Quaker athletics impresses at Villanova Invitational

Junior Grace O’Shea runs against a Villanova athlete in the 100 meter hurdles during a meet at Franklin Field on April 24, 2021. Credit: Samantha Turner

It was an eventful day for Penn’s track teams at the Villanova Invitational held in Staten Island, NY. The Quakers continued their momentum from last week’s Penn 10-Team Select and put in a strong performance in New York.

The women’s effort was highlighted by junior sprinter and hurdler Katherine Muccio, who won the 60 meters with a time of 7.69 seconds and finished fourth in the 60 meters hurdles, crossing the finish line with a time of 8.80 seconds.

“I was a bit nervous at the start. I didn’t run the 60 hurdles or the 60 [meter dash] a lot, but I was just excited and wanted to trust my training,” Muccio said. “I think I have such good teammates. I rely on them… they can rely on me too. I couldn’t do it without them.

Muccio’s time was good enough to rank in the top ten in program history.

“When the competition started, I thought we had started the day quietly, and I think Katherine was really kind of a spark plug for us,” coach Steve Dolan said. “She kind of surprised everyone when she won the 60 [meter dash]it was a huge race for her.”

Distance runner Maeve Stiles scored another key result for the team with a win in the 3,000 meter race. Her teammate, Elizabeth Bader, finished fourth. Caia Gelli also impressed with a second place in the 200 meters and another second place in the 500 meters.

The men’s team also performed exceptionally well. The 1,000 meter event was a goldmine for the Quakers, with three runners finishing in the top five. Senior Ray Sellaro took first place, while teammates Justin Cornetta and James Lee finished third and fourth respectively. Sellaro’s time of 2:23:57 is the third best in Quaker history.

“Ray had a great race. This whole group actually ran a great race…they worked as a group,” Dolan said. “Ray had the best closing kick to get that time.”

In the high jump, Michael Hermes won the event with a height of 2.00 meters and Mark Anselmi finished third. The Quakers also finished 1-2 in the men’s pole vault with James Rhoads and Benedikt Sachta posting 5.05 and 4.85 meters respectively. The men’s 4×400 meters relay team also finished second.

Looking ahead to the Penn State event next week, the goal remains the same: consistent improvement week after week.

“The goal is to get better every week,” Dolan said. “I’m really excited to see our pitchers compete at Penn State next week.”

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