Margaret Maloney ’23
Men’s Track and Field
The Providence men’s and women’s track and field teams competed at the Friar Invitational at the Ray Treacy Track at Hendricken Field in Providence, R.I. on April 8. The meet featured 14 men’s and women’s teams. There were some great moments from the team that were huge achievements. Liam Back ’24 finished first in the mile with a time of 3:59.06. Ryan Gallagher ’22GS also copped a first place finish in the 5,000 meter race with a time of 13:56.44. And for the third first place finish, Josh Lewin ’24 finished first in his heat in the 800 meters.
Women’s Track and Field
On the women’s side of the Friar Invitational at the Ray Treacy Track, Laura Mooney ’24 took first in the 5,000-meters with a personal best of 16:09.43. Mooney’s time was 17.51 seconds ahead of the next runner — Orla O’Connor ’23 finished in 16:45.26. Nicole Borowiec ’23 ran a personal best in the 100 meter hurdles of 14.51 seconds. Borowiec’s time set a new program and facility record.
The Providence College Women’s Softball team is in a three-game series with the University of Connecticut, tied 1-1. On Friday, April 15, the Friars fell short with a 3-1 loss, but there were still some important highlights from this loss. Jacque Harring ’24 got the Friars on the board with an RBI single to center field. Micaela Abbatine contributed the run for the Friars. Tori Grifone ’24 pitched 3.2 innings for the Friars, allowing two hits while striking out five batters. On April 16, the Friars won in extra innings with a score of 2-1. Lauren Nunez ’22 scored the game winner for the Friars. The Friars faced them one more time on April 18, ending with a score of 8-0 in favor of the Huskies.
The Providence College Men’s Lacrosse team fell to the Villanova Wildcats, 18-13, on Saturday, April 16 at Villanova Stadium in Villanova, PA. The Friars drop to 5-7 overall, 0-3 in Big East play. This high-scoring game allows for a hopeful remainder of the season with lots of Big East play remaining. Providence had nine different goal scorers on the day. Jack Horrigan ’25 recorded a hat trick, while Matt Grillo ’22 and Michael Chabra ’24 also registered multi-point games with two goals each. Up next, the Friars will face University of Denver at home on Saturday, April 23.
The Grand Stage of All: The Olympics
Two Providence College alumni, Emily Sisson ’14 and Ben Connor ’15 competed in the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics. Sisson, one of the most decorated Friars of all-time, competed in the women’s 10,000-meter competition while Connor competed in the men’s marathon.
A lot of hard work and preparation went into both competitors’ journeys to the Olympics. Sisson, a resident of Phoenix, AZ, was a former All-American and NCAA Champion in Friartown.
In 2015, Sisson competed at the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships in Eugene, OR where she became an NCAA Champion in the 5000-meter race with a time of 15:34.10. She then went on to do the same thing in the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships in Fayetteville, AR where she won the 5000-meter race with a time of 15:32.15.
Sisson, now 29 years old, was also part of the Friar cross country team in 2013 which won the NCAA Championship.
After graduating in 2015, Sisson’s first major appearance was at the World Championships in London, United Kingdom in 2017. There she would race in the 10,000 meter race and finish 9th with a time of 31:26.36.
In the buildup to the Olympics, Sisson was required to race in the U.S. Olympic Trials in Eugene, Oregon on June 26, 2021.
Sisson had originally entered the U.S. Olympic marathon trials and was the favorite in the event in Atlanta back in 2020. She would endthe race in heartbreak; after 22 miles she dropped out of the competition.
In a later interview, Sisson said “That really broke my heart. I went all in on that, and it really didn’t work out. I was very confused after.”
She would then race in the 10,000 meter event in Eugene, Oregon and won the race in an Olympic Trials record time of 31:03.82. After taking the lead in the fifth of 25 laps, Sisson never looked back and dominated the event in hot conditions.
Then came the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo. In an interview after the race, Sisson said her goal was to finish sixth to eighth in therace which would be her Olympic track debut.
