Olivere Paces the Distance in the 1500-meter


Courtesy of Villanova Athletics

Lydia Olivere (No. 330) set a personal best time of 4:16.11 in the 1500-meter race and won the field of 11 runners

Jacob Artz, Staff Writer

Heading into the Penn Relays, the Villanova women’s track and field team has momentum, led by its distance runners. 

Graduate student Lydia Olivere set a personal best time of 4:16.11 in the 1500-meter race and won the field of 11 runners at Leslie C. Quick Jr. Stadium in the Widener Invitational Friday night. 

With this time, Olivere cut almost two seconds off her personal best time of 4:18.03 from the Raleigh Relays. 

“I told her just [to] run hard for three and three-quarter laps and just to get yourself ready for next week, and that’s what she did, and ended up with her second PR,” head coach Gina Procaccio said. 

Sophomore Sadie Sigfstead finished in fourth place, with a personal best time of 4:25.58 in the 1500. This personal best time from Sigfstead cut almost three seconds from her previous best mark, which also came at last year’s Raleigh Relays.  

“That was really impressive for her because we ran a 1500 five weeks ago and she ran a 4:31, so that was almost six seconds better,” Procaccio said. “I think she surprised herself [by] finishing fourth in that field.” 

Senior Anna Helwigh was slotted in the seventh position with a time of 4:28.68 in the 1500.  

Each of the three runners have already set times in their primary events that look probable to qualify them for the regional competition later this year. 

Olivere owns the top two times in the 3000-meter steeplechase in the Villanova record books and Helwigh has strong performances in the 3000-meter steeplechase as well. Sigfstead is sixth in Villanova history in the 10,000-meter event. 

Sigfstead has also been working on both the 5,000-meter and 10,000-meter races, in hopes to qualify in the 5,000-meter race for the regional meet. 

“Running different events prepares you to run better in your signature event,” Procaccio said. 

Other action at Lannigan Field included senior Jane Livingston, who put up a fourth overall place finish in the 100-meter hurdles with a time of 13.63.  

In the field events, junior Caroline Carlson made a personal best mark of 5.49 meters in the long jump. This broke her previous personal best, which had stood since her high school days. 

Also in Virginia, graduate student Ashley Preston flew over the four-meter bar on her first pole vault attempt. This was the best performance of the season for her, as she bested her previous best mark by five centimeters.  

This is the fifth time in her career and third time outdoors that she cleared the four-meter bar. 

Now looking ahead, the women will compete in the famed Penn Relays at Franklin Field in Philadelphia next week. 

“I think we are going to be really competitive in the distance medley relay and the 4 by 800-meter relay,” Procaccio said. “We have two very solid teams there, so excited for those.” 

Individual events to look out for are Sigfstead in the 5,000-meter race, Helwigh in the steeplechase, graduate student Ariana Gardizy in the 10k, Livingston in the 100-meter hurdles, Preston in the pole vault and graduate student Liv Morgan in the javelin.