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Villanova and the Sub-Four Minute Mile

For more than half a century, the incredible middle distance runners that have competed for Villanova and represented the university on a worldwide stage have made up a substantial part of the tradition of excellences that defines the Wildcats track & field program.

There is one particular part of the program’s history of middle distance greatness which stands out the most and it is the reputation Villanova has for developing world champion milers, as evidenced by the extraordinary number of Wildcats who have won a sub-four minute mile.

Over the years the Villanova numbers for one of running’s greatest achievements have simply been staggering. An elite group that consists of 39 runners from the Wildcats program has combined to post sub-four minute times in the Mile or an equivalent time in the 1500 meters (3:42.20) an astonishing 660 times.

The list of Villanovans who have rub a sub-four minute mile spans more than 50 years, beginning with Ron Delany in 1958 and continuing most recently with current team member Ben Malone. The sub-four minute mile has always been a benchmark for middle distance runners and the Villanova milers who have achieved it have used the accomplishment as a springboard in their careers. As a group the sub-four milers to come through the Wildcats program have made a combined 22 appearances in the Olympics.

In the group of world champion milers that have come through the Wildcats program, few can boast a resume that is on par with the achievements of head coach Marcus O'Sullivan, who is one of just three men in history to have broken the four-minute barrier at least 100 times. O'Sullivan ran his 100th sub-four minute Mile in February, 1998 at the Millrose Games and during his racing career accomplished the feat 101 times, plus another 83 races in which he ran sub-four equivalents in the 1500 meters.

During his tenure as Villanova, O'Sullivan has also coached 14 sub-four minute milers, including five runners who have joined this exclusive club in the past five years. Sam McEntee joined the club during the 2012 indoor season at the Penn State National and Rob Denault accomplished the feat during the 2013 indoor season at the Alex Wilson Invitational. Jordy Williamsz ran a time of 3:36.74 in the 1500 meters at Swarthmore on May 14, 2012 prior to beginning his Villanova career, and he also had a time of 3:56.84 in the Mile on February 15, 2014 during his collegiate career.

The two newest members of the sub-four minute mile club are Dusty Solis and Ben Malone, who each ran sub-four equivalents in the 1500 meters during the 2016 outdoor season. Solis, 2015 graduate, posted a time of 3:39.32 on May 16, 2016 at Princeton on June 18, 2016.

Villanova has added nine runners to the sub-four minute club in the last 10 years. That streak had a definitive starting point, as both Bobby Curtis and Michael Kerrigan ran a sub-four minute mile on the same day at the Swarthmore Last Chance Invitational on May 14, 2007. Since then Villanova has added to its legacy with a sub-four equivalent run by Matthew Gibney in the 1500 meters at the NCAA Championships in 2009; Gibney later went on to post a mile time of 3:58.12 at the Flotrack Husky Classic in February, 2011. He was joined on the sub-four list by Carl Mackenzie, who ran a 1500 meters equivalent on May 10.

AthleteFastest MileDateNumberFastest 1500DateNumberTotal
Marcus O'Sullivan3:50.962/14/871013:34.575/20/9283184
Eamonn Coghlan3:49.781/27/83753:35.602/20/8126101
Sydney Maree3:48.839/9/81513:29.778/25/854797
Marty Liquori3:52.205/17/75263:36.006/30/711945
Adrian Blincoe3:54.409/7/03123:35.506/9/013143
Phil Kane3:55.877/3/79143:39.107/6/782337
Don Paige3:54.195/9/82103:37.336/17/79616
Gerry O'Reilly3:54.636/14/8673:37.407/10/87512
Ross Donoghue3:55.295/13/8483:36.954/28/84412
Dick Buerkle3:54.931/13/7863:39.801/13/78511
Frank Murphy3:58.106/7/6933:38.506/14/7269
John Hartnett3:54.706/21/7343:38.106/22/7448
Louie Quintana   3:40.375/23/9388
Jason Jabaut3:57.266/1/0723:40.596/23/0568
Mark Belger3:57.404/16/8053:39.308/19/7927
Ryan Hayden3:58.275/18/0213:39.79 56
Matthew Gibney3:58.122/12/1113:38.347/1/1156
Rob Denault3:59.393/2/1343:41.585/25/1337
Jordy Williamsz3:56.842/15/1413:36.745/14/1256
Dave Patrick3:56.806/1/6833:39.906/15/6814
Ron Delany3:57.508/6/5833:41.2012/1/5614
Sam McEntee3:57.861/28/1223:36.815/14/1213
Ken Nason3:58.914/1/9513:41.246/2/9523
John Keyworth3:59.437/14/8413:41.785/11/8523
Sean O'Neill   3:38.865/30/8733
Bobby Curtis3:57.205/14/0713:40.255/13/0812
Amos Korir3:59.301/12/792   2
Stephen Howard3:58.805/14/971   1
Brad Sumner3:59.114/29/951   1
Michael Kerrigan3:59.605/14/071   1
Pat Traynor3:59.608/10/681   1
Chris Mason3:59.905/30/701   1
Dusty Solis   3:39.325/16/1611
Ben Malone   3:39.826/18/1611
Tom Parlapiano   3:41.515/14/0411
Carl Mackenzie   3:41.995/10/1011
Ken Schappert   3:42.004/24/7611
Jan Friedli   3:42.085/28/8811
Dean Childs   3:42.107/4/7811

