Takeaways Central: Olivia Markezich And Parker Wolfe Continue To Shine

Takeaways Central: Olivia Markezich And Parker Wolfe Continue To Shine

Two of the NCAA's best had yet another impressive weekend on the track, both racing to school records, NCAA leads and top 10 all-time performances.

Feb 5, 2024 by Maxx Bradley
Takeaways Central: Olivia Markezich And Parker Wolfe Continue To Shine

In the world of collegiate distance running, it's clear that the times are changing and the sport is progressively getting faster, especially on the track. 

Since 2021 alone, 10 NCAA records have fallen from the indoor mile to the outdoor 5,000 meters. A few of those have even been broken on multiple occasions. Long-story short, athletes are continuing to get faster and the technology around the sport is developing at an astronomical pace.

That's why it's no surprise that athletes like Olivia Markezich and Parker Wolfe are two of the many distance stars that are seeing incredible jumps in their fitness and results. 

There were some pretty solid performances this weekend throughout the collegiate landscape, but it was Markezich and Wolfe that stuck out above the rest.


The Legacy Of Olivia Markezich Continues To Grow

The more she races, the more it's clear that Olivia Markezich isn't a one-event gal. 

Over the last year, the fast-rising Notre Dame star has etched her name into NCAA history in a number of different ways. 

Let's go back and start with the 3,000m steeplechase, which you could argue is her best event. Last June at NCAAs -- in a very anti-distance runner climate -- Markezich won her first NCAA title, posting the No. 3 time in NCAA history in 9:25.03. 

A few months after her championship-winning season, Markezich finished in the top 10 in her first three races of the cross country campaign, eventually winning the Great Lakes Region and finishing third at the national championships with a fresh personal best. 

Just two weeks removed from one of the best races of her life, the Notre Dame senior ran the No. 2 3,000m mark in NCAA history, crossing in 8:40.42, five seconds shy of the collegiate record but still enough for the 19th-best time ever ran by an American woman.

Up until this weekend, Markezich hadn't raced again this indoor season, but on her home track at the Meyo Invitational, she dropped the fastest mile time in the NCAA, stopping the clock at 4:27.76. 

Markezich is one of just four collegians to run under 4:30 since 2020 and the only one to do it in a collegiate-only field. 

We're just over a month out of the NCAA Indoor Championships in Boston and Markezich honestly has her pick of the litter in terms of what distance(s) she wants to focus on come March.


Parker Wolfe's Range Finds Another Gear

Parker Wolfe has been a one-man wrecking ball at North Carolina. One of the fastest high schoolers in Colorado history, Wolfe has been a key factor for the Tar Heels' turnaround.

Since he stepped foot in Chapel Hill, he's racked up five separate All-American honors over the indoor, outdoor and cross country seasons. 

Additionally, Wolfe has sprinkled in a handful of stellar ACC performances, but his best racing has come in the months following the 2023 cross country season.

For starters, Wolfe was one of the top names in a legendary race back in early December, when the men's 5,000m indoor record books were re-written. 

Wolfe was the third-fastest collegian in the field, only behind Graham Blanks and Ky Robinson, who at the time were the new No. 1 and No. 2 men in NCAA history. 

Wolfe, who ran 13:13.61, broke his own school record in the process. For the 5K, he currently owns the ninth-fastest time in collegiate history. 

Last month, Wolfe moved down a few distances and toed the line in the mile at Penn State National, where the junior ran 3:55.09; that was the eighth-fastest time in the country. But he also came just nine-hundredths of a second away from the 50-year-old school record. It's currently sitting No. 2 all-time.

Wolfe's most recent historic performance came just a few days ago, but this time in the 3,000m. 

At the BU Bruce Lehane Scarlet & White, Wolfe won by nearly five seconds in 7:37.41, becoming the 3rd-fastest collegian of all-time. Along with the new NCAA lead, it also makes him the 11th-fastest American of all-time. 

Wolfe has proved he's capable of running any of the three indoor distances, but with how unpredictable and stacked the mile is, the 3K and 5K continue to look more and more like his bread and butter.