CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. -
The Virginia track and field team will send five competitors - seniors Yemi Ayeni and Andrew Jesien, sophomore Meikle Paschal, and freshmen Lance Roller and Sintayehu Taye - to the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships at the McFerrin Athletic Center in College Station, Texas on March 13-14. ESPN360.com will stream the championships live on both Friday and Saturday, while ESPN2 will air a 90-minute show at 2:30 p.m., on Monday, March 23.
Ayeni’s shot put competition is scheduled to begin at 6:50 p.m., on Friday, with the distance medley relay toeing the line at 8:20 p.m. on Friday. Live results can be found on VirginiaSports.com.
Virginia’s DMR team of Taye, Paschal, Roller and Jesien automatically qualified for NCAAs at last weekend’s Alex Wilson Invitational. The Cavaliers are one of only 14 programs to ever run under 9:30 in the relay, as they won the event in a school-record time of 9:29.86 on Saturday, and currently rank fourth nationally. Arkansas leads the field heading into the championships, running the nation’s best time of 9:28.35, while Oregon ranks second with a time of 9:29.39. California clocks in at third with a time of 9:29.71.
This marks the third time in the past five years that the Cavaliers have sent a men’s distance medley relay to NCAA Indoors, with Virginia’s 2007 squad of senior Brian Lee, Kevin McHale, Jordan Orr and Alex Tatu earning All-America honors with a seventh-place finish. Virginia’s best-ever finish in the event was in 1981, when the All-American quartet of Chuck Brown, Vince Draddy, Theo Hodge and David Revelle finished runner-up.
Ayeni heads to his first NCAA Indoor Championships, competing in the shot put. Ayeni became the Cavaliers’ all-time top field event performer in last year’s NCAA Outdoor Championships, finishing runner-up in the discus.
Ayeni is a two-time All-ACC performer in the shot put, in addition to holding the school record in the event. He currently ranks 11th nationally with his personal-best throw of 61’ 8.25”.
A total of 568 athletes will compete in this weekend’s national event, with all five Cavaliers making their first trip to the NCAA Indoor Championships.