It didn’t take Sam Ellison very long to establish himself as a terrific distance runner for Villanova’s track and field team. In fact, Ellison was quite impressive running the third leg (800 meters) of the distance medley to help the Wildcats capture the Championship of America crown at the Penn Relays last year.
That was a big day for Ellison, who was just a freshman. He’s looking forward to competing at Franklin Field this week. Ellison should be one of the top local attractions.
“I think the Penn Relays is one of those Philly traditions,” Ellison said. “It offers a kind of atmosphere that you can’t find anywhere else. A lot of people come out and watch. The stadium is always packed.
“When you’re out there competing, it’s kind of surreal, especially for us Villanova athletes because we have our own cheering section. We still have the records for the most Penn Relays titles. It’s a pride thing and the longer you’re here the more you realize how important it is. It’s real exciting.”
Marcus O’Sullivan, Villanova track and field head coach, has watched his sophomore distance runner develop over the last year. O’Sullivan feels Ellison has just scratched the surface in terms of his ability.
“Sam is a tremendous individual,” O’Sullivan said. “He’s top notch. He’s first class. I love having him on the team. He’s making tremendous progress. He split a 46 at William & Mary on our 4x400 (meter relay) the week before in Miami.”
Ellison recently won the 800 meters at the Hurricane Alumni Invitational at Cobb Stadium in Miami. The former Upper Dublin High standout had a personal best time of 1:49.04 in the 800 meters. This was the second time he improved his time in the event. Ellison had previously clocked a time of 1:49.35 at Penn State.
“I’ve been kind of focusing on that event this year,” Ellison said. “I’ve tweaked my training a little bit to be sure I was strong enough for the event. It’s really starting to pan out. I’m looking to get down around 1:47. I’m capable of doing that right now. I just have to run the right race.”
Ellison plans to participate in the distance medley again at the Penn Relays. He could also run on the 4x800 meter relay team.
Ellison had a great scholastic career in track and field. In 2009, he guided Upper Dublin High to a third place finish at the state championships in the indoor and outdoor meets. In 2010, Ellison was selected as the Suburban One American Conference Athlete of the Year.
Ellison is interested in having a career in journalism. He has written several sports articles for the school newspaper. He lives in Dresher and attends the African Episcopal Church of St. Thomas near 63rd and Lancaster Avenue where his mother (Patricia), father (Roy) and sister (Simone) are members. They will be following his exploits at the Penn Relays.
“My mom and dad will be coming to the Penn Relays,” Ellison said. “I don’t think Simone will be able to make it. She goes to Howard (University). She’ll be able to watch it online. I really appreciate all the support.”