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by Paul Regan

The Villanova track and field team competed in the Penn State National this past weekend, its first major event of the indoor track and field season. Teams from all across the country, including Stanford, Georgetown, West Virginia, Syracuse and host Penn State, competed in the two-day event held at the Horace Ashenfelter III Indoor track.

On Friday night, the men’s distance medley relay team finished in third place with a time of 9:36.89 behind Penn State and Stanford. The team consisted of sophomores Jordy Williamsz and Rob Denault, freshman Ayomide Obadare and senior Chris FitzSimons.

The Wildcats also had a second distance medley relay team run in the unseeded section. The team of junior Dusty Solis, freshman Peter Winslow, senior Chris O’Sullivan and graduate student Mike Palmisano recorded a second place finish in 9:52.64.

Junior Tom Trainer finished in 17th place (15:12.36) in the individual section of the 5000 meters and senior Chris Dougherty tied for eighth place (4.51 meters) in the pole vault.

On Saturday, freshman Patrick Tiernan set a meet record in the 3000 meters with a time of 7:57.75. Tiernan broke a 14-year facility record in an exciting finish in which he beat Stanford’s Erik Olson by just three-tenths of a second.

Despite such an impressive feat, Tiernan played it cool when asked about his race.

“I didn’t have any expectations going in, I just wanted to see where I’m at,”  Tiernan said. “But I should be looking forward to a pretty good season.”

Senior Sam McEntee and junior Brian Basili also competed in the 3000 meters, finishing in fourth (8:02.07) and 16th place (8:19.59), respectively.

Williamsz came in second place in the invitational section of the mile. His time of 4:00.18 was the second fastest of his career and the fourth-fastest recorded this year in the nation.

Senior Sam Ellison tied for fourth place in the invitational section of the 800 meters with a 1:49.35. In a close one at the finish line, the top six runners were separated by less than half of a second.

The 4×800 relay team of Solis, O’Sullivan, FitzSimons and freshman Ben Malone won by almost nine seconds with a time of 7:36.41.

On Friday night, the women’s distance medley relay team recorded a third place finish with a time of 11:04.54. The team consisted of sophomore Angel Piccirillo, junior Varonica Johnson and seniors Nicky Akande and Emily Lipari.

On Saturday, Lipari won the 3000 meters by less than a second. Her time of 9:09.37 was the second best of her career and the second-fastest recorded this year in the nation.

Junior Stephanie Schappert won the 1000 meters in 2:48.60 and Piccirillo came in fifth in the 800 meters with a time of 2:07.87.

Junior Alexandra Wasik set a personal best in the pole vault by clearing 4.01 meters to take second place.

Johnson tied for second place in the 200 meters unseeded with a 24.68 and sophomore Anne Yahiro took 10th (11.77 meters) in the triple jump.

Tiernan thought the weekend was a good chance for the Wildcats to showcase their strengths in a number of different events as well as come together as a team to start the indoor season.

“It was really important and a good opportunity to build team chemistry,” Tiernan said. “It was good to have everyone together in one place.”

The track and field team will travel to New York next weekend to compete in the Armory Collegiate Invitational.

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