Men’s Cross Country Continues Stellar Start to Season


Courtesy of Villanova Athletics

Villanova freshman Marco Langon (red) won the four mile race as an unattached runner.

Jacob Artz, Staff Writer

Villanova men’s cross country continued its blistering start to the 2022 campaign with another strong showing in the second meet of the season.

After sweeping the top five positions last week at the Lehigh Invitational in the 6,000 meter race, Villanova placed seven of the top 10 runners at the Main Line Invitational four mile event on Friday evening at the Alumni Course at Haverford.

In the overall team competition, Villanova garnered the top position with a score of 20, blowing out the rest of the participating schools. 

Villanova runners swept the top three positions with only the third place finisher counting officially towards the final score because the top two finishers were running unattached.

The competition was won by a Villanova unattached runner Marco Langon, who crushed the field by almost 10 seconds, with a time of 19:13.4. Graduate student Ryan Cutter placed runner-up in the event, with a time of 19:23.1.

Freshman normally do not get the opportunity to race with the team officially, but Langon is different.

“He’s very, very talented,” head coach Marcus O’Sullivan said. “He’s in a redshirt phase, and we will race Paul Short in two weeks, and that will be with him running redshirt again, and at that point, if he looks like he can make the transition, we could potentially roll him into the team.” 

Langon showed why he was a highly coveted recruit from New Jersey. He was awarded the New Jersey Gatorade Player of the Year and Player of the Year in cross country and track and field. 

Cutter is a graduate transfer from the University of Chicago. He brings a lot of experience to the Wildcats, earning two All-American nods. He also shattered his personal best in the four mile course. His previous best was 19:35.5 at last year’s Main Line Invitational. 

“Even he said, the difference between last year and now is amazing,” O’Sullivan said. “He’s so much stronger. I wish he had eligibility.” 

Cutter will also be available in the outdoor season in the spring.

His undergraduate teammate at the University of Chicago and a now fellow Villanova runner, Henry Myers, placed 18th, with a time of 20:09.8.

The official Wildcat score was paced by graduate student Jack Fredian, with a time of 19:25.2 in the four mile race. Fredian placed third overall in the field of 136 competitors. 

Fredian obliterated his personal best in the four mile course run. His previous personal best was a 20:02.9 at the same Main Line Invitational last year.

“From freshman year, it struck me as he has a lot of promise,” O’Sullivan said. “He walked onto the team after he came to Villanova, like came to a tryout, which is rare.”

Fredian struggled with injuries during his career but when he is running well, he is hard to beat.

Sophomore Cole Walker was fourth, with a time of 19:26.1. The five runners who scored were separated by a mere 36 seconds. Sixth place finisher, graduate transfer Evan Addison, finished in 19:41.7 in his debut with the Wildcats.

“He’s a local kid,” O’Sullivan said of Walker. “And I think finally he just started to get some work in over the summer, and is maturing and getting stronger, so he was very impressive on the weekend.”

Sophomore Devon Comber was seventh, with a time of 19:46.2, in his first official collegiate race. Junior Sean Dolan rounded out the Villanova top five with an 11th place finish, with a time of 20:01.4.

Another unattached runner, Jack Tavagilone, placed 10th, with a time of 19:59.2. Like Langon, Tavagilone is another exceptional runner from New Jersey. He was a first team all-state runner.

Tavagilone and Langon have the potential to be the next fast New Jersey duo.

The Wildcats sat their top five for the Main Line Invitational, so everyone will run in two weeks. There will be two sections. The first will consist of the top seven to 10 runners, and the second section will contain the rest.

The Wildcats will travel to Lehigh in two weeks to run in the Paul Short Run, which will be on the 8k course.

The goal is to shape the top 12 runners for the Wisconsin meet on Oct. 14, narrowing to 10 runners for the Big East championships on Oct. 29. 

The course will be a mile longer than Haverford at five miles, and the course is more sloping. Expect the Wildcats to dominate at Paul Short as the competition will be roughly the same, but the Wisconsin meet will be at a national level.