Mark Belger
Fastest Mile: 3:57.40
Fastest 1500 Meters: 3:39.30

Adrian Blincoe
Fastest Mile: 3:54.40
Fastest 1500 Meters: 3:35.50

Dick Buerkle
Fastest Mile: 3:54.93
Fastest 1500 Meters: 3:39.80

Dean Childs
Fastest 1500 Meters: 3:42.10

Eamonn Coghlan
Fastest Mile: 3:49.78
Fastest 1500 Meters: 3:35.60

Bobby Curtis
Fastest Mile: 3:57.20
Fastest 1500 Meters: 3:40.25

Ron Delany
Fastest Mile: 3:57.50
Fastest 1500 Meters: 3:41.20

Rob Denault
Fastest Mile: 3:59.39

Ross Donoghue
Fastest Mile: 3:55.29
Fastest 1500 Meters: 3:36.95

Jan Friedli
Fastest 1500 Meters: 3:42.08

Matthew Gibney
Fastest Mile: 3:58.12
Fastest 1500 Meters: 3:38.34

John Hartnett
Fastest Mile: 3:54.70
Fastest 1500 Meters: 3:38.10

Ryan Hayden
Fastest Mile: 3:58.27
Fastest 1500 Meters: 3:39.79

Stephen Howard
Fastest Mile: 3:58.80

Jason Jabaut
Fastest Mile: 3:57.26
Fastest 1500 Meters: 3:40.59

Phil Kane
Fastest Mile: 3:55.87
Fastest 1500 Meters: 3:39.10

Michael Kerrigan
Fastest Mile: 3:59.60

John Keyworth
Fastest Mile: 3:59.43
Fastest 1500 Meters: 3:41.78

Amos Korir
Fastest Mile: 3:59.30

Marty Liquori
Fastest Mile: 3:52.20
Fastest 1500 Meters: 3:36.00

Carl Mackenzie
Fastest 1500 Meters: 3:41.99

Ben Malone
Fastest 1500 Meters: 3:39.82

Sydney Maree
Fastest Mile: 3:48.83
Fastest 1500 Meters: 3:29.77

Chris Mason
Fastest Mile: 3:59.90

Sam McEntee
Fastest Mile: 3:57.86
Fastest 1500 Meters: 3:36.81

Frank Murphy
Fastest Mile: 3:58.10
Fastest 1500 Meters: 3:38.50

Ken Nason
Fastest Mile: 3:58.91
Fastest 1500 Meters: 3:48.24

Sean O'Neill
Fastest 1500 Meters: 3:38.86

Gerry O'Reilly
Fastest Mile: 3:54.63
Fastest 1500 Meters: 3:37.40

Marcus O'Sullivan
Fastest Mile: 3:50.96
Fastest 1500 Meters: 3:34.57

Don Paige
Fastest Mile: 3:54.19
Fastest 1500 Meters: 3:37.33

Tom Parlapiano
Fastest 1500 Meters: 3:41.51

Dave Patrick
Fastest Mile: 3:56.80
Fastest 1500 Meters: 3:39.90

Louie Quintana
Fastest 1500 Meters: 3:40.37

Ken Schappert
Fastest 1500 Meters: 3:42.00

Dusty Solis
Fastest 1500 Meters: 3:39.32

Brad Sumner
Fastest Mile: 3:59.11

Pat Traynor
Fastest Mile: 3:59.60

Jordy Williamsz
Fastest Mile: 3:56.84
Fastest 1500 Meters: 3:36.74