HAVEFORD, Pa.--Three individual winners highlighted a strong start to the 2017-18 track & field season as Villanova hosted the annual Jack Pyrah Invitational at Haverford College on Saturday afternoon. Junior sprinter Harry Purcell (Dublin, Ireland) won the 500 meters, while sophomore Thomas Conboy (Saratoga Springs, N.Y.) and junior Henry Sise (Hawthorn Woods, Ill.) posted wins in the pole vault and the shot put.
This is the 15th straight year that the Wildcats have hosted the local Jack Pyrah meet, which is named after the program’s former longtime assistant coach. Three other Division I teams – La Salle, Norfolk State and Saint Joseph’s – also competed in this year’s version of the meet. Villanova competed in five individual running events, the 4x400 meter relay and four field events during Saturday’s competition.
Purcell won the 500 meters with a time of 1:03.39 and paced six Wildcats who ran in the event. Three of those six entries were making their collegiate debuts. Freshman Tory Young (Baltimore, Md.) finished sixth with a time of 1:016.19 and was followed closely by classmates Amir Brock (Egg Harbor Twp., N.J.) and Keegan Hughes (Malvern, Pa.) with times of 1:06.20 and 1:07.79. Sophomore Konrad Bayer (Naperville, Ill.) tallied a time of 1:08.26 and junior Utsav Deshpande (Ronkonkoma, N.Y.) finished in 1:09.79.
Conboy got off to a strong start in the pole vault by clearing the bar on his first attempts at 4.10 and 4.30 meters. He made it over the bar on his second try at 4.45 meters and on his first approach at 4.55 meters to lead a field of four competitors. Sise won the pole vault with a mark of 15.68 meters, the second best indoor distance he has recorded in the event. Sophomore Chika Nwachukwu (Lawrence, N.J.) came in third with a throw of 13.54 meters, while freshmen Alex Telma (St. Louis, Mo.) and Billy Loewen (Sparta, N.J.) recorded distances of 12.92 meters and 12.25 meters in the first meets of their collegiate careers.
Saturday’s meet afforded eight different Villanova freshmen the chance to compete at the collegiate level for the first time. In addition to Brock, Hughes, Loewen, Telma and Young, the other three newcomers were Richie Bush (Lawnside, N.J.), Michael Troup (Doylestown, Pa.) and Vincent Sengelmann.
Three meet records were broken on Saturday, with new standards being established in the 1000 meters, the 60 meter hurdles and the high jump. Alfredo Santana from Juventus Track Club in Philadelphia won the 1000 meters in 2:26.58 to beat the record of 2:27.99 that Wildcats runner Matthew Wikler set in 2010. Ache Hall of La Salle won the hurdles in 8.42 to break the mark of 8.50 held by Jeff Ainsley of Haverford (2014). Jacob Milton from Norfolk State had a high jump mark of 2.15 meters to dislodge the height of 2.01 meters set by Temple’s Tim Malloy in 2010.
Click on the links at the top of this release for complete results of the Jack Pyrah Invitational, as well as for a rundown of all Villanova events from Saturday afternoon. Next up for the Wildcats is the Nittany Lion Challenge at Penn State on January 13.