Men’s Cross Country Sweeps Top Five in Lehigh Invitational


Courtesy of Villanova Athletics

Josh Phillips (above) placed second at the Invitational.

James Haupt, Staff Writer

The blaring sound of the gun can only mean one thing: cross-country season is officially upon us. After a successful 2021 season, the men were back at the Lehigh Invitational and showed no signs of rust, finishing first out of 11 teams. The event only had one race which was the 6k. The Wildcats finished with a score of 15, and Temple was second, with 49.

Villanova’s Charlie O’Donovan tacked on another fantastic race to his running resumé. The senior won with a time of 18:03.5, with an average mile pace clocked in at 4:50.5 per mile. His teammates weren’t far behind, as the top five runners for Villanova all finished within less than two seconds of each other. This included veteran Josh Phillips, who finished six-tenths of a second behind O’Donovan, with a time of 18:04.1. Then came sophomore Liam Murphy, who recorded a time of 18:04.7. Senior Haftu Strintzos and sophomore Jack Jennings continued this concept as they took fourth and fifth with the same time of 18:05.1 to complete the top five sweep. 

Twelve Wildcats ran at the invitational, and the runners outside of the top five were just as exciting. Villanova had eight runners in the top 20. Coming in 12th and 13th were senior Jack Fredian, with a time of 18:14.3, and redshirt freshman Devon Comber. Comber redshirted last year, so this was his first official race with the team. He showed his great potential in this race as he recorded a time of 18:15.0. The last runner to place was sophomore Cole Walker, who finished with a time of 18:17.8, which earned him 16th place.  

The last four Wildcats in the race ran exceptionally well, demonstrating the depth of this team. Junior Sean Dolan finished in 25th place, with a time of 18:36.8. Although he didn’t score for the Wildcats, he helped Villanova finish with nine runners in the top 25, which is an impressive feat. Sean Donoghue, another redshirt freshman, and junior Mathias Powell, finished 35th and 36th. running an equivalent time of 18:46.4. To finish it off for Villanova, senior Ben Seiple ran a time of 19:02.0 and placed 45th overall. In a race that held 160 athletes in total, all 12 Wildcats finished in the top 50. This was an impressive outing that the team looks to build on for the rest of the season.  

The next meet will take place on Friday, Sept. 16 at the Main Line Invitational. This meet will be hosted by Haverford, and the Wildcats will look to dominate at another Pennsylvania venue. The Villanova men’s cross-country season has just begun, but the team has already shown a clear glimpse of what it can do.