DES MOINES, Iowa-
Senior Maureen Laffan (Toms River, N.J.) and junior Morgane Gay (Bethesda, Md.) each broke school records as the Virginia track and field program competed at the second day of the NCAA Championships at Drake Stadium in Des Moines, Iowa, on Thursday (June 7).
Gay broke the school record in the women's 1,500 meters semifinal in a time of 4:13.20, finishing fifth in her heat to automatically qualify for the final on Saturday at 11:28 a.m. She was out of the qualifying range for almost the entire race before sprinting and leaning ahead of Violah Lagat of Florida State at the finish line to finish fifth.
"I knew the first heat was quick, so I aimed for a top-five spot to make sure and get in (to the final)," Gay said. "I'm looking forward to Saturday to go out there and compete hard. They are all talented women out there."
This is the second consecutive year Gay has competed at the NCAA cross country, indoor and outdoor track and field national meets. She is one of 24 women in Division I to do so this year and one of six to accomplish the feat each of the last two school years.
In the women's hammer, Laffan made her national meet debut and rewrote Virginia's record book in the process, finishing 14th with a mark of 59.91m (196' 6"), 11 inches farther than her previous best. The distance came on her second throw.
"Going to my first national meet has been an amazing experience," Laffan said. "Being able to say that I went in and threw a new PR and broke the school record is equally amazing. I am very thankful that I was able to participate in this meet with my fellow teammates!"
Senior Catherine White (Roanoke, Va.) placed 10th in the women's 10,000 meters final in a time of 33:21.55, the second-fastest time in program history. She stayed with the lead pack of 11 through 6,000 meters before the leaders grew some distance on the pack.
In the men's 1,500 meters semifinals, junior Brett Johnson (Ocean City, N.J.) finished 17th overall in a time of 3:44.63, just short of his PR (3:44.44), while classmate Patrick Todd (Highland Park, Texas) placed 23rd in 3:50.58.
The action continues Friday (June 8) at 3 p.m.
Women's Hammer Throw - Maureen Laffan - 14th overall - 59.91m (196' 6")*
Men's 1,500m semifinal - Brett Johnson - 17th overall - 3:44.63
Men's 1,500m semifinal - Patrick Todd - 23rd overall - 3:50.58
Women's 1,500m semifinal - Morgane Gay - 10th overall - 4:13.20*
Women's 10,000m final - Catherine White - 10th overall - 33:21.55
* denotes school record
3:00 p.m. - Men's Hammer Throw - Vincenzo Chiariello
5:30 p.m. - Men's Triple Jump - Marcus Robinson
All times are Eastern Daylight Time (EDT).