In the end, she placed 10th in the event with a final time of 31:04.46.
Sisson is still coached by Friar head coach Ray Treacy who has continued to help athletes in his time. She and coach Treacy thought the start of the race may go out a little faster than it did and Treacy told Sisson to “go with the second pack and reel people in and win the race that you’re in.”
In the end, Sisson said “It was a grind, but I’m proud of my effort. Another learning experience.”
The second Providence alumni, Ben Connor, competed in the Men’s Marathon. Connor, from Derby, England had a successful four years in Friartown.
His senior year from 2014-15 would be his most complete year. In Cross Country, Connor placed eighth at the BIG EAST Championships with a time of 23.59.9. A couple of weeks later, he finished second at the NCAA Northeast Regionals with a time of 30:29.2 and collected an All-Regional honor.
At the NCAA Cross Country Championships that same season, Connor placed 30th with a time of 30:48.6 which earned him All-American honors. He would not compete in indoor or outdoor track in his final year as he did his sophomore and junior years.
Connor’s personal best records in his Providence stint was 8:12.18 in the 3,000 meter event, 14:08.11 in the 5,000 meter event, and 29:18.62 in the 10,000 meter event.
After graduating, Connor would head back to the United Kingdom to train and compete. Just like Sisson, Connor trained with coach Ray Treacy in the United States and in Manchester, United Kingdom. However, since 2019, Connor has self- coached.
In 2017, Connor would compete in the English National Cross Country Championships where he won the event. In 2019, Connor won the British Championships Night of 10K PBs event and the Podium 5k event. In 2020, he ran a half-marathon personal best time of 1:00:55 in Antrim where he finished third but was the fourth fastest half marathon time by a Briton.
Connor’s first marathon was the 2020 London Marathon. He finished the race as the second highest finishing Briton, at 10 seconds better than the Olympic qualifying time. He would finish 15th in the event.
In the 2021 British Athletics Marathon, Connor met the qualification time and finished second at the trial event to qualify for the 2020 Summer Olympics.
Wheeler and Coffin Set Pace for Friars Track and Field
Runners Excel in Championship Races
By Joseph Quirk ’23 and Cam Smith ’21
Sports Staff and Sports Co-Editor
Last month, two Providence College athletes took their talents to the NCAA championships. Abbey Wheeler ’20GS finished fifth in the 5,000-meter at the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships. Maria Coffin ’21 placed 99th out of 253 runners at the NCAA Cross Country Championships. The Cowl sat down with each runner to reflect on their NCAA experiences, the challenges of racing in the COVID-19 pandemic, and their goals for the future.
Abbey Wheeler ’20GS:
During her illustrious career at PC, Abbey Wheeler ’20GS has been one of the most consistently dominant athletes on campus. Wheeler, recently named the United States Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association 2021 Women’s Track Athlete of the Year, recently finished fifth at the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships for the 5,000-meter race.
The fifth place finish earned Wheeler an All-American nod, her third in her PC career. The championships took place in Fayetteville, AR, and Wheeler described the experience as both “wonderful” and “different” from other meets she had been to because of COVID-19 protocols.
“It’s always so exciting to be at a meet where you’re truly among the best of the best,” Wheeler said. “That’s always a bit nerve-racking, but also exciting where you get to test yourself in a field where there are no soft spots.”
One would imagine that such a race would stir up a slew of emotions, but Wheeler kept herself composed, despite how difficult she said it could be. That would be needed, as she described the race itself as an “odd run” where the pack paced weirdly and stayed together for a lot of the race.
“It was really difficult to remain comfortable and composed with all those weird pacing things going on,” Wheeler said. She added that “with everyone getting a little aggressive with pacing, everyone was pushing and in your head you’re just trying to stay in it until the race actually gets going.” Despite it being easy to lose focus and composure, Wheeler was able to hang on for a strong finish, passing multiple runners in the final lap when the pack finally began to split.
