Women’s 4-by-800 Impress At Penn Relays


Courtesy of Villanova Athletics

The young 4×800 Wildcats had a third place finish at the Penn Relays this past weekend.

Jacob Artz, Staff Writer

Last week, Villanova women’s track and field head coach Gina Procaccio gave some insight into what events she thought would be the best chance for the Wildcats to perform well at the Penn Relays.

“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 [we are] excited for those.”  

She was right. 

The quartet of sophomore Alex Stasichin, freshman Micah Trusty, sophomore Maya Dorer and senior Madison Martinez posted a time of 8:30.42 to earn a bronze medal in the 4-by-800-meter relay.  

Staschin led off with a time of 2:08.96 with Trusty taking the baton next and racing to a time of 2:07.39. The third woman to race was Dorer and she clocked at 2:08.35. Martinez then ran the fastest of the four, with an anchor time of 2:05.74. 

“This is a young group,” Martinez said via Villanova Athletics. “We have a freshman and two sophomores, so we have a lot to look forward to in the future. This was a great experience.” 

Procaccio was also pleased with the young group. 

“I was really happy with their performance because they are a young group,” Procaccio said. “I said to them afterwards, ‘We’re gonna come back next year and win it next year.’” 

In addition to the 4-by-800 team, the distance runners did their damage on the first day of the Penn Relays. 

Senior Anna Helwigh ran the second-fastest time of her career in the 3000-meter steeplechase with a time of 10:03.51 This set a new personal best by almost two seconds. This time puts her 16th in the East Region. 

“I thought she held her own and did really well,” Procaccio said of Helwigh against the strong field. 

Helwigh now owns four of the top-10 times in school history for the 3000-meter steeplechase. 

Sophomore Sadie Sigfstead made her first race at Franklin Field one to remember with a personal best time of 16:17.19 in the 5000 meters. This time beat her old personal best by over four seconds. 

Sigfstead already holds a spot to qualify for the East Region in the 10000 and this improvement in times is allowing her to perform better in the 10000. 

“For her to still run, you know [while being sick], a time like that really bodes well for what she’s capable of,” Procaccio said.

Graduate student Ariana Gardizy blew past her previous personal best on Thursday, and especially her best time previous at Franklin Field, with a time of 34:25.62. She slashed nearly 20 seconds off her previous time that she ran at Franklin Field almost two years ago to the day. 

“We’re just hoping, fingers crossed, that that time will hold up enough for her to qualify for the NCAA First Round [East Regional],” Procaccio said.  

She would marginally be on the inside of the cutline at 47th with the top-50 runners qualifying for the East Region. 

The distance medley relay team of Dorer, Trusty, Martinez and graduate student Lydia Olivere finished the race at 11:12.22 on Friday. This amounted to a ninth-place finish for a squad that competed against five teams that qualified for the NCAA Indoor Championships earlier this year. 

“We had a lot of the top national competition that made it to [NCAAs] indoors so we wanted to compete tough and see where we could be,” Olivere said via Villanova Athletics. 

Doeer led off in the 1200 with a time of 3:26.40, Trusty was next in the 400-meter dash and recorded a time of 55.77, Martinez ran the third leg in the 800-meter in 2:08.34 and the anchor, Olivere, posted a time of 4:41.72 to finish the race in the mile portion. 

“It’s always good, you know, to face the great competition, and kinda just see where you are,” Procaccio said. 

Graduate student Ashley Preston again eclipsed the four-meter barrier at a height of 4.03 meters indoors, this time due to the wet conditions at the Hecht Tennis Center, earning her a tie for fifth place. This was the second consecutive meet that Preston cleared four meters.  

“That’s really good that they did that because they had to move it inside because of the weather,” Procaccio said. 

In two weeks, Villanova will host the Big East Championships at Villanova Stadium.  

“I thought we did really well this weekend,” Procaccio said. “It just sets us up well for [the] championship season. Having the Big East at home, gives us more fuel for the fire to just really go out and put on a show.”