PHILADELPHIA, PA. 4/26/2019 – The Villanova Men’s Distance Medley Relay team looked to defend their Penn Relays title, but a fall in the last turn of, the 1200 meter segment put them at the back of the pack. However, undaunted, Wildcat sophomore Casey Comber got the lead back late in the anchor 1600 meter leg. The energy expense was too great and Villanova faded to 7th place. The Wisconsin Badgers won their first relay title in 103 years with a time of 9:47.19.
“The guys rallied really well bring them all back into it, and that was a positive,” said Villanova Coach Marcus O’Sullivan.
In the last lap of the 1200 meter leg Nick Steele got tangled up and lost his footing. He was able to gather himself and complete the run, but Nova was in last place behind by 8 seconds. Steele ran a 3:06.66. Harry Purcell (47.36) and Logan Wetzel (1:50.52) started a Nova comeback. It was slow, but everyone was a bit muddled in the driving rain. It was up to Comber.
“He (Comber) got it moving pretty quick and others started to follow suit,” said O’Sullivan about the race tightening up so much so quickly. “They did not want to squander the opportunity to get back into it.”
He started 50 yards behind, but managed to close to third place in the third lap, then took the lead at the bell. All 12 teams were in the mix, The energy expended was too much, then Wisconsin and Indiana dueled for the lead over the last turn. Comber ran a 4:06.79 split.
“Casey had so much work to do, and it took the steam out of him,” O’Sullivan said. “He got the pace moving himself. I could see it in his face at the 200 meter mark, I’m all out.”
Villanova turned in a time of 9:51.32.
Saint Joseph’s placed 9th crossing the line in 9:54.05. John Walker started running a 3:02.06. Michael Szwed ran a 49.08, followed by Rory Houston turning in a 1:53.06 performance. Zachary Michon finished with a 1600 time of 4:09.90.
Penn started the race but did not finish.
The winning Badgers team was made up of Morgan McDonald (2:58.22), Corbin Ellis (47.39), Eric Brown (1:49.57), and Oliver Hoare (4:12.02).
“Ollie is a 3:37 guy, and you can’t give that guy a 50-yard lead,” said O’Sullivan. You can’t give them any lead.”
Villanova has another chance to bring home a Championship Wheel on Saturday as they will compete in the 4 x Mile race which the Wildcats won last year.
Written By: Glenn Papazian
Keep th he Penn relays going and return track and field to its r rightful place!