Track & Field Takes Part in 125th Penn Relays


Courtesy of Villanova Athletics

Track & Field Takes Part in 125th Penn Relays

Nick France

Villanova’s Penn Relay performance was highlighted by the women’s team emerging victorious in the  4×1500-meter relay. The Wildcat quartet of Lydia Olivere, Rachel McArthur, Caroline Alcorta, and senior Nicole Hutchinson recorded a stellar time of 17:39.26 seconds, improving their record in their last 20 races at the carnival to 16-4.

The day’s program included two victories by Houston, in the women’s 4×100 and the men’s 4×200, and a win in the pouring rain by the Wisconsin men in the distance medley relay, only the Badgers’ second Championship of America title, which came 103 years after the first.

Olivere led off the race with a split of 4:28.6, which was followed by a fantastic 4:18.4 split by McArthur on the second leg of the race. This was the fastest time among the 16 runners in the event and practically sealed the victory early on. Alcorta then finished with 4:28.0 on the third leg, followed by Hutchinson, who anchored the win with a split of 4:24.3.

Head coach Gina Procaccio’s strategy for the event went just as she planned, stating, “Rachel’s job, I told her to just clean up, stretch it out. She was phenomenal and she opened it up. Caroline was supposed to play it safe and keep it solid for Nicole. They all did a great job.”

McArthur understood her job, saying she was simply, “doing what I could to get us in a good place.” That may be an understatement, as the Wildcats’ victory in the 4×1500 is their fourth consecutive Championship of America title in the event.

Unfortunately, the Villanova men had a tough day, with Nick Steele falling with just over 100 meters to go in the opening distance race, dropping the Wildcats back to last place. 

Casey Comber managed to get a sizable comeback going, finished seventh as Wisconsin would win the event over Indiana in 9:47.19.

Head coach Marcus O’Sullivan praised Comber’s performance in the face of adversity, stating, “He kind of got the pace moving himself. I think definitely I could see it in his face. I was there at the 200-meter mark and it definitely looked like, ‘I’m all out. I don’t have any more.’”

Other notable results included Villanova placing third in Championship of America distance medley relay, Ashley Preston winning the college section of the pole vault, and Villanova tallying fifth-fastest time in school history in the 4×100 relay.