Villanova Falls Short in Quest For 2022 Penn Relays Championship Wheels

Villanova Defeated in Men’s 4 x Mile Relay and Women’s 4 x 800 Meters Relay Races

PHILADELPHIA, PA. 4/30/2022 –

The Villanova Wildcats middle distance relay teams, both men’s and women’s, have enjoyed great success at the Penn Relays. The Wildcats did not bring home a Championship of America Penn Relays Wheel in the 2022 meet, something that happened only seven times in the 21st Century. Friday at the Relays both Distance Medley Relay teams finished behind the competition. It was the last chance for Villanova as the men’s team competed in the 4 x Mile Relay and the women were entered into the 4 x 800 Meters Relay. The men came in fifth place in the Mile race and the women finished fourth in the half mile relay.

The middle distance relays are the Distance Medley Relays, the 4 x 800 Meters, the 4 x 1500 Meters, and the 4 x Mile. The Villanova women’s team did not compete in the 4 x 1500 Meters.

Men’s 4 x Mile Relay

The Wildcats took home a Wheel in this event in 2018. Villanova stayed within the top five in the race. All nine teams ran in a bunch, all in contention to win it all. Texas won the race. Villanova was fifth. All five teams crossed the finish line within one second of one another. Penn came in sixth 1.38 seconds in back. In addition to the city schools Texas, Georgetown, Providence, Virginia, Wisconsin, and North Carolina traded or tried for the lead.

Villanova took command in the second leg when Charlie O’Donovan went ahead.

“We were a small bit behind, and I wanted to close that gap as much as possible, but I think I did that a bit quick,” said O’Donovan.

Georgetown regained the lead with Villanova and Providence on their heels. Texas was fifth at the beginning of the last leg. The Wildcats had Sean Dolan running the anchor leg. The Longhorns won it down the stretch behind Crayton Carrozza who ran a 4:03.78 split. Dolan turned in a time of 4:05.11.

“It was a dog fight at the end,” Dolan said. “I played my cards maybe a step too early and good guys got around me. I tried my best to hang on.”

Texas ran a time of 16:17.45. Virginia was second (16:17.89), Providence finished third (16:17.92), Georgetown fourth (16:18.04), followed by Villanova (16:18.38), and Penn (16:18.93).

Josh Phillips led off for Villanova and ran a time of 4:08.53. O’Donovan ran a blistering 4:00.83, the third fastest split in the race. Sean Donoghue ran the third leg turning in a time of 4:03.91. He was in second place handing the baton to Dolan.

Villanova has won this event twenty times in program history. They were not successful this year, but look forward to running for their school in the Penn Relays, a meaningful event for the program.

Sean Dolan

“People have been asking me what it means to run for Villanova in the Penn Relays,” said Dolan. “It’s been an absolute dream, specifically this day running in the four by mile. Hearing the ‘Go Nova’ chants in the back stretch, knowing my guys are behind me. We didn’t win today, but we’ll be back next year.”

Women’s 4 x 800 Meters Relay

Penn State won the race in a thriller by just over a half second over Big Ten rival Ohio State. The Nittany Lions needed to set a program record to do that, running a time of 8:24.49 seconds when anchor runner Victoria Tachinski crossed the finish line. She held off Buckeyes anchor Aziza Ayoub by focusing on the line and using crowd communication to know how fast she needed to go.

“I can feed off the crowd and they’ll let me know what’s going on,” Tachinski said. “If it gets loud I know a girl is getting closer. I can definitely use that noise to my advantage.”

BYU, who won the women’s distance medley relay on Friday, was in third place running a time of 8:28.24.

Penn State won the Sprint Medley on Friday. Their goal was two wheels and two watches and got it.

Villanova finished fourth covering the distance in 8:30.63. Anchor McKenna Keegan got the baton in seventh place, then ran a 2:04.07 split to improve the standing by three places. Lydia Olivere (2:11.20) led off for the Wildcats. She handed the baton to Madison Martinez (2:07.12), then Maya Dorer (2:08.25) ran before handing off to Keegan.

This was the last Penn Relays in which Keegan, a graduate student, would participate. Once the race was over she could reflect on the experience.

McKenna Keegan

“I was trying not to think it was my last one,” Keegan said. “I didn’t want that emotion to take away from the current race I was in. Now that I crossed the finish line I can look around, take in the crowd, and what an incredible experience this has been. It was an honor to compete in the Penn Relays for Villanova.”

The Wildcats won this event 14 times, the most in the event. The last defeat in the event was in 2018.

Written By: Glenn Papazian


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