CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. -
The Virginia track and field team has made a change to its previously scheduled mile run at the annual Lou Onesty Invitational on Friday night to accommodate fans attending Virginia’s 7 p.m. baseball game against Georgia Tech. The mile is now scheduled to run at 6:30 p.m., at Lannigan Field by the entrance to Davenport Field. Entrance to Lannigan Field is free, so fans attending the baseball game are encouraged to stop by the track on their way to the game and see the field attempt to break the four-minute mark.
"The mile run is a test of endurance, speed and willpower,” head coach Jason Vigilante said. “Friday evening's event will showcase some of Virginia's finest student-athletes against a barrier so many sports fans can relate to. We will run at 6:30 to capture not only enthusiastic crowds but favorable weather. Hopefully we can gather support from the Cavalier faithful as they enter Davenport Field for the 7 p.m. game. I am so excited for everyone who is able to watch our young men compete. If you are free for just a few minutes, please come share your support."
The mile is track and field’s premier event, with runners consistently attempting to break the four-minute barrier. The first runner to record a sub four-minute mile was Roger Bannister in 1954, running 3:59.4. The first American to break four minutes was the University of California’s Don Bowden, who ran 3:58.7 on June 1, 1957, while the current world record stands at 3:43.13, ran by Hicham El Guerrouj of Morocco on July 7, 1999. The American record holder in the mile is Alan Webb, a native of Reston, Va., who ran 3:46.91 on July 21, 2007.
Once deemed physically impossible, as of March 7, 2010, there have been 347 United States athletes who have broken the four-minute mark. Included on that list is former Cavalier All-American Andrew Jesien, who will be among the field of competitors on Friday evening. Jesien first broke four minutes while running post-collegiately in Seattle, Wash., on Feb. 13, 2010. He finished with a time of 3:58.91.
The fastest mile to be run in the state of Virginia is a time of 3:57.46, recorded by Josh McDougal of Liberty University on March 31, 2007 in Lynchburg, Va. No runner has ever finished a mile under four minutes in the Charlottesville area.
This Friday, the Cavaliers will field numerous participants that are capable of joining the four-minute mile club. Among those will be freshman Robby Andrews, who will be making his outdoor debut after winning the NCAA Indoor Championship in the 800m on March 13. Last year, as a high school senior, Andrews broke Webb’s national high school record in the 1000m, running 2:22.28 indoors. He then became the first US prep athlete in history to run under 1:50 for 800m indoors.
ACC Champion and All-American Ryan Collins will also compete, in addition to All-American Sintayehu Taye. Albemarle High School graduate freshman Zach Vrhovac will be among the competitors, while senior Steve Finley, freshman Brett Johnson and the possibility of others will all give it their best shot to break the coveted mark.
There will be pace setters among the competitors to ensure a fast race and assistant coach Brad Hunt will announce the event as it progresses to keep fans up to speed on the race.
The entire Lou Onesty Invitational will be held at Lannigan Field on Friday and Saturday. Throwing events are scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. on Friday, followed by the men’s mile at 6:30 p.m. On Saturday, field events are set to start at 10 a.m., with track events beginning at noon.