Murphy, O’Donovan Break School Record in 3000 Meters


Courtesy of Villanova Athletics

Villanova men’s track broke school record this past weekend.

Jacob Artz, Staff Writer

The men’s and women’s track teams were scattered across the east coast this weekend with meets in Boston, New York and Clemson. All eyes were on the David Hemery Valentine Invitational in Boston, as the distance runners looked to inch closer to a national meet spot. 

“It’s the fastest track in the country,” head coach Marcus O’Sullivan said, so it was only fitting that quick times are in order. 

Sophomore Liam Murphy set the Villanova indoor record in the 3000 meter with a blazing 7:45.67 pace. Senior Charlie O’Donovan also broke a 21-year-old Villanova indoor record that was set by NCAA champion and two-time Olympian Adrian Blincoe. 

The times were even more impressive considering that both Murphy and O’Donovan had food poisoning the week of the meet. This resulted in lighter training, and O’Sullivan being “hesitant” to race Murphy. 

After a solid workout mid-week, he told O’Sullivan he was good for the race. 

“I think it was great for them,” O’Sullivan said. “That was shocking to see [Murphy] and [O’Donovan] do so well.”  

To get to these times, O’Sullivan pushed Murphy after last year’s track season. 

“I felt he could be doing a lot more in terms of his commitment,” O’Sullivan said.  

These times from Murphy and O’Donovan have successfully brought them close to a national meet berth. 

This past weekend wasn’t just successful for Murphy and O’Donovan, though. The debuts of graduate students Haftu Strintzos and Josh Phillips also occurred during the long-distance events.   

Other times made in the 3000 meters were sophomore Jack Jennings with 7:56.36, Strintzos crossed the finish line in 8:00.91 and Phillips made a time of 8:01.46. 

“I thought it was good progress by [Strintzos and Philllips],” O’Sullivan said. “They were far behind five or six weeks ago, so they’ve made a lot of progress in the last five weeks.” 

The mile event saw junior Sean Dolan run under four minutes with a time of 3:58.02, and graduate student Evan Addison came close to breaking the four-minute barrier with a time of 4:18.36. 

Senior Miller Anderson posted a personal best in the 800 meters with a time of 1:50.19. 

As for the other meets, the competition at Clemson featured the jumpers, highlighted by graduate student Malik Cunningham who continued to improve his marks in the triple jump. 

After his debut at the Scarlet Knight Open at the Armory last weekend, where he posted a Big East leading jump of 15.27 meters, Cunningham furthered his Big East lead with his best mark of the season, jumping 15.63 meters. 

The result was best for fifth place. He posted the second-best mark at the same meet last year with a jump of 16.12 meters. 

Last year, Cunningham qualified for the NCAA Championships, finishing in 14th place and garnering second-team All-American honors. He was injured in May 2022 prior to the Big East Championships, and this was his second meet since the injury. 

“He’s a mature athlete,” O’Sullivan said. “You don’t need as many competitions. You know what the parameters are.” 

The trio of events was rounded out with the Big Apple Invitational at Ocean Breeze in Staten Island, New York. 

Freshman Amiri Prescod set a personal best in the 60-meter dash with a time of 6.86 seconds. The time is tied for the fifth fastest in school history, putting him fourth overall on the Villanova performance list. 

“He’s right up there with the 60 [meters] guys over the history of the program,” O’Sullivan said. 

In the 400 meters, junior Nicholas Mollica paced the runners with a time of 49.32 seconds and in the 200-meter dash, Mollica posted another personal best of 22.37 seconds. 

In the field events, sophomore Tristan Bolinsky threw for 15.24 meters in the weight throw and freshman Liam Anderson posted a throw of 12.72 meters in the same event. 

Next week, the Wildcats will compete in an added distance medley relay event at Notre Dame for a spot at the national meet. 

Freshman Jimmy Milgie will run the 400 meters, Dolan will run the 800 meters, and Murphy and 

O’Donovan will be the bookends for the mile and 1200-meter portions of the event. 

With traveling out on Thursday after a long weekend of meets, O’Sullivan is focused on lighter training this week with aerobics and letting the race come to them.