This was Wheeler’s first appearance at the indoor track championships. She had previously competed in the outdoor championships and had qualified for the indoor race last year; however, it was unfortunately canceled. She said that the finish felt like a “long time coming,” especially because she felt ready to make this breakthrough at last year’s event before its cancellation.
When comparing it to previous 5,000-meter races she had run, she called it her “best performance at the national level. I definitely leveled up a bit there,” Wheeler proudly said. “My last one I was second team All-American, so this was the first time I was first team All-American, so that was super exciting.” She also pointed to a major difference between the indoor and outdoor versions of the 5,000-meter, citing that the indoor race only features 16 runners while the outdoor race features 24.
Following nationals, Wheeler proceeded to again finish fifth overall at the Raleigh Relays, one of the first races of the spring track season. Her finishing time of 15:46.87, as well as previous years’ performances, should be enough to qualify her for the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field First Round in Jacksonville, FL on May 27-29.
When asked about the meet, the humble Wheeler mentioned her excitement about her time and possible qualification, before expressing a lot of happiness for her teammates who she also thinks could qualify following their performances. “It was nice to get a bunch of my other teammates to get times that can be competitive to qualify for that as well,” stated Wheeler. “That was pretty much the goal of the meet.”
Wheeler made sure to give credit to her coaches and teammates for keeping each other “grounded” throughout the season, especially with the challenges the COVID-19 pandemic held over both the school and the track season. This was especially important with a short season and a hard winter, making it difficult to stay ready and having less chances to qualify.
When reflecting back on her racing career here at PC, Wheeler noted something interesting. Aside from all the other accomplishments she has, one of her proudest moments actually came from overcoming adversity at a regional meet her junior season. “I was in the 5k and I wasn’t in particularly fantastic shape, but I was racing to get a spot in outdoor nationals,” she started. “And someone stepped on my shoe early on in the race and so I was running with my shoe kinda off. In the last mile I just kicked it off and I was running with only one shoe.”
She said in those kinds of moments it is easy to give up on yourself, but vocal support from her teammates kept her focused and pushed her forward. She ended the race with a qualifying time, and while she said it was not her best race, overcoming that adversity made her really feel that she belonged competing at this level.
As for her goals for the remainder of the season, Wheeler is “just trying to run really fast, make the championship season, and make outdoor nationals. And if I can run fast there, that would be great.”
Maria Coffin ’21:
In October 2020, Maria Coffin ’21 finishing in the top-100 at the NCAA Championships in March 2021 would have seemed improbable. After a summer of hard training, Coffin suffered a femoral stress reaction in October, which effectively shut down her training for the foreseeable future. When she was finally able to ramp back up her training in January 2021, the cross country schedule remained murky as COVID-19 regulations stayed in flux.
Nevertheless, Coffin persevered. Coming into her trip to nationals, she had just raced once, in the Big East Championships. Her performance there booked her a ticket to Stillwater, OK to compete with the best cross country runners in the nation.
The massive field of 253 runners, and a distinctly challenging course, made the event a grueling one for all parties involved. “It was a very difficult course,” said Coffin. “Super windy, super hilly. I’d definitely say it’s the hardest one I’ve run in my career.”
Coffin’s plan going into the race was to stay middle of the pack for the first half of the event, explaining that “in a course like that you can’t really go out too quick, so I was trying to be conservative, stay in the middle, and then do most of my damage in the last half of the race.”
Coffin did just that, passing 28 runners in the final 3,000 meters of the race. “When I finished, I really had no idea where I was,” explained Coffin. “I was hoping I had gotten in the top 100 and luckily I just made that.”
This was not Coffin’s first trip to the biggest stage in the sport. In the 2017-2018 cross country season, her entire team qualified for the event, allowing her to participate in nationals in just her freshman year. That time around, Coffin placed 245th.
“That was definitely a tough race for me as a freshman,” said Coffin. “I definitely did not do nearly as well [as this time].” Indeed, three years later, Coffin shaved off over a minute on her time, vaulting her up 146 spots. “It was cool to come back and really see that improvement,” she added.
