-place finish in the 800, with a time of 1:49.63. Sophomore distance runner Liam Murphy took first in the mile, with a time of 4:04.81. The team posted a point total of 40. 

The women’s team will look to carry some strong momentum forward into its next meet, while the men’s squad will look to rebound from a lackluster performance. Both teams will return to Staten Island next Saturday, Jan. 22 for the Villanova Invitational.