Track and field well-represented at McElligott Invitational

Mitchell Berrang

The McElligott Invitational was held Saturday afternoon at Haverford College’s Alumni Field House. 

Villanova’s track team began the year at that location, in which they placed first among the two other local collegiate track programs. At the McElligott Invitational, Villanova had 23 athletes  11 men and 12 women – competing.

The male athletes who competed in the day’s events were led by freshman James Deutmeyer’s first place finish in the pole vault. Deutmeyer out jumped seven other pole-vaulters by clearing a very impressive height of 4.70 meters. 

Sophomore Kolby Koeck finished runner-up to Deutmeyer by successfully clearing a height of 4.50 meters. 

Both of these notable marks were their highest registered heights of the season. 

Similar to the victorious men’s pole-vaulters, the women pole-vaulters also dominated the competition by leaps and bounds. Villanova nearly claimed the top six out of the 11 spots in the women’s pole vault. 

Senior Kathleen McPhillips topped the competition by successfully clearing a height of 12 feet, 5 1/2 inches. Junior Virginia LaMacchia claimed second by clearing a height of 11-11 1/2. 

Meanwhile, juniors Alexandra Elder and Abigail Nolte tied for third by clearing a height of 11-5 3/4. 

Freshman Kara Snyder also cleared the bar at 11-5 3/4, but placed fifth. Fellow freshman Bridget Owen placed sixth by successfully clearing the bar at 10-11 3/4.

Villanova found additional success in other field events including the shot put and the long jump. Women’s shot put throwers finished in the top third of the 12 competitors. 

Junior Alita Ostapkovich placed second with a distance 40-1, which is a new personal best. While, sophomore Kristen Erickson finished fourth with a distance of 37- 9. 

The Villanova men’s shot put throwers also had a successful outing. 

Junior James Rowen measured a season-best distance of 43-5 1/2, which propelled him into fifth place. 

Meanwhile, sophomore Dan Sullivan followed closely behind Rowen in sixth with a distance of 42-0 1/4 In women’s long jump, sophomore Ekiah Lewis led the Wildcats with a first place finish after her remarkable leap of 17-10 1/2. 

Senior Katherine Petruzzellis followed suit to Lewis’s phenomenal performances with a personal best distance of 17-5 3/4. Petruzzellis finished second and was runner up to Lewis. Both freshmen Marley Byrne and Katie HoSang finished fourth and fifth with matching distances of 16-2 3/4. 

Once again the stellar efforts put forth by the Villanova women‘s track team caused deserved dominance in yet another field event.

In terms of track events, both men’s and women’s teams participated in 60 meter hurdles and 800 meter race.  

Additionally, the men’s team competed in the mile and 60 meter sprints. 

The men faired a little better than the women, but nonetheless both teams delivered admirable performances. 

In the mile, senior Charlie Bates finished second out of 34 distance runners with a swift time of 4:20.11. 

Freshman Drake Johnston ran eighth, but recorded a personal best time of 4:25.91. 

Bates and Johnson were outran by Widener’s Qadree Counsel who finished in first with a recorded a time of 4:16.71, just under four seconds faster than Bates.

In the men’s 60 meters, the 27 sprinters showed their true speed and were separated by only tenths and hundredths of seconds. Freshman Bryant Herlocker crossed the finish line in 7.39 seconds, granting him sixth place. 

Meanwhile, junior Robert Cacace finished in 17th place with a time of 7.70 seconds.     

Sophomore Kieran Brennan was Villanova’s only participant in the men’s 800 meters. 

Brennan strongly held his ground, and finished the competition in fifth out of 25 with a time of 1:59.25. 

Similarly, Katherine Petruzzellis, who earlier placed second in the long jump, was the only Wildcat in the women’s 800 meter race. 

Petruzzellis too held her own ground with a recorded time of 2:32.14, and finished the longer race in 14th out of a relatively large group of 35. 

In addition to the 60 meters, there was the 60 meter hurdles race. Both men’s and women’s teams competed in this race. 

Villanova’s 10 hurdlers competed very well at the competition. 

Junior Aaron Sandifer achieved second place with a time of 8.67 seconds, while sophomore PJ Succi placed fifth with a time of 9.61 seconds. 

Robert Cacace, who also participated in the 60 meters, followed directly behind Succi by attaining the sixth place with a time of 10.18 seconds.

Freshmen Katie HoSang and Marley Byrne, who both competed earlier in the long jump, placed 10th and 11th respectively out of the group of 13. 

HoSang recorded a time of 10.97 seconds, while Byrne ran closely behind with a time of 11.07 seconds.

Next on deck for Villanova track is the David Hemery Valentine Invitational at Boston University this  weekend. 

Look for both men’s and women’s track and field athletes to really begin to take final form as this upcoming invitational is the last meet before the Big East championships. 

From Villanova’s impressive showing at the McElligott Invitational, it is evident that Villanova will be a force to be reckoned with at the Big East championships.