Athlete of the Week: Jack Judge, Men’s Track & Field


Courtesy of Villanova Athletics

Athlete of the Week: Jack Judge, Men’s Track & Field

Greg Welsh

Jack Judge had been on Villanova’s campus just a few weeks when he walked into the Davis Center and was drawn to the sight of a man cranking out sets on the circuit machines. 

Impressed, Judge took a closer look and realized the man before him was Marcus O’Sullivan, a four-time Olympian and the head coach of track and field at Villanova. Judge, who, despite his success throwing javelin at Don Bosco Preparatory High School, had not been recruited by colleges, was interested in continuing his throwing career at Villanova. The Rockland County, NY native saw this chance encounter as an opportunity to make his pitch to the coach. 

After introducing himself, Judge presented O’Sullivan with video of his javelin throws from high school. He analyzed his own technique and highlighted the areas  in which he felt he could improve. O’Sullivan responded by telling Judge to come into the office one day to talk more – marking the beginning of what has been an incredibly successful collegiate career for the soon-to-be graduate.  

Judge has earned All-Big East honors in each of his first three seasons at Villanova. He placed second in the conference at the Big East Championship during both his freshman and sophomore years, before finally taking home the title as a junior. That same season, Judge qualified for the NCAA East Preliminary meet, the first Villanova thrower to do so since 2008. 

Despite the results he has achieved, it was not all that long ago that Judge first picked up the javelin. Judge’s first love was baseball, but when he was unable to make the team his junior year of high school, he ended up turning to track and field. 

“I started indoor track as conditioning for baseball,” Judge said. “Turns out I’m not that fast. I wound up long jumping and doing the shot put, was not very good at either of those. During outdoor season, I started javelin and I fell in love with it.” 

As Judge is sure to emphasize, javelin is a highly technical event. A big throw not only requires great strength, but also, impeccable technique. Release angle, timing and speed on the runway are all crucial aspects of a successful throw.  

“I equate the javelin throw to being a rubber band,” Judge said. “You want to stretch that rubber band as much as possible so that it can snap back as fast as possible.” 

For Judge, that “rubber band” never snapped better than at the Big East Championship in Geneva, Ohio a year ago. There, Judge set his personal best mark of 65.28 meters, winning the conference title and placing himself third all-time in the javelin in Villanova’s storied track and field history. 

“I always say I left my heart in Geneva, Ohio,” Judge said. “That was like a 15-foot PR. I worked so hard for that throw.” 

For Judge, one of the most special parts of that day was having his mom, dad and sister in the stands to watch. 

“My family is the absolute backbone of everything I do,” Judge said. “They’re my good luck charm. Whenever they show up at a meet, they’re such a calming presence. I do not think that I would be able to get through my college experience without them.”

His family, or more specifically his father’s work, has also provided him an extremely unique fun fact. Judge’s godfather is legendary actor, Al Pacino, a result of his father serving as Pacino’s executive assistant for 17 years.  

While Judge’s family has undoubtedly been a part of his success, his achievements are also a testament to the hard work he himself has put in. The senior, who will be graduating this May as a political science major with a minor in philosophy, takes his athletic training extremely seriously. Between practices, workouts and the stretching and injury prevention exercises Judge goes through on his own time, he estimates that he spends 25 to 30 hours a week on athletics when in season. 

In addition to this commitment and his schoolwork, Judge serves as a co-president of the Student Athletic Advisory Committee, a role he shares with two other Villanova student-athletes, Erin Keaveny of women’s swimming and diving and Laura Persinski of women’s lacrosse. The committee, among other things, is responsible for implementing priority class registration for athletes, a measure that has been key to making the demands of student-athlete life at Villanova sustainable. 

As the 2019 season comes to a close, Judge is focused on finishing his collegiate career on a strong note. This past weekend, Judge competed in one of the most prestigious track and field events in the world, the Penn Relays. There, Judge notched a third place finish with a throw of 63.51 meters, despite being forced to throw into a strong headwind. 

“Competing at the Penn Relays is one of the highest honors you can have as a Villanova track and field athlete,” Judge said. “I felt like I brought my A-game and competed very well. I am thrilled to have finished third and have represented Villanova to the best of my abilities.” 

Judge will return to action on Friday, May 10 when the Big East Championships are set to begin in New York. There, he will be looking to repeat as individual champion in javelin and to help the team capture something that has eluded them during Judge’s first three years. 

“I’ve never won a Big East outdoor team title,” Judge said. “I want that one bad. It’s going to take a huge effort from everyone. I’m hoping to bring 10 points. That is a huge goal for me.”