09 Dec 2021 | 15:10 | Track & Field
EUGENE, Ore.—Following a two-day break from action as a built-in rest period for the athletes, action resumes on the fifth night of competition at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials on Thursday night. On the Villanova schedule of events for the evening are the first round heats of both the men’s 1500 meters and the women’s 800 meters. Casey Comber (Maple Glen, Pa.) will race in the 1500 meters at 9:04 p.m. Eastern time (6:04 p.m. Pacific time), while McKenna Keegan (West Grove, Pa.) and 2016 alum Angel Piccirillo will compete in the first round of the 800 meters at 10 p.m. Both events can be seen live on NBCSN as well as streaming live online.
Comber recorded a personal best time of 3:37.76 in the 1500 meters earlier this year at the Joe Walker Invite in Oxford, Miss. He ranks fifth in school history in the event and was a two-time qualifier for the NCAA Championships in the 1500 meters, finishing as high as eighth in the final back in 2019 and advancing to the national semifinal heats this season. Comber is a five-time All-American, a nine-time BIG EAST champion and a 13-time All-BIG EAST performer for the Wildcats and will be competing at his first career Olympic Trials. There are three heats in the first round of the 1500 meters on Thursday night, with the top performers advancing to the semifinal round on Friday evening.
Keegan earned her qualification to the Olympic Trials in the 800 meters when she ran a lifetime best of 2:01.25 in the national quarterfinal heats at the NCAA East Preliminary on May 29. That time is the fastest time in program history to be recorded during the NCAA season of competition and it ranks third overall in the Villanova record book. Keegan was named the Women’s Track Athlete of the Year by the United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) for both the indoor and outdoor collegiate seasons this year, becoming just the second athlete in school history to sweep those honors in the same year. The accomplishments for Keegan this season, both in the 800 meters and as part of the Wildcats sprint group, have been astounding considering that prior to March 26 she had not run an outdoor race since the end of the 2018 season. She redshirted the 2019 outdoor and 2020 indoor collegiate seasons before seeing the 2020 outdoor track & field season cancelled due to the COVID pandemic. She did run for Villanova in cross country (2019) and indoors (2021) since qualifying for the NCAA Championships as a sophomore in 2018, but has described outdoor track & field as her favorite of the seasons.
Piccirillo is one of the most accomplished athletes in Villanova history after being a nine-time All-American, an 11-time BIG EAST champion and a nine-time Penn Relays champion during her collegiate career. Piccirillo holds the record for the most Championship of America watches won by a collegiate woman in the history of the Penn Relays. Her collegiate All-America honors ranged from the 1500 meters and the Mile up through the 3000 meters and cross country. Piccirillo ran a lifetime best of 2:01.51 in the 800 meters at the Hoey Invitational in Coatesville, Pa. on June 11 to earn her qualification for the Olympic Trials. She was at one time the NCAA record holder in the 1000 meters with a time of 2:40.82 recorded during the 2016 indoor season. Piccirillo also owns lifetime bests of 4:10.89 in the 1500 meters and 4:32.57 in the Mile.
The first round of the women’s 800 meters will be followed by the semifinal round on Friday, June 25 at 6:02 p.m. (NBC Sports Network) and the final on Sunday, June 27 at 7:52 p.m. (NBC).