After his high school track and field career at Greenwich High School ends in the spring of 2022, Andrew O’Donnell will remain on the run at the University of Pennsylvania.
An incoming Greenwich senior, O’Donnell recently announced his commitment to the admissions process at the University of Pennsylvania, where he will compete on the school’s men’s track and field team.
“It’s definitely very exciting for me,” O’Donnell said. “It took a long time for me to prioritize what I wanted for a college experience. Now I can focus on improving myself as an athlete and student. I am excited to have the opportunity to compete in college, which is something I’ve wanted to do for as long as I can remember.”
UPenn’s men’s and women’s track and field teams have experienced plenty of success for decades. The track and field program at the University of Pennsylvania has captured numerous Ivy League championships and produced a lot of All-America and All-Ivy League athletes.
“From what I’ve heard it’s a very unified team,” O’Donnell said. “The Penn Relays is an event I’m also looking forward to. When I heard about that and how big a deal it is it is, I knew I wanted to be a part of it. That also swayed my decision on the track side of things.”
Besides excelling in the Ivy League, a number of UPenn track and field athletes have made their mark at the NCAA Championships over the years.
“The team has had a lot of success, they are competitive every year which is important,” O’Donnell said. UPenn has the perfect balance of academics and athletics and I hope to make an immediate impact as a freshman through my senior year. They have developed program with a lot of strong athletes, some of whom have come from the FCIAC. That’s made it a unique and ideal situation for me. Now that I’ve made my decision, I can focus on the individual aspects of UPenn and how to tackle academics and athletics.”
The Greenwich High senior plans of competing in the 400-meter run at the collegiate level and may also be asked to test his skills in the 800-meter event.
“As a recruit, it was 400 – that’s the time I used to reach out to colleges and advertise my time,” he said. “They have left the door open for me to run the 800 and that was interesting to me. They told me they don’t have their minds made up and they want to see where I could be the most successful. It shows they don’t only care about producing a winning team, but they care about the athlete.”
O’Donnell garnered the attention of colleges by having a breakout junior season for the Cardinals. This past spring, he won the 400-meter race at the State Open, Class LL and FCIAC Championships. At the State Open Championships, his time of 48.31 seconds in the 400-meter run gave him the first-place medal. He also ran to a fourth-place finish in the 200-meter run in his first appearance at the State Open (22.59 seconds).
His victory in the 400-meter event at the State Open earned him a spot in the Outdoor Nationals presented by Nike at the University of Oregon. O’Donnell posted an 11th-place finish in the race at the Outdoor Nationals.
“That was for me, the most incredible experience I got to live out as an athlete,” he said. “There were so many people there, I was around a ton of other very qualified athletes. Being in that big of an environment was humbling. It was also a very important experience.”
One of Greenwich’s varsity basketball captains, O’Donnell has spent the summer training for his next athletic challenges.
“I’ve done a lot of lifting and sprint specific training,” said O’Donnell, who will compete in individual and relay races for the Cardinals and has hopes of finishing earning All-America honors in the 400-meter run next season. “To improve my 400, I need to improve a lot of my short distance running. I want to prioritize winning as a team. We can contend for first in the FCIAC and make a run for the state title.”