BLACKSBURG, Va. - Five Cavaliers earned All-Atlantic Coast Conference honors in the final day of the 2009 ACC Indoor Track and Field Championships to lead Virginia’s men’s squad to it’s best-ever third-place finish at the conference meet, held this year at Virginia Tech’s Rector Field House.
Senior Yemi Ayeni earned his second-consecutive All-ACC honor in the shot put, finishing runner-up in the event, while freshman Ryan Collins earned his second all-conference honor of this year’s championships, finishing third in the 3000m. In addition, sophomores Adams Abdulrazaaq (60m hurdles) and Greg Nelson (high jump), and freshman Sintayehu Taye (mile) all earned their first-ever All-ACC honor, each claiming third in their respective events.
Virginia’s men’s squad finished in an all-time best third-place overall – just 4.5 points shy of second - with a combined 94 points, the most ever for the Cavalier’s men’s program. Florida State’s men won the meet with 125 points, while Virginia Tech scored 98.50 points and the Cavaliers rounded out the top-three with 94.
“Perhaps more exciting than our third place finish on the men’s side was our team’s ability to step up and compete,” head coach Jason Vigilante said. “I’m so delighted that individuals performed so well with the goal of having our best conference showing in our school's history. Without a doubt, we’re moving in the right direction and that’s easily seen by the amount of points we scored today. I’m proud of our team and truly looking forward to developing a program that one day contends for the conference title.”
Florida State also won the women’s competition, scoring 132 points. North Carolina finished second with 104 points and Clemson took third with 85 points.
“I think our women performed with so much emotion and heart at this championship,” Vigilante said. “It was inspiring to see every woman on our team doing their best. I know the results for some may not indicate that everywhere, but I am certain that we are coming together as a team. We can’t wait for another opportunity to show our hard work.”
Collins, coming off an ACC Championship in the 5000m yesterday, finished strong in the 3000m to claim third in a time of 8:13.00.
In an exciting photo finish race in the mile run, Taye and senior Andrew Jesien were among six performers to cross the line within one-second of each other. Taye clamed his first-ever All-ACC honor with a third-place finish in a personal-best 4:04.04 – just 35-tenths of a second behind the leader - while Jesien narrowly missed an all-conference nod, finishing fourth in his best time of 4:04.12. Taye’s time is the third fastest that a Cavalier has ever ran, while Jesien’s is the fourth.
Lobb finished third in the 800m in 1:52.69 to earn his first indoor All-ACC honor – second overall in the 800m, while Abdulrazaaq claimed third in the 60m hurdles with a time of 7.99.
In field events, Ayeni finished runner-up in the shot put, with a throw of 61’ 4.25, while Nelson tied a personal-best in the high jump, clearing 6’ 10.25” to move him into a tie for third-place on Virginia’s all-time top-10 records.
Junior Ayla Smith also edited a school record, improving her already NCAA Provisional Mark in the 60m hurdles, with an 8.39 time to finish sixth.
The Cavalier men concluded the championships with a third-place finish in the 4x400m relay. The quartet of freshman Kevin Anding, freshman Lance Roller, junior All-American Brian Lee and sophomore Meikle Paschal combined for a season-best time of 3:13.12, earning them All-ACC honors.
Virginia will return to Blacksburg, Va. next weekend to compete in the Virginia Tech Last Chance meet on Saturday, March 7, while other Cavaliers will head to South Bend, Ind., to compete in the Alex Wilson Invitational on Friday and Saturday.
Ryan Collins - 5k
Adams Abdulrazaaq - 60m Hurdles
Yemi Ayeni - Shot Put
Kevin Anding - 4x400m Relay
Alex Bowman - DMR
Ryan Collins - 3k, 5k
Emil Heineking - 5k
Brian Lee - 4x400m Relay, DMR
Andrew Lobb - 800m
Greg Nelson - High Jump
Meikle Paschal - 4x400m Relay
Lance Roller - 4x400m Relay, DMR
Sintayehu Taye - Mile
Kevin Tschirhart - DMR