Track Finds Success Across the Board in New York


Courtesy of Villanova Athletics

Track Finds Success Across the Board in New York

Nick France

The Villanova track team competed this past weekend at the Dr. Sander Invitational/Columbia Challenge at New York Armory, with success across the board. 

On Friday, the women’s team competed in six events, most notably the Distance Medley Relay, in which they set this season’s top time across the NCAA. The winning lineup of sophomore Rachel McArthur, junior Amari Onque-Shabazz, junior McKenna Keegan and senior Nicole Hutchinson finished with the time of 10:59.98, which is the seventh time in school history the Wildcats have broken the 11-minute-mark at the indoor DMR. Villanova had already held the season’s best marks in the indoor DMR, with an 11:25.22 at Navy earlier this month. McArthur opened up the race with a split of 3:25.76 on the first 1200 meters, followed by Onque-Shabazz’s 55.75 400-meter leg, then Keegan’s split of 2:07.12 over 800 meters. Hutchinson rounded out the race with a split of 4:31.35 on the 1600-meter anchor leg to secure Villanova’s season-leading time. 

Head coach Gina Procaccio told the team to focus on breaking 11 minutes and not worry about anything else. After the race, Hutchinson stated that the four “were definitely all confident that we could run that fast, so we just wanted to take care of business and prove that we’re going to be a team to watch at indoor NCAAs.” They certainly did take care of business, and established themselves as the team to beat in the indoor NCAAs. 

Other highlights of the meet on Friday include sophomore sprinter Trudy-Ann Williamson finishing with a time of 7.56 in the preliminary heats of the 60 meters. Williamson came in third in her heat and placed ninth overall out of 39 competitors in the preliminaries. However, she missed qualifying for the final by only a thousandth of a second. Alex Patrick recorded a 5.33-meter jump in the long jump, as she came in 12th overall at the competition. 

On Saturday, the men’s team was highlighted by the performance of Malik Cunningham, as his 15.41 mark in the triple jump took the Big East lead and placed him 32nd nationally. Cunningham’s finish left him in third, as he measured at least 14.57 meters on all six of his attempts.

In the men’s 4xMile Relay, the team of Villanova sophomore Nick Steele, junior Logan Wetzel, junior Casey Comber, and senior Zach Swenson posted a time of a time of 16:31.60. The Wildcats were one second short of breaking the school record of 16:19.0, set in 1976. The Wildcats finished comfortably ahead of the Duke Blue Devils in the 4-team competition, with two professional teams taking 1st and 2nd. This was only the fourth time the Wildcats had ever run the indoor 4xMile, but their confidence still stood. Comber stated the preparation wasn’t very different at all, the team just had to “be ready to chase some fast guys.” 

Villanova’s only home meet of the season is this Saturday, Feb. 2, at Ocean Breeze Track & Field Athletic Complex.  Both running and field events will begin at 4 p.m.