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Track & Field Kicks Off Outdoor Season

Courtesy of Villanova Athletics
Fifth year sprinter Jane Livingston started track and field’s outdoor season coming in fifth in the 100 meter hurdles at the Knights Invite in Orlando, Fla.

Villanova track and field kicked off its 2024 outdoor campaign this weekend, split up into two different events across the country.

Villanova athletes competed in the Knights Invite at the UCF Track and Field Complex in Orlando, FL as well as the Penn Challenge in Philadelphia, PA.

Orlando was highlighted by top finishes from seniors Nick Coffey and Nicholas Mollica who each finished fifth in their respective events. Sophomore sprinter Luke Rakowitz recorded a personal best time in the 400 meters.

The trio of Adria Retter, Alex Payne and Jordan Williams instantly moved onto the all-time Villanova performance list in women’s hammer throw.

Fifth-year sprinter Jane Livingston began her outdoor season in the 100-meter hurdles.

In Philadelphia, freshman sprinter Ethan Walls broke 50 seconds in the 400 meters. Junior middle distance runners Emily Robinson and Maya Dorer earned top-three finishes in their respective events.

Coffey threw for a distance of 63.64 meters in the javelin. Coffey came in fifth out of 30 competitors with the fourth-longest throw of his career.

In the 400-meter hurdles, Mollica started the season with a time of 53.59 to place fifth out of 34 runners. Sophomore Luke Rakowitz competed in the hurdles also and posted a time of 56.61 in his first collegiate race in the event.

“It’s a pretty nice opening season march for [Mollica],” assistant head coach Matthew Valeriani said. “It was pretty close to what he ran last year [in the 400-meter hurdles] and probably about a second off of his personal best.”

Junior thrower Tristan Bolinsky advanced to the final of the hammer throw and came in ninth with a personal best of 52.70 meters. 

Rakowitz ran a time of 48.23 in the 400 meters. Four Villanova runners all crossed the finish line within less than a second of each other. Senior Nicholas Mollica had a time of 48.31. Mollica was followed by senior Jakob Kunzer with 48.84 and sophomore Jimmy Milgie with a time of 49.06. 

In the discus, junior Tristan Bolinsky threw for a distance of 44.99 meters to tally a 13th-place finish out of more than 30 competitors.

Retter threw for 51.89 meters in the hammer throw, followed by a mark of 51.27 meters from Payne and a throw of 44.95 meters from Williams. 

Those performances rank them fourth, sixth and ninth in school history in the event with the entire outdoor season still in front of them.

First-year collegian Olivia Allen ran the 400 meter hurdles and recorded a time of 1:01.52. She placed fifth out of 35 competitors. 

First-year sprinter Ajanae Thompson recorded a personal best of 25.04 in the 200 meters.

Retter returned on Saturday to throw the 10th-longest discus throw in school history at 49.44 meters. It puts her in third place on the Villanova performance list in the event. 

William moved from ninth to seventh place on the all-time outdoor list with a throw of 13.33 meters in the discus.

“The women’s hammer throw was one of the meet’s highlights,” Valeriani said. “The three women all threw well for the first time throwing the hammer because that is only an outdoor event.”

Livingston came in fifth in the 100 meter hurdles with a time of 13.66 and was followed by freshman Ajanae Thompson who placed seventh in 14.01 in her first collegiate 100 hurdles race.

“[Livingston] had a nice opening season mark in the 100 meter hurdles,” said Valeriani. “[Thompson] also had a solid opening season mark in the hurdles for her first collegiate 100 meter hurdles

Fifth-year runner Madison Martinez posted a time of 56.31 in the 400 meters.

First-year high jumper Malaika Cunningham finished fourth in her first collegiate outdoor competition after clearing the bar at 1.68 meters.

In Philadelphia, Walls, sophomore Ronan O’Neil, freshman Matthew Griffin and senior William Seijas ran the 400 meters. They placed fourth, fifth, seventh and 11th, respectively. Walls recorded a time of 49.95. O’Neill was close behind with a time of 50.14. Griffin finished in 50.63. Seijas crossed the finish line in 50.96. 

Robinson was the runner-up in the 800 meters with a time of 2:13.00 and first-year collegian Tilly O’Connor came in fifth with a time of 2:16.32.

Dorer crossed the finish line in third for the 400 meters in 1:00.50. She was followed by first-year Caelen O’Leary in fifth place with a time of 1:00.94.

The men and women will travel to two different events across the country this upcoming weekend. Many will head to the Raleigh Relays in Raleigh, NC. It will be hosted by NC State on March 28-30. Some will travel to the Sam Howell Invitational in Princeton, NJ on March 30.

Oregon transfer Dan Locke is likely to debut for Villanova in the 800 meter. Many top-distance men’s runners will also make their outdoor season debut at the upcoming meets.

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