As much as Coffin was thrilled to be able to finish top-100 at nationals, she also lamented the fact that her team could not be there with her. It was always going to be an uphill battle for the team, as the Big East Championship was the only time they could all compete together as a squad. “We have such a young team, it was pretty difficult for the freshmen without much race experience to jump right into the Big East Conference meet,” said Coffin. “They still did really well there considering that was the first cross country race of their collegiate careers…I think that will help us next year having a few races under our belt.”
Coffin, a senior who will be returning as a graduate student next year, will get the chance to again lead her team in a season that will hopefully resemble a normal one. She has high hopes for a squad that she says will return more experienced and more confident. Coffin’s goals: a Big East championship, an NCAA regional victory, and a whole team appearance at nationals.
For Coffin herself, “[I want] to improve upon my place and try to get around that All-American top-40 status at nationals.” With a full slate of races next season, and an injury far in the rearview mirror, Coffin has what it takes to do just that.
Track and Field Head to Big East
By Cam Smith ’21
The Providence College Men’s and Women’s Track and Field Teams produced some magnificent results last week while participating in two meets. On Thursday, the teams traveled to the University of Pennsylvania to take part in the 125th running of the Penn Relays. The Relays are touted as the world’s first and most widely recognized annual relay event, each year bringing in crowds of up to 100,000 people. Top athletes from around the country and around the world compete in the event that pre-dates even the NCAA.
The highlight of the meet for the Friars was undoubtedly the performance of Brianna Ilarda ’19RS. Competing in the women’s 3,000 meter steeplechase, Ilarda jumped out to an early lead and simply refused to relinquish her top spot. With five laps to go, the redshirt senior pulled away even further, leaving her competition struggling to keep pace as she cruised to a record setting victory. Indeed, Ilarda’s time of 9:55.43 was not only a personal best, but also a Penn Relays record, as she surpassed the previous time by over a second. This was Ilarda’s third win in the event in the last four years.
Ilarda was not the only PC representative to impress on Thursday, as three other Friars finished in the top 15 in their respective events. In the women’s 5,000 meters, Abbey Wheeler ’20 and Regan Rome GR each ran fantastic races, proving they belonged alongside the top competition in the country. Wheeler and Rome ran most of the race in the lead pack, and as the race went on, both were part of the top five that began to pull away from the other runners.
Eventually, with one mile left, Wheeler and two other runners again pulled away and Wheeler was able to obtain sole possession of the lead. The three would remain neck and neck in the last mile, and Wheeler would end up finishing third with a remarkable time of 16:07.01, just seconds off the pace of the first-place finisher. Rome, too, would post a tremendous time of 16:33.97, good enough for the eighth overall spot in a race that consisted of 63 top-notch participants. In the past, Wheeler’s time has qualified for the NCAA East Preliminary Round, producing optimism that she’ll be able to represent the Friars on the biggest stage.
Running in the top heat of the men’s 5,000 meters, Marcelo Rocha ’21 finished 13th in a race that a whopping 102 participants competed in. Rocha ran a very steady event, and his impressive time of 14:17.19 was only a mere 15 seconds behind the winner. The time was also a personal record for Rocha, who has been a pivotal part of the men’s squad all year long.
Returning home to Providence, the Friars made a quick journey over to Brown University, where they competed in the Brown Springtime Invitational against several local institutions such as the University of Rhode Island, Northeastern University, and the University of Connecticut. Some notable results on the men’s side, include Jack Carleo ’21 taking home the top prize in the 800 meters with a time of 1.53.03 and Angus White ’21 finishing just a tenth of a second behind the winner of the 1,500 meters. Over on the women’s side Emma Fink ’22 placed second in the high jump with a mark of 1.55 meters while Megan Stenberg ’21 also secured a second-place finish in the 100 meter hurdles with a time of 15.76.
The Friars will now enjoy a well-deserved week off before turning their sights to the Big East Championships, set to take place on May 10 and 11 at Icahn Stadium in New York City.
