CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. -
In the first dual meet for Virginia in at least the last 11 years, the meet was a great success. At the inaugural Virginia-Missouri Jefferson Dual, both the men’s and women’s competitions came down to the last events, with the Cavalier women coming out on top, 103-99, while the men’s squad came up just short to the Mizzou men, falling 105-97. In all, the women won 10 events and the men won nine, with 11 NCAA regional qualifying times met.
“I thought it was a great experience to have a dual meet between these two schools,” head coach Randy Bungard said. “We knew coming into today that we were going to match up well with each other; and we did. You could see a lot of energy and competitiveness in each race, regardless of the outcome. There were some events that were made a little more challenging because we had to run into the wind, but I told our athletes that as long as you win your event, the marks don’t matter.
“Missouri really appreciated a whole team effort from us and both sides ended with some really good marks. Both teams competed hard and everyone out there wanted to win because there was a team score. There was something to really pull together and work for, and that was a good preparation for us going into the ACC Championships, which is another team scored meet.”
The Cavaliers’ women’s squad entered the day down five points after yesterday’s hammer throw, and were down by as many as 19 after eight events were scored today. Top finishes in six of those next seven events, though, saw Virginia pull ahead by one point.
In those seven events, Lauren Echko won the 100m hurdles in a personal-best 14.15. Talia Wise and Ayla Smith finished first and second, respectively, in the 400-meter dash and Janne’a Bridgeford won the 100-meters. Kristina Chapman took first in the 400m hurdles in 1:02.08 and Keshia Ashe finished runner-up in 1:02.87.
In the field events, Rashawnda James took the top spot in the triple jump, leaping an NCAA regional qualifying mark of 12.36m. Katie Tershel finished second with a jump of 11.74 and Katie Darraugh won the pole vault with a mark of 3.55m.
The lone event that Missouri won in that span was the 800m, with Trisa Nickoley beating out Huma Husain by just over a second for the top spot.
With the women up by five with only four events remaining, Missouri won the 200m dash, but Smith and Kisha Garrick took second and third in the event to keep Virginia’s lead. Grant then won the discus, throwing an NCAA qualifying mark of 50.57m and Amy Bilmanis picked up a third place with her throw of 44.77m, keeping Virginia up seven points with two events to go.
Missouri cut into Virginia’s lead by taking the top two spots of the 3000m run leaving it a two point margin going into the final event. Virginia’s 4x400m relay squad of Kristina Chapman, Ayla Smith, Keshia Ashe and Talia Wise won the final event, though, in 3:45.29, to secure the 103-99 inaugural victory for the Cavaliers.
Virginia’s men’s team was also down 8-3 to begin the day. The men pulled within four points of taking the lead after claming the top two events in the 100m dash. Reuben Jones won the event in 10.67, followed by Brandon Carter’s 11.19 finish.
Missouri pulled ahead again, though, with wins in the 800-meter run and the high jump. Adams Abdulrazaaq’s NCAA regional qualifying mark of 52.36 in the 400 meter hurdles got Virginia back on track and Rainer Fiala and Conlon Bonner’s 1-2 finish in the 200 meter dash cut Mizzou’s lead to four again, with three events remaining.
Marcus Robinson’s personal-best leap of 14.91m in the triple jump was good enough to take the top spot, but Missouri squeaked out two close victories in the final two running events to take the inaugural men’s championship. Garett Jefferies beat Ryan Collins’ 8:25.89 by less than a second in the 3000m run for the top spot, and Mizzou’s 4x400m relay team beat out the Cavaliers’ squad by seven-tenths of a second for the victory, leading Missouri to a 105-97 win.
For the day, Yemi Ayeni won the men’s discus (57.17m) and took second in the shot put (17.33m), recording NCAA qualifying marks in both events. Grant and Alexa Manning had strong performances for the women’s shot put. Grant threw a season-best and regional qualifying mark of 15.53m, while Manning threw a personal-best qualifying mark of 14.53m.
Stephen Finley won the 3000m steeplechase in 9:05.40 and Suzanne Ginnow won the women’s side in 10:50.64. Samantha Stafford finished second in 19:50.90, and Finley’s time was an NCAA regional qualifying time.
Other NCAA regional qualifying times that were met were Abdulrazaaq winning the 110m hurdles in 14.34 and Meghan Briggs’ second-place in the javelin. Briggs threw a personal-best 45.99m. The women’s 4x100m relay of Talia Wise, Janne’a Bridgeford, Kisha Garrick and Rashawnda James also qualified for the NCAA Regional meet.
Event winners included Meikle Paschal, who won the 400m dash in a personal-best 47.92 and the men’s and women’s 4x100m relay teams. The men’s team took first with a time of 40.93, while the women finished in 45.50. Katie Trizna took second in the high jump with a personal-best jump of 1.62m.
“Dual meets in general are a great experience,” Bungard said. “It gives people a chance to succeed where they otherwise may not be able to. It gives everyone all around a chance to compete. And today, we did that.”
The Cavaliers will return back to invitational style meets next weekend, hosting the Lou Onesty/Milton Abramson Invitational on Friday and Saturday.