Men’s Track and Field Competes at Hurricane Invitational


Courtesy of Villanova Athletics

Michael Troup recorded a lifetime best in the long jump.

Jacob Artz, Staff Writer

At the Hurricane Alumni Invitational, graduate long jumper Michael Troup and sophomore sprinter Nicholas Mollica impressed in their respective events.

Troup recorded a personal best in the long jump on his sixth and final jump, with a measurement of 7.34 meters, finishing in sixth place. The good conditions and competition allowed Troup to execute this jump. 

“Having good conditions just allows you to take advantage of wherever your preparation is,” said associate head coach Anthony Williams, who coaches the sprinters, hurdlers and jumpers.

The East Coast presents different conditions this time of year with cooler temperatures and more wind, which could hamper strong performances despite proper preparation.

For Troup, he improved his personal best by one centimeter. His previous personal best was recorded in the indoor season more than two years ago at the FastTrack National Invitational in February 2020.

With this performance, Troup is now second on the Big East performance list and is tied for 44th on the East Region qualifying list. The top 48 athletes in each individual event qualify for the NCAA East Preliminary meet next month.

Another standout performer was Mollica. This is the third straight meet in the outdoor season that Mollica has improved his time in the 400 meter hurdles. His time of 54.03 in the race on Saturday was the second-fastest time of his collegiate career. 

Mollica has consistently led the Big East performance list in the hurdles this season since he opened the year with a 54.26 second time at the Penn Challenge last month. He lowered his time to 54.20 seconds at the Raleigh Relays the following week and lowered his time by two-thirds of a second in the meet on Saturday. 

“The more times he runs the race, I think he’s just getting a little bit better level of just comfort in doing that event,” Williams said.

As with Troup, the conditions were favorable to Mollica having a solid race. There were no obstacles to impede Mollica from running fast.

In the 400 meter dash, graduate Richard Bush finished with a time of 50.08 seconds. In his prior two outdoor meets dating back to last season, Bush ran in 48.15 seconds last April at the Virginia Challenge and 49.02 seconds at last May’s Big East Championships. 

Bush’s time was slower yesterday due to an injury that has held him out of competition since the indoor Big East Championships in late February. This was his first meet since sustaining the injury, and he is not at 100%, but he needed to get back to competition.

“He’s feeling better, and he needed an opportunity to kinda get back into action,” Williams said. “The first race is a little bit tougher because your body’s been out of it for so long.”

In the triple jump, senior Malik Cunningham posted a mark of 14.01 meters. In the last two outdoor meets for Cunningham dating back to last season, Cunningham jumped better, with marks of 14.92 meters at the Big East Championships, and 15.14 meters at the NCAA East Preliminary, both which occurred last May. 

Cunningham had two massive jumps that were wiped out by toe fouls, which were two of the best executed jumps Williams has seen from Cunningham.

“The way they had the competition set up, there was a lot of wind at their backs, and that kinda plays havoc with your run up,” Williams said. 

Next week, the men’s track and field team travels to Princeton on Friday and Saturday for the Larry Ellis Invitational. 

“We’re still building, trying to get our team ready for Penn Relays and the conference meet after that,” Williams said.

Nearly all the athletes who did not compete in Miami will be competing at Princeton this weekend, along with some of the athletes that competed in Miami as well.

The goal is to get the athletes ready for the bigger meets coming up, like the Penn Relays, and garnering NCAA regional qualifying performances.