Seven Athletes Set Personal Bests for Women’s Track


Courtesy of @villanovaxctf

Emily Galvin (above) set a new personal best in the weight throw on Friday.

Catherine Browne, Staff Writer

Over the weekend, Villanova women’s track and field was represented at two separate competitions, the Columbia Challenge in New York and the Doc Hale Virginia Tech Elite Meet, and seven athletes recorded new personal bests in the meets. 

Three Wildcats made an appearance in Virginia: graduates Sade Meeks and Jul Thomson and sophomore Emily Galvin.

At the close of the first day in Virginia, Galvin finished in fifth place in the weight throw competition with a new personal best of 16.38 meters. This new high score beats her previously set personal best from two weeks ago at the Villanova Invitational, where she recorded a distance of 16.15 meters, which she matched in her first throw on day one. This throw also moved her to join teammates Meeks and Thomson in the top five performers in school history for the weight throw. Meeks is ranked at number one with a throw of 20.88 meters, and Thomson is ranked third with 16.55 meters. 

On Saturday, Meeks broke the school record in the shot put event, with a throw of 15.50 meters. On her first flight, Meeks became the first Wildcat to surpass 15 meters, with a throw of 15.21 meters. The original record was set last year by Grayce French, with a throw of 14.95 meters. Meeks advanced to the finals with three more throws, shattering the school record and bringing her up to seventh place on the Big East performance list for this season. 

“It’s just exciting for us, and I am sure for her [as well],” head coach Gina Procaccio said of Meeks’ success. “Just to continually improve and throw a personal best every week.” 

Thomson was ranked fifth in her flight and 15th overall in shot put, with a throw of 13.48 meters, a new personal best. The experience of Thomson and Meeks as fifth year athletes has been crucial in their success this season. 

“Kids that we are going to keep around for a fifth year, they usually are kids with great leadership skills,” Procaccio said. “They can really help the younger kids and set the tone.”

At the Columbia Challenge, the Wildcats placed 14th after the first day of competing and came in 11th after the second. Junior Jane Livingston ranked fourth in the final of the 60 meter hurdles, with a time of 8.36 seconds, after placing second in her preliminary heat, with a time of 8.35. She has now finished first in five out of the six races she has competed in thus far. 

Seniors Liv Morgan and Trinity Hart also made an appearance in New York, where Morgan raced a time of 8.33 in the unseeded section, and Hart had a time of 7.94 in preliminaries of the seeded section of the 60 meter race. 

Both seniors also competed in the long jump, where Hart placed 15th out of 47 athletes, with a distance of 5.66 meters, while Morgan recorded a distance of 5.13 meters. Hart’s performance on Saturday is an indoor competition personal record, just missing her overall best of 5.69 from her outdoor performance in 2021. 

Senior Lydia Olivere and freshman Sadie Sigfstead both competed in the 3000 meter race for the Wildcats, placing fifth and sixth, respectively, out of 44 competitors. Both runners recorded personal bests, as Olivere raced with a time of 9:22.65, beating her previous record by 11 seconds. Sigfstead shattered her best by 20 seconds, with a time of 9:24.94. 

“[Sadie’s performance] was really impressive because she’s from Canada and she really hasn’t raced in over two years,” Procaccio said. “Her training indicated that she could do that, so it was good to see her get into a race where she can make that happen.” 

Junior Anna Helwigh competed in the top heat for the mile, where she placed sixth out of 48 competitors, with a time of 4:46.90, beating her personal best of 4:48.33 from a year ago. 

Freshmen Alex Stasichin and Emily Robinson and junior Nikki Merrill competed in the 800 meter race, where Stasichin earned a time of 2:13.59, Robinson behind her at 2:16.26 and Merrill close behind, with a time of 2:16.53. 

The team will travel to three different meets this weekend in Seattle, Nashville and New York as it finishes out the regular season and prepares for the Big East Championships at the end of this month.

“[These races are] all just preparing for the conference meet,” Procaccio said. “[They put] you into a good scoring position for the BIG EAST Championships and another opportunity to compete.”