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The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

Higgins & Silva start indoor track season on the right foot

Senior Monica Higgins also played gaelic football for the North American Select Team. PHOTOS COURTESY OF SJU ATHLETICS

Pair leads way for team at Nittany Lion Challenge

The women’s track and field team saw two familiar faces hit personal milestones at the Nittany Lion Challenge at Pennsylvania State University. Senior Monica Higgins and junior Abigail Silva both led the Hawks in their respective races.

Higgins and Silva both ran the 4x800m relay together, along with seniors Emily Bracken and Emily Schaeffer. The group won the race by a margin of over 10 seconds with a time of 10:01.03.

Individually, Higgins and Silva dominated their own races, both reaching a new personal record. Silva, running the mile, led the Hawks with a time of 5:23:37 and placed 14th in the field of 18. This personal feat showed huge progress in work and is giving her and others confidence moving forward.

“It’s great to see that I’m ahead of where I was last year,” Silva said. “I’ve definitely seen an increase in my fitness this past fall, just to see this progress so far is amazing.”

Higgins, running the 800m, took 1.42 seconds off her previous personal best, with a time of 2:16.10, giving her fifth in the field of seven.

“It feels great, it feels like it’s been a long time coming,” Higgins said. “I’m excited about where I’m starting out. It’s nice to get things rolling a lot earlier in the season.” Head Coach Mellody O’Reilly is excited for what’s to come. “I think we got off to a great start,”

O’Reilly said. “Especially with girls getting a PR in the first meet back. It doesn’t really get much better than that.” Higgins said that both she and Silva, are showing huge growth in their leadership
skills along with their growth on the track.

“It just comes with age,” Higgins said. “I never saw myself as a leader when I was younger, but when you get older you just take on that role.”

According to Silva, having someone to look up to on your team is crucial.

“Now as a junior, there’s definitely a kind of confidence that comes with experience,” Silva said. “I know it’s tough to come here as freshman, so it’s just a responsibility
to be a guide and role model for them.”

O’Reilly said she is proud of her runners, especially after a big change in Higgins’s style. Previously, Higgins ran the 200m and 400m and was persuaded by O’Reilly to take up a longer race.

“After we talked for a little bit to maybe not pigeonhole herself,” O’Reilly said. “That maybe going up to the 800m would probably be a good thing for her. When she made that transition we saw instant progress, and I’m very proud of her.”

Although only one meet in, the women’s track and field team has seen a great start and has two upperclassmen with a promising season ahead of them.

“I think the first meet is always a great indicator of what’s to come,” Silva said. “I’m excited for the future and the long road ahead.”

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