Philly College Athletes at the US Olympic Track & Field Trials – Day Two

June 22, 2024 –

Three locals took to the track to compete for a spot on the US Olympic Track and Field team in Eugene, OR. Villanova middle distance runner Liam Murphy advances to the 1500m final and the University of Pennsylvania 400m runner Isabella Whittaker also will be in the final. Both runners automatically qualified by finishing second in their individual heat. Villanova graduate Sanaa Barnes is in the final in the women’s high jump.

Let’s look at the details from Day Two.

Men’s 1500m

In the first heat of the semifinal round Murphy, a Villanova junior and graduate Casey Comber took to the starting line. Comber was in the middle of the pack while Murphy found himself behind the runners. The Wildcat is known for his finishing kick and over the last 300 meters he ran a time of :39.17 and came from 11th place to finish second and advance to the final to compete for a trip to Paris. Murphy time of 3:38.08, was just .19 seconds behind heat one winner Cole Hocker. The splits Murphy ran were; 1:00.46 at 400 meters, 1:00.83 at 800 meters, :57.63 at 1200 meters, and the fastest overall split (:39.17) at the end. Murphy is the 10th fastest overall in the final round. Yared Nuguse is the top qualifier running a 3:34.09 time which equaled a meet record. He did so in heat two. Comber will not advance. His time was 3:39.20, ninth in his heat and 18th overall. He ran splits of; 1:00.80, 1:00.01, :57.79, and :40.62. The top five finishers in each heat and the next two fastest times will run in the final on Monday.

Women’s 400m

Whittaker will run in the final as she finished second in heat three with a time of :50.48. Her time between 300 and 400 meters was :13.76, fastest in her heat and third fastest split overall in that part of the race. Whittaker came from 6th place to 2nd place. She had the ninth fastest time overall. The top qualifier was Kaylyn Brown of Arkansas hitting the finish line in :49.71. The top five from each heat and the next two fastest times advanced to the final on Sunday.

Local Flavor

Former Villanova high jumper Sanaa Barnes (Class of 2023) advances to the finals in the women’s high jump clearing 1.83m. Barnes was good on all three jumps. Also at that height and advancing is Vashti Cunningham, daughter of former Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Randall Cunningham. She had one attempt to advance to the final.

In the Men’s Decathlon Kyle Garland from Ft. Washington, PA did not finish due to injury. His last event was in the Discus where he threw a distance of 45.23, sixth best in the event. Garland amassed 6,231 points.

Written By: Glenn Papazian


Liam Murphy – Photo Courtesy of Villanova Media Relations

1 Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.