Ray Treacy Track Sees First Meet of the Season
By Jack Belanger ’21
Providence College held its only home track and field meet of the year as the Ray Treacy Track hosted the first day of the Ocean State Invitational. Fourteen teams came to Providence for the invitational. The first day included events such as the 800-meter, the mile, the 3,000-meter steeplechase, and the 5,000-meters. Brown University hosted day two of the invitational where most of the events were held, including all of the field events.
The Friars had plenty of notable performances on both the men’s and women’s teams. Some of the Friars’ best performances occurred the first day on campus. In the men’s 5,000-meters, PC had two members finish in the top 10, as Marcus Karamanolis ’19 placed third and David Rosas ’21 finished seventh.
In the 3,000-meter steeplechase, Ocean State Athletic Club’s and former Friar Jordan Mann ‘16G, who was an All-American in the event in 2016, came in first and set a facility record with 8:48.27. Liam Harris ’20 was able to grab second place in the event at 9:10.87. On the women’s side of the 3,000 meter steeplechase, Columbia University’s 2017 All-American Nell Crosby took first place in an event that only featured four runners.
PC had the most success on the first day in the women’s mile run. A trio of Friars consisting of Millie Paladino ’19, Catarina Rocha ’18G, and Abbey Wheeler ’20 were able to place in the top ten. Paladino took first place while Rocha, who won the Big East cross-country title in the fall, finished fourth and Wheeler finished eighth. Paladino and Rocha both broke the current facility record of 4:50.74, and Paladino set the new record with 4:40.07. On the men’s side Nick Carleo ’19 missed first place by less than two seconds to take second place and Mike O’Leary ’19 finished fifth.
On the second day at Brown, Jared Grossi ’20 finished fourth in the men’s 400-meter run, finishing at 50.86, which was six-tenths of a second slower than first place finisher David Cusack of University of Massachusetts at Lowell. Sprinter Daniel Rooney ’21 ran a close race in the 400-meter hurdles against Brown’s Bretram Rogers but ultimately finished second in the event, coming in .28 seconds behind.
While PC did not have many athletes compete in field events, Chris Shanahan ’21 finished fifth in the javelin throw out of 11 competitors.
The PC track and field teams will head to Worcester this Saturday for the Holy Cross Invitational and then will have a dual meet vs. Brown on College Hill. Next week, the team will head to Philadelphia for three days before going back to Brown for the Brown Invitational.
PC Competes at Big East Championship
Plenty of Highlights for PC Track and Field
by Thomas Zinzarella ’21
Although the weather cooled down this past weekend, things were heating up at the Big East Indoor Track & Field Championship in Staten Island, New York. While neither the Providence College Men’s or Women’s Track and Field Teams came away with a trophy, there were many positives to be taken away from both teams.
With a relatively young men’s team, many freshmen got to experience their first Big East Championship. Michael Bittner ’21 felt “a little nervous warming up…it was a different feel from high school where you were the best and now there are guys who are better than you.” Bittner went on to have his best performance of the season with a fifth place finish in the men’s High Jump. Fellow Friar Trevor Crawley ’18 GS finished seventh in a highly contested Men’s 3,000-meter race and Michael O’Leary ’19 finished sixth in the one-mile event with a time of 4:11.97.
The high point of the day for the Friars was the 4×800 meter relay team featuring O’Leary, Nick Carleo ’19, Jack Carleo ’21 and Ryan Jendzejec ’21. The PC, Villanova University, and Georgetown University teams were all neck and neck until the final lap, when all three teams began to separate, leaving the Friars in third. The team featured the Carleo brothers, who have not been on the same team since they were both in high school. When asked how it felt to be reunited, Jack said, “It’s a good feeling being on the same team with Nick again because not many people get to run with a family member for this long, being on the same relay team with him again is awesome.”
The Friars look to continue their freshman surge into the springtime for the outdoor season, as Angus White ’21, Ryan Gallagher, Marcelo Rocha ’21, Henry Spangler ’21, and David Rosas ’21 rejoin for the spring season.
