Women’s Track and Field Competes in Florida, Philly


Courtesy of Villanova Athletics

McKenna Keegan (above) ran the No.2 time in the nation for the 800m dash.

Catherine Browne, Staff Writer

Over the weekend, part of Villanova’s women’s track and field team traveled down south to the Florida Relays, while the rest of the team stayed closer to home to compete in the Philadelphia Big 5 Meet. 

At this point, everyone must be familiar with the name Sade Meeks, as she continues to break school records week after week. On Friday, in Florida, the graduate thrower broke her own school record in the hammer throw, with a mark of 59.38 meters. This weekend’s performance should be listed as one the top 30 throws in the East region, which serves as a determinate for the NCAA East Preliminary meet later in the season. 

“[Meeks] continues to improve every week,” head coach Gina Procaccio said. “She got her throw out there [and] that should get her into the [NCAA first round] meet. We are hoping with her projection [that] she will continue to get better every week and she definitely has a shot to be at the NCAA finals at the end of the year.” 

Junior middle distance runner Maggie Smith competed in the 1500 meters run and finished with a personal best time of 4:20.07, placing ninth out of 43 runners. Junior Anna Helwigh finished in 11th place, with a time of 4:23.47, and senior Lydia Olivere followed close behind, with a time of 4:26.03 and finishing in 14th.

“The first few meets are [meant] to go out and try to qualify for the Regional Championships which are the NCAA first round [meets],” Procaccio said. “We went down to [Florida] this weekend hoping McKenna [Keegan], [Madison Martinez] and [Maggie] Smith will get that done and everything is going according to plan.”

Graduate student Taryn Ashby competed in javelin and earned a mark of 46.76 meters, finishing in seventh place, while senior Liv Morgan threw a personal best of 45.46 meters. Morgan beat her personal best by more than 3.6 meters, which moved her up to fourth place on Villanova’s all-time performance list in the javelin event. 

To close out Friday’s competition in Gainesville, Florida, senior Ashley Preston tied for 10th place in the pole vault as she cleared the bar at a height of 3.76 meters. 

On Saturday at Florida relays, graduate runner McKenna Keegan ran in the fastest heat of the 800 meter event and earned the second-fastest time in the nation of 2:03.19. This is recorded as Keegan’s third-fastest time in this event. 

Junior Madison Martinez and freshman Maya Dorer competed in the second heat of the 800 meters. Martinez placed first, with a time of 2:05.87, and Dorer finished with a personal best time of 2:08.51. 

Graduate thrower Jul Thomson also made an appearance in Florida, where she competed in the shot put event, throwing 12.44 meters. 

Back in Philadelphia, freshman middle distance runner Emily Robinson competed in the 800 meter event and finished in first place, with a personal best time of 2:14.83. Sophomore Kate Flynn competed alongside Robinson and finished fourth, with a personal best time of 2:25.83. 

Freshman thrower Faith Haught threw a personal best mark in the discus for the second straight competition, this weekend throwing a distance of 42.63 meters. She is currently ranked seventh on Villanova’s all-time performance list for the discus event. Additionally, she threw a mark of 33.20 meters in the hammer throw on Saturday as her first attempt in the event. Senior Emily Galvin placed second in the hammer throw with a mark of 52.09 meters. 

Junior Alexis Martin competed in both the 100 meters and the 200 meters event. In the 100 meters, she crossed the finish line with a time of 12.47, and she finished the 200 meters with a time of 25.69. Freshman Alex Stasichin ran the 400 meter event in 58.90. 

Sophomore Marcella Krautzel represented the Wildcats in the 1500 meter event and recorded a personal best time of 5:00.91. 

Villanova competed in the 4×400 meter relay to close out the day where it placed second, with a time of 4:05.71. 

Freshman Taylor Woodeshick cleared the bar at a height of 1.60 meters in the high jump. Similarly, sophomore multi-event athlete Caroline Carlson also competed in the high jump and had a successful attempt, setting the bar at 1.50 meters. 

This weekend, the first-year Wildcats really stepped up and proved their athletic abilities. 

“This class is a very good group,” Procaccio said. “They are pretty close, really support each other and they work hard.” 

Procaccio is very excited for the future of the team with this young talent. 

The Wildcats will travel to Coral Gables, Florida to compete in the Hurricane Alumni Invitational on Friday and Saturday.