Veterans Dominate Villanova Invitational


Courtesy of Villanova Athletics

Charlie O’Donovan (above) won the 3000 meters race at the Villanova Invitational.

Jacob Artz, Staff Writer

For Villanova men’s track and field, two standout upperclassmen showed their worth Saturday night as the team began its journey in the indoor season. 

Graduate student Charlie O’Donovan and junior Sean Dolan performed well in the 3000 meters and 1000-meter race at the Villanova Invitational, hosted at the Ocean Breeze Track & Field Athletic Complex in Staten Island, New York.

The first event of the meet showcased Dolan’s stellar running. The junior won the 1000-meter race in a time of 2:20.89, blitzing his personal best by more than 3.5 seconds. Dolan threatened the all-time Villanova indoor track and field 1000-meters record set by Don Paige in 1979 at 2:20.3.

“I think he likes to get things going, and get it going earlier,” head coach Marcus O’Sullivan said. “I think it gives him the confidence he needs to kind of push on for the rest of the season.”

The time of 2:20.89 is the second-fastest time this current indoor collegiate season and the fifth-fastest time in the Villanova record books.

O’Donovan stood out amongst the field of 26 runners in the 3000-meter race with a time of 7:53.66, winning the race by more than 11 seconds. O’Donovan’s time currently ranks ninth in the NCAA.

The time O’Donovan posted is the sixth-fastest in Villanova history.

“Just winter training,” O’Sullivan said of the key for O’Donovan’s large margin of victory. “He was back in Ireland training there. His training went well.”

There were other additional note-worthy runs. Senior Miller Anderson placed third in the 1000-meter race with a time of 2:23.15 and lowered his personal best by more than four seconds.

“This is a good confidence booster for him before he goes on to the next meet,” O’Sullivan said.

Graduate student Evan Addison, a transfer from Pittsburgh, finished second to O’Donovan with a time of 8:04.99, shaving his personal best by more than 11 seconds.  

“I think that was a big PR for him in the 3000,” O’Sullivan said. “I think he’s eyeing up trying to run a fast mile throughout the indoor season, maybe to break four minutes.”

Another victory for the ‘Cats came in the mile. Sophomore Liam Murphy posted a winning time of 4:07.46, best in a 25 runner field. Murphy recorded the second-fastest time in the Big East this season. Last season, Murphy became the latest member of Villanova’s sub-four-mile club.

Three of the four competitors in the 200-meter race were freshmen. Freshman Amiri Prescod posted a time of 22.55 to lead the Villanova contingent. Freshman Sal Barretta notched a personal best time of 23.05, and freshman Luke Rakowitz tallied a time of 23.30. Junior Mac Costonis finished with a time of 22.69.

The sprinting group had its share of struggles last season, but the young runners are attempting to change that this year.

“The young guys are vigorous, and they’re enthusiastic, and I think they’re revitalizing everybody,” O’Sullivan said. “I think they’re in a good place right now.”

In the 400-meter race, junior Nicholas Mollica came in sixth with a time of 49.85 and freshman Ronan O’Neill posted a time of 50.23.

Sophomore Chris Weeks recorded a personal best time of 1:54.63 in the 800-meter race, which was good for sixth out of a field of 25 runners. He improved his time from the outdoor Big East Championships last year, when he finished eighth.

In the field events, sophomore thrower Tristan Bolinsky hurled the weight throw 15.12 meters. He broke onto the Wildcats all-time performance list in 10th place. Freshman thrower Liam Anderson threw a personal best of 12.71 meters in the shot put, and freshman Bennett Hemphill topped the height of 4.30 meters in the pole vault.

“It’s all about fall development,” O’Sullivan said. “I think they all have come off it with great build-up.” 

The men’s indoor track and field team will travel to Penn State next week for the Penn State National Open on Friday and Saturday.

The field will be more competitive than the Villanova Invitational. The Wildcats will compete against teams such as North Carolina, Virginia and the host, Penn State.

“You’re going to see the quality and the intensity start to move up, which will bring out more of the best of the athletes that are there,” O’Sullivan said.

Another step up in competition will come at the David Hemery Valentine Invitational, hosted by Boston University on Feb. 10th and 11th.

“It’s pretty intense up there,” O’Sullivan. “It’s a little bit of mayhem and bedlam during the competitions.”

The meet in Boston will be an ideal opportunity for the ‘Cats to gain qualifying standards for the NCAA Championships before the Big East Conference meet.