With talent carrying over from the indoor season, the sky is the limit for the next four years. Bittner and Carleo are hoping that the team can capture a Big East Championship and add to the storied history of the Track & Field Program at PC.
On the women’s side, the Friars were led from the top down by Millie Paladino ’18, who won the 3,000-meter with a time of 9:18.45. Paladino won the one-mile event last year and became the sixth woman to win both the 3,000-meter and the one mile event in Big East history.
The Friars would continue to shine in the 5,000-meter event as the Friars went 1-2 with Catarina Rocha ’18 GS leading the way with a time of 16:05.85, while Abbey Wheeler ’20 finished just behind her with a time of 16:07.39. Rocha netted her first Big East indoor title, and her third title overall.
The Friars also added a top three finish in the distance medley race with Paladino leading the charge once again. She teamed up with Mariah O’Gara ’20, Alexandra DeCicco ’20, and Maria Coffin ’21. The group was able to churn in a third-place finish in a heated battle with a time of 11:40.86.
Both squads look to try and build on the winter season and are preparing for their next event, the Eastern College Athletic Conference Championships on March 2-3.
Friars Track Competes for Big East Championship
by Eileen Flynn ’20
In Staten Island, New York, the Friars laced up their sneakers in the midst of other Big East rivals: Marquette, St. John’s, Villanova, Georgetown, Butler, and DePaul. The Providence College Men’s and Women’s Track Teams participated in the two-day Big East Championship on Feb. 24-25.
The Friars have shown promise in their distance races throughout the season and looked to continue their success in this tournament.
The team aspect in track involves more than just the handoff of the baton in the relay; each individual performance is rewarded with points, which are then combined with all of the teammates’ performances to make the team’s score. The Friars work their hardest in each race in efforts to help their team’s score rise.
On day one of the 2017 Big East Tournament at the Ocean Breeze Track and Field Complex, Katie Lembo ’18 finished in fifth place in the 5,000 meter race. In the men’s division for the 5,000 meter race, Hugh Armstrong ’17 raced to third place as Aaron Hanlon ’18 followed him and two other runners across the finish line to come in sixth.
The final race on the first day was the distance medley relay. The women’s team was carefully crafted with four of Providence’s top runners, Abbey Wheeler ’20, Molly Keating ’17G, Alexandra DeCicco ’20, and Brianna Ilarda ’18. In one of their strongest races, the Friars were neck in neck with Georgetown and Marquette runners. With the importance of the gain of team points in her head, Ilarda finished the relay in second place.
The men participating in the distance medley relay were Nick Carleo ’19, Jared Grossi ’20, James Campbell ’17, and Trevor Crawley ’17. In a tough race, Crawley finished strong to grasp fourth place for his team.
Millie Paladino ’18 and Michael O’Leary ’19 both qualified in the mile race to insure their lane in the final mile race that would take place on day two.
Day two began at 10:30 a.m. on Feb. 25. The Friar women acquired a total of 12 points on the first day, putting them in sixth place. The men started their day in fifth place with 14 points.
Paladino helped boost her team’s placement and spirits by being the fourth Providence female athlete to win the mile race. Paladino was grouped with three runners until the last 400 meters, where she moved herself into second position. In the final 50 meters, Paladino squeezed by her final competitor, making her the first to cross the finish line. In the 3,000 meter race, Ilarda slightly trailed the victor, coming in second place. Crawley raced his personal best and finished eighth for the men’s 3,000 meter race. In the 4×800 meter relay, both the men’s and women’s team of four placed fifth. In the 4×400, the men finished in sixth and the women came in eighth.
The second and final day of the Big East Tournament concluded with the tallying of points for both teams. The women ended the day with 38 points and the men left with 22 points. Both teams finished the 2016 Big East Tournament in seventh place. The Friars illustrated a team effort that will surely be present in their upcoming ECAC/IC4A Championship Race at Boston University on March 4-5.