PHILADELPHIA, PA. 4/28/2018 – The Villanova men’s relay teams capped a successful weekend at the Penn Relays by winning the 4 x Mile race after taking the Distance Medley Relay the previous day. The hard fought victory in this relay was the 20th for the Wildcats which tied Arkansas for the Relays record. Nova covered the distance in 16:23.75.
This was the first time that the Villanova men’s teams won two titles in the same relays since 1984 when they won the 4 x 800 and the 4 x Mile. A member of those teams was Coach Marcus O’Sullivan. He can share the joy his runners feel, those who waited a long time to experience this moment.
“It’s unbelievable,” said second runner Ben Malone. “It’s special to get two (Wheels) in one weekend, and I can’t thank these guys enough. I’ve learned a lot from them. They are very special people.”
It was another gutsy performance by anchor Casey Comber, who anchored both teams. He turned in a split of 4:04.5, the fastest of all of the anchor runners, and did so after anchoring the DMR team on Friday. The freshman grabbed the lead from Iona anchor Chartt Miller who ran a 4:05.4. Around the last turn Comber needed to hold off Hoya fourth runner Amos Bartlesmeyer, and did.
“I got myself in a good position,” said Comber. “I feel I ran a smart race and executed well. Coming around that bend and got the lead, I felt I was going to protect my lead as best as I can. The guys got me on a good spot, then it was about fighting, and fighting, and fighting as hard as I could to bring it home.”
This was a tactical race throughout. Nova was one of five teams who were in the lead pack all of the race. The lead changed hands between the team from the Main Line, Georgetown (16:24.22), Princeton (16:25.16), Iona (16:25.26), and Adams State (16:26.06). All five teams finished within two and a quarter seconds of one another.
The Wildcats were always in a good position. This race is not won at the start, but it can be lost at the start. Lead runner Logan Wetzel (4:09.0) had the team placed in the necessary position.
“Our job was to get into the last four hundred meters and deliver,” said Wetzel.
He passed the baton to Malone who ran a 4:04.6, then Andrew Marston covered his segment in 4:05.7. Marston had to get the stick to Comber with an opportunity to bring it home.
“Casey is cold hard cash,” said Marston. “Marcus said just run with these guys, don’t try to be a hero. I was trying to do that and it helped a lot. They were pulling away a little bit, then I went around the Iona guy, and thought that should help. I felt good about our chances.”
A tradition renewed for Nova.
“I think we did something special,” expressed Malone.