The Student News Site of Villanova University

The Villanovan

The Villanovan

The Villanovan

Track & Field Success Continues; Murphy Qualifies for Olympic Trials

Courtesy of Villanova Athletics
Senior Liam Murphy achieved an Automatic “A” qualifying time for this summer’s U.S. Olympic Team Trials in the 1500 meters at the Bryan Clay Invitational in Azusa, California.

It was another two-event weekend for Villanova track and field. One was the Bryan Clay Invitational in Azusa, California. The second event was the Larry Ellis Invitational in Princeton, New Jersey.

Distance was the highlight of the weekend in California. Sophomore Marco Langon ran the seventh best time in the 5000 meters in Villanova history. Langon crossed the finish line with a time of 13:28.44 to shatter his previous personal best by 20 seconds.

In the rain, senior Liam Murphy took the spotlight. He achieved an Automatic “A” qualifying time for this summer’s U.S. Olympic Team Trials in the 1500 meters. Murphy coasted across the finish line in 3:36.48 to lower his personal best by about three full seconds. 

At Princeton, junior Faith Haught threw for a personal best. Fifth-year Madison Martinez won her section of the 800 meters and junior Emma McGill was one of three Villanova athletes who recorded personal bests in the 1500 meters. Sixth-year distance runner Jack Fredian tallied the second-fastest time of his career in the 5000 meters.

Langon finished 11th in a field of 29 runners in the 5000 meters. This is Langon’s first official college season on the track after he redshirted as a freshman. His previous personal best in the 5000 meters had been 13:47.42 while running unattached at Princeton a year ago this weekend.

“[Langon] can run faster, I believe,” men’s head coach Marcus O’Sullivan said. “He is young and is putting up numbers like this. He will soon be where he needs to be.” 

Murphy’s 1500-meter time is the sixth-fastest time in Villanova history and the second-fastest ever run during the college season. Murphy trails Sydney Maree (3:35.30) on that list. Maree’s time was the NCAA record for nearly 38 years from 1981 to 2018.

Fifth-year Xian Shively ran in his home state of California for the first time as a Villanova athlete. Shively competed in the third heat of the 5000 meters and ran a 13:57.90 to tally the second-fastest time of his career.

Fifth-year Sean Dolan and freshman Dan Watcke ran the 800 meters. Dolan posted a top-10 national time in his outdoor season debut, running a time of 1:47.11. Dolan now holds the Big East lead this season.

Watcke ran his second collegiate race on Friday evening. He won his heat of the 800 meters in 1:48.55. Watcke is already an international gold medalist after winning the 800 meters at the Pan American U20 Championships last summer. His lifetime best of 1:47.99 was recorded in July 2023 at the USATF U20 Championships. Watcke made his collegiate debut only two weeks ago.

“I think this is a really good place for him,” O’Sullivan said. “He’s a great young man and it is very cool that he is part of the team.”

Murphy, junior Sean Donoghue, junior Devon Comber and sixth-year Charlie O’Donovan ran the 1500 meters in impressive and historic times.

Murphy ran against both collegiate and professional runners. The automatic standard for the Olympic Trials is 3:37.0 and Murphy ran just over half a second under it. Murphy ranks sixth on this year’s NCAA Division I performance list.

“That gives a strong indicator of where [Murphy] is,” O’Sullivan said. “He still has the whole collegiate season to go and that was his first race outdoors. It is a long season for us. We will go into July on this one. When we look at it that way, we are still three months away.” 

All four Wildcats in the 1500 meters ran the metric equivalent of sub-four minute miles. Donoghue recorded a time of 3:41.02. Comber ran a 3:41.32. O’Donovan was right behind them with a time of 3:41.90. Comber is the 48th member of Villanova’s sub-four minute mile club. 

O’Sullivan has coached 22 of the 48 sub-four Wildcats during his head coaching career. He is one of three athletes in history to run a sub-four minute mile more than 100 times.

“​​[The sub-four club] is a very special place for me,” O’Sulivan said. “It identified who I was as an athlete and identified the athletes that came before me at Villanova.”

At Princeton, Villanova ran its first 4×100 meter relay race of the season. The lineup was made up of freshman Derrick Smith, freshman Imevar Justice, freshman Parker Turner and junior Connor Dunning. The four recorded a time of 41.41.

Fifth-year Madison Martinez finished first place in her section of the 800 meters at the Larry Ellis Invitational in Princeton, NJ last weekend. (Courtesy of Villanova Athletics)

A lineup that featured O’Neill, freshman Ethan Walls, sophomore Sal Barretta and freshman Matthew Griffin won the 4×400 meter relay in 3:17.01. 

Fredian crossed the finish line in 14:12.01 to finish fourth in the 5000 meters. Kredell ran in the same section of the 5000 meters and ran 14:42.20.

The 800 meters featured the trio of Martinez, sophomore Micah Trusty and junior Alex Stasichin. Martinez tallied a time of 2:05.20 to win the heat. Trusty recorded a time of 2:06.67. Stasichin posted her best result of the season with 2:09.15. 

McGill ran the 1500 meters and lowered her previous personal best by more than six seconds. She placed seventh in the fastest heat of the event. McGill moved up to fifth on the Big East performance list this season with her time of 4:22.72. 

First-year Tilly O’Connor and junior Margaret Carroll also lowered their personal best times in the 1500 meters. O’Connor won her heat in 4:28.23 and Carroll finished with a time of 4:28.78. 

Junior Faith Haught moved up to fifth on Villanova’s all-time performance list in the discus with a personal best of 47.69 meters. Haught is now in third place on this year’s Big East performance list.

Both the men’s and women’s track and field team will head to the Virginia Challenge in Charlottesville, Virginia. The event will be on April 19 and April 20.

Leave a Comment
Donate to The Villanovan
Our Goal

Your donation will support the student journalists of The Villanovan with technological needs, training, etc!

More to Discover
Donate to The Villanovan
Our Goal

Comments (0)

All The Villanovan Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *