May 9, 2014
The Virginia men's and women's track and field teams opened their final home meet of the year with the first day of the Virginia Challenge at Lannigan Field. The meet, in its third season, has become one of the top meets in the nation.
The highlight of day one were the 10 events from the American Track League, a new series of meets designed to showcase the stars of the sport in a fan-friendly format. Those events, which featured numerous Olympians and past NCAA champions, produced five Lannigan Field facility records. Among the winners in the ATL events were former Virginia Tech standout Queen Harrison in the women's 100m hurdles, who edged fellow Olympian Lolo Jones for the victory, and Bershawn Jackson in the men's 400m hurdles, an event he was the bronze medalist in at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
"With the crowd we had tonight, with the buzz and excitement, hopefully people will understand that track and field is an exciting sport," said head coach Bryan Fetzer. "It is pure athleticism. You could tell the athletes were having fun, both the professionals and the collegiate athletes. That is what we are trying to create with meets like this one. It was a chance for our kids to compete against some of the best athletes in the world."
Several Cavalier athletes were in action during the ATL events, including Payton Hazzard (Huntington, N.Y.) posting the second-fastest 400m in school history with a time of 46.12. The men's discus event was won by Virginia throws coach Martin Maric, with a mark of 205-4. First-year Filip Mihaljevic (Livno, Bosnia and Herzegovina) finished third with a toss of 191-10 in the discus.
In the races earlier in the evening, the Cavaliers posted several times that also rank among the best in school history. Peyton Chaney
(Belleville, Ill.) had the sixth best time in school history with a time of 11.71. Andrea Wright
(Chesapeake, Va.) had the seventh fastest time in school history in the women's 400m at 54.80, the third-fastest for a freshman.
In Friday's field events, the Cavaliers had several strong performances. Dallas Rose (Pearland, Texas) won the women's triple jump with a mark of 43'0.25", the second-best jump in school history. Logan Clements (Swarthmore, Pa.) posted the eighth-best mark in the school history in the women's hammer throw with a mark of 163-5.
"We had some incredible performances today," said Fetzer. "For seniors like Dallas Rose and Logan Clements to go out and have lifetime bests in their final home meet of the collegiate careers was a great sight. Some of our younger athletes, like Payton Hazzard, Peyton Chaney and Andrea Wright had some great times as well."
The Virginia Challenge will conclude Saturday. The schedule starts at 1 p.m. with the conclusion of the decathlon and heptathlon. Field and running events begin at 4 p.m. Admission to the meet is free.