Garcia Claims Runner-up Honors in Steeplechase at NCAA Championships

VIRGINIASPORTSDOTCOM
VIRGINIASPORTSDOTCOM

VIRGINIASPORTSDOTCOM
DES MOINES, Iowa - Senior Stephanie Garcia earned a runner-up finish in the 3000m steeplechase on the final day of the 2011 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships at Drake University. With her finish, Garcia becomes the highest individual finisher on the track for UVa's women's program. Her time of 9:47.29 breaks the all-time Atlantic Coast Conference record set by Florida State's Barbara Parker at 9:48.82 in 2007.
 
In addition, junior Morgane Gay finished seventh in the 1500m to earn her second All-America honor in the event.
 
As a team, the Cavalier women finished tied for 29th with 10 points, marking the best finish for the program since earning a 25th-place finish in 1990. The 10 points are the most for the program since 1983.
 
On the men's side, Virginia earned 10 points to finish tied for 25th.
 
"Perhaps our score does not reflect this, but both our men and our women had a phenomenal meet," director of track and field Jason Vigilante said. "Starting with Erin Wykoff in the discus on Wednesday, her best mark of over 51 meters traditionally always scores at the NCAA Championships. Andy Fahringer threw over 70 meters in the javelin. Lyndsay Harper ran one of the best times she's ever run. Ayla Smith ran a school record with another performance that always scores at the NCAA Championship.
 
"Adams Abdulrazaaq set a school record. Morgane Gay had a school record and two points. Stephanie Garcia had a school and ACC record and eight points. Brett Johnson was the first man out of the finals in the 1500m. And, to cap it off, NCAA Champion Robby Andrews had another amazing performance.
 
"With each of these performances, I am certain our track and field staff has got our program headed in the right direction. I am grateful for the hard work our student-athletes have put forth and how they have worked with our coaches to compete the way they did here in Des Moines."
 
Garcia, the program's first four-time NCAA qualifier in the steeplechase, earned her second All-America honor in the event, while Colorado's Emma Coburn claimed the title with a time of 9:41.14. With her runner-up finish, Garcia becomes the highest individual finisher ever for the Cavaliers on the track and equals Dana Boone's runner-up finish in the long jump in 1990 and Julia Solo's second-place finish in the javelin in 1989.
 
Garcia wraps up her collegiate career as an eight-time NCAA qualifier, a three-time ACC Champion and a six-time all-conference performer. During the 2011 indoor season, she earned All-America honors by running the 1600m anchor leg on UVa's distance medley relay that finished third overall. She holds the school record in the steeplechase, in addition to the indoor and outdoor distance medley relay records. She also owns the ACC meet record and Duke's Wallace Wade Facility record in the steeplechase, running 9:55.10 this year.
 
In the 1500m, Gay earned her second All-America honor with a seventh-place finish in 4:17.40. Gay pushed the pace through the majority of the race, before relinquishing the lead with about 300m to go. With a battle to the finish line, Villanova's Sheila Reid claimed top honors in 4:14.57.
 
Gay and Garcia wrap up the year as two of only 22 student-athletes in the nation to compete at each of the NCAA Championships during the cross country, indoor and outdoor track and field seasons. In addition to senior Lyndsay Harper, the trio is among only five ACC student-athletes to do so.
 
In a close team battle on the men's side, Texas A&M (55 points) edged Florida State (54 points) and Florida (53 points) for the title. The Aggies also won a tight women's team battle with 49 points. Oregon finished runner-up with 45 points, while LSU took third with 43.5 points.
 
Virginia will take next weekend off before heading to Eugene, Ore., for the 2011 USATF Junior and Senior National Championships. Events are scheduled June 23-26.