This past Saturday, the Villanova Men’s and Women’s track teams both topped off their indoor seasons as Big East Champions.
The Men’s team championship came at the close of a very narrow win in the Big East Championships. This is the men’s team’s fifth conference title in the last six seasons, as they finished out with a winning score of 174.5 points. Junior distance runner Casey Comber was named the Outstanding Track Performer of the meet, and head coach Marcus O’Sullivan and his coaching staff were named the Big EastCoaching Staff of the Year.
Comber was the individual Big East champion in the Mile, was part of another championship in the 4x800 meter relay, and added a runner-up finish in the 5000 meters to personally account for 20.5 of the Wildcats’ team points. Villanova won five events in all at the conference meet while producing 15 top-three finishes. Villanova, as it does very often, dominated the long-distance competition. The Wildcats had two athletes make the podium in both the Mile and the 3000 meters and also produced seven point scorers from those two events.
In addition, the Wildcats’ eighth Big East indoor title all-time was made possible with the performance of the field events. Villanova scored 41.5 points in the high jump, the triple jump, and the shot put on Saturday afternoon. The men’s team did not secure their championship until the last event of the day, the high jump. A pair of athletes on the podium and four finishers in the top seven of the event led to the Wildcats taking the lead in total points for the victory.
Meanwhile, the women’s team also made history as the team won its record 16th Big East Championship. The Wildcats’ 194 team points marked the highest team score in the 37-year history of the meet and led the Wildcats to a 72-point margin of victory. Junior sprinter Trudy-Ann Williamson shared the Outstanding Track Performer Award and also tied for being the meet’s highest point scorer. In addition, Gina Procaccio and her staff were awarded the Big East Coaching Staff of the Year trophy.
Williamson won two individual victories in the 60 meters and the 200 meters to take home the Most Outstanding Track Performer Award, being the first Villanova women’s runner to win both. Williamson defended her title in the 60 meters with a winning time of 7.42, then went on to win the 200 meters with a new personal best time of 24.13. She joins former Wildcats sprinter Varonica Johnson as the only Villanova women to be indoor BIG EAST champions in the 200 meters. Williamson also continued the Wildcats’ streak of winning at least a share of the Outstanding Track Performer Award for a fourth consecutive season.
The Women’s team earned 71 team points on Friday, the first day of competition, after winning the distance medley relay, the pole vault and the pentathlon. Saturday’s action began with a massive lead, and sophomore middle distance runner Rachel McArthur lead the Wildcats to a Top 4 sweep in the Mile. From there, the Wildcats never were threatened for the top spot.
In addition, other performances of note include junior sprinter McKenna Keegan as the 800-meter champion and freshman Sanaä Barnes winning the high jump in the meet’s final event. Villanova added a win in the 4x800 meter relay with a lineup of senior Sammy Bockoven, freshman Taryn O’Neill, freshman Reilly Siebert and senior Nicole Hutchinson. The team had a total of 17 top-three finishes in the meet.
The Wildcats will next compete t on March 8th in the Indoor NCAA Championships in Birmingham, Alabama.