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Six Athletes Represent Villanova at Track and Field NCAA Championships

Courtesy of Villanova Athletics
Villanova had six athletes qualify for the trip to the 2024 Track and Field Outdoor Championships at the historic Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon. Junior Sadie Sigfstead made her national outdoor debut in the 10,000 meters (10K) and finished 12th, earning second-team All-America honors for her performance.

Villanova had six athletes qualify for the trip to the 2024 NCAA Track and Field Outdoor Championships at the historic Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon.

On the men’s side, fifth-year Sean Dolan, senior Liam Murphy, sixth-year Charlie O’Donovan and sophomore Marco Langon competed for Villanova. Senior Roschell Clayton and junior Sadie Sigfstead represented the women’s team.

Out of the six Wildcats, three made their National Championship debut.

The weekend began with qualifiers on Thursday, June 6. Murphy and O’Donovan were split up into different heats for the 1500-meter qualifiers. The top five finishers in each respective heat and the next two fastest times moved on to the championship race.

Murphy won the first heat with a time of 3:39.68 and reached the final for the second straight year.

 “Being in this race you really just need experience,” Murphy said to Villanova Athletics. “At a certain point, especially when you get to Friday, everyone is racing at the same level and there are so many different guys that can win. Last year was my first year at regionals and NCAAs, and I think having that experience is really going to pay off for me this year with better tactics. I am in a better spot than I was in last year.” 

The second qualifying heat of the 1500 meters was stacked. It featured the last two national champions in the 1500 meters and the winner of the last two indoor mile titles. O’Donovan ran a time of 3:40.31, finishing 18th overall in the semifinal round. His time would have been less than a quarter of a second off an automatic qualifying spot for the final if he had been in the first heat.

Dolan competed in the 800 meters for the third consecutive year. He posted a time of 1:46.91 and secured the final on-time qualifying spot in the final. Dolan raced in the second of three semifinal heats. All three on-time qualifiers came out of Dolan’s heat, with his time of 1:46.91 putting him fifth overall. Dolan would have won either of the other two heats.

Fifth-year Sean Dolan earned his seventh All-America honor and a fourth podium finish in his final college race. Dolan and senior Liam Murphy prepare to return to Hayward Field for the U.S. Olympic Trials later this month.

“Choppy for sure,” Dolan said to Villanova Athletics. “I definitely got banged around a little bit, but I stayed on my feet, trusted my training and trusted everything I have done the past five years. I think experience got me through today more than anything else. Just knowing what it takes to get through is half the battle at this point. I am definitely experienced at this meet, experienced at this track so that came in huge for me today.”

The finals took place on Friday.

Dolan earned his seventh All-America honor and a fourth podium finish in his final college race. Dolan matched his best outdoor NCAA finish and recorded the second-fastest time of his career with a mark of 1:45.89. Dolan came in fifth among nine elite runners. It is the 14th-fastest absolute time in Villanova history.

Murphy raced in the 1500 meters for the second straight year at nationals. He finished in 11th place with a time of 3:42.90. It earned him second-team All-America honors. 

Langon competed in the 5000-meter final in his first outdoor college season. Langon recorded a time of 14:10.41 and finished 21st to earn an honorable mention All-America accolade. Langon was one of only four runners in their first season of outdoor eligibility who qualified for the national championship race.

Murphy and Dolan have each recorded qualifying times in their events for the U.S. Olympic Team Trials which begin later this month. The trials also take place at Hayward Field. 

Sigfstead made her national outdoor debut in the 10,000 meters (10K). She finished 12th. Sigfstead posted a time of 33:18.63 and earned second-team All-America honors for her performance. Sigfstead is the third Villanova runner to earn All-America honors in the women’s 10000 meters.

“This gives me good momentum going into cross country [in the Fall],” Sigfstead said to Villanova Athletics. “Cross country is my favorite and, this year, coming here and having a lot of experience, I felt like I was learning so much while I was racing. It will help me so much more next year. I’m happy. I still have two more years of cross country and we’re bringing in a lot of great athletes and recruits so that’s exciting.”

Sigfstead now owns three of the top 11 times in the Wildcats record book.

Saturday was the conclusion of a heavy weekend in Oregon. Roshcell Clayton took on the high jump.

Clayton cleared the bar at 1.87 meters and tied for fifth at nationals. Leading up to the 1.87 bar, she cleared the bar successfully at 1.72 meters, 1.77 meters and 1.82 meters. It is Clayton’s second straight first-team All-America performance. Her 1.87-meter high jump is a record-tying jump in school outdoor history and outdoor personal best.

The National Championships marks the end of the 2023-24 college track and field season, which starts with cross country in the fall and runs until summer. Even though the season is over, Olympic trials are not too far away. Murphy and Dolan will soon begin preparations.

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