Women’s XC Places Sixth at Paul Short Run


Courtesy of Villanova Athletics

Lydia Olivere led the Wildcats, finishing 26th overall.

Catherine Browne, Sports Columnist

Early Friday morning, Villanova’s women’s cross country team competed in the Paul Short Run hosted by Lehigh, where it finished in sixth place out of 46 teams, with 279 points. The Wildcats competed against more than 425 runners in the 6,000-meter race on the Goodman Campus Course and placed all five scoring athletes in the top 73. The five scoring runners were the same athletes that made an appearance at the team’s first meet in Indiana at the Coaching Tree Invitational earlier this season. 

“As a group, we were looking to tighten our spread one-through-five, and we put 32 seconds between our first runner coming in and our fifth runner coming in,” head coach Gina Procaccio said.

Graduate student Lydia Olivere marked a time of 20:06.22, finishing first for the Wildcats lineup and 26th overall. Olivere’s performance on Friday is now her third-fastest recorded time in her collegiate career in the 6,000-meter race. 

“[Olivere] is very consistent,” Procaccio said. “She is a great leader…and I was really pleased with her performance.”

Redshirt freshman Emma McGill came in second among her teammates and 42nd overall, with a time of 20:19.3. Procaccio shared that McGill suffered from heat exhaustion at her first race earlier this season. 

“So we were just looking for her to have a solid race and finish strong,” Procaccio continued. “[McGill] did amazing…She ran a time that I was really impressed with, and I think there is a lot of good stuff to come with her.” 

The remaining three scoring runners all finished within four seconds of one another crossing the finish line. 

“They train together,” Procaccio said. “It helps really when you are working together to achieve a common goal.”

Freshman Amelia Arrieta recorded a time of 20:34.8, coming in 69th place. Sophomore Emily Robinson finished in 72nd place, with a mark of 20:37.3, and graduate student Ariana Gardizy followed very close behind, finishing in 73rd place, with a time of 20:38.6. 

Sophomore Margaret Carroll finished in 167th, with a mark of 21:20.7, and junior Anna Helwigh came in 198th in 21:30.0, as she passed 37 competitors in the second half of the race. 

Procaccio explained that for her young team of athletes, “their experience level is low but they are…really competing like true Villanovans.”

The Wildcats will compete in their next competition on Friday, Oct. 14 at 10:45 a.m. in the Penn State National Open being held on the regionals course.

“It is important for the young kids to have a chance to race on the course before regionals,” Procaccio said. 

Penn State is also ranked ahead of the Wildcats. Princeton was previously ranked higher than the Wildcats but finished three spots behind, ending in ninth place following this week’s competition at the Paul Short Run.