Roller and Taye Earn Titles on Final Day of ACC Championships

VIRGINIASPORTSDOTCOM
VIRGINIASPORTSDOTCOM

VIRGINIASPORTSDOTCOM
CLEMSON, S.C. – The Virginia track and field team wrapped up competition at the 2010 ACC Outdoor Track and Field Championships Saturday afternoon at Clemson’s Rock Norman Complex. Led by ACC Titles from sophomore All-Americans Lance Roller and Sintayehu Taye, the men’s squad earned a third-place finish, while senior All-American Meghan Briggs’ javelin title on Thursday led the women’s team to an eighth-place finish. Throughout the championships, the Cavaliers earned 15 all-conference performances.

“For three days, our kids stepped up and competed beyond expectation,” head coach Jason Vigilante said. “I am so proud of the intensity, determination and character of our teams. In particular, Meghan, Sintayehu and Lance all stood on top of the podium leading many others to All-ACC performances. Although we did not win, we fought hard and represented UVa well.”

Taye kicked off events on the track by recovering from a stumble coming around the last turn of a tactical 1500m race to edge Virginia Tech’s Michael Hammond to earn top honors. Taye finished in 3:59.96, while Hammond finished runner-up with a time of 4:00.02. Senior Alex Bowman joined Taye on the awards stand, finishing third in 4:00.19.

“The pace was kind of slow throughout the race, so everyone was in the front and it was hard to get around,” Taye said. “If you wanted to pass people, it was hard because EVERYONE was together. The last lap went fast, so I went hard and was just trying to stay with the leaders. Fortunately, Bowman moved away and let me pass him and I was able to stay with the leaders.”

The title marked the first ACC Championship for Taye, while it was the fourth for the Cavaliers in the event. Former All-American Andrew Jesien was the last to win, claiming the title in 2008, while former All-American’s John Hinton (1983) and Vince Draddy (1981) have also garnered titles top honors in the 1500m.

“It means a lot to win the individual title,” Taye said. “It means a great deal. Indoor was rough and the beginning of the outdoor season wasn’t going very well. I’m very happy that I won, I wished we could have won as a team too.”

In the 800m, the Cavaliers’ All-American duo of Roller and freshman Robby Andrews battled to the finish line, with Roller edging the indoor 800m ACC Champion by less than two-tenths of a second for the title. Roller finished with a time of 1:50.79, while Andrews crossed in 1:50.92. Bowman also scored for the Cavaliers in the event, narrowly taking fourth in 1:51.33, behind Florida State’s Nathan Duby, who finished in 1:51.03.

“I couldn’t have done this without Robby and Bowman,” Roller said “It was a full team effort. It was a stepping-stone in becoming a great runner. In order to be great, you have to compete against the best runners. Fortunately, I train against the best runners every day.

“The thing I enjoyed the best about this meet wasn’t the fact that I won the title, it was that everyone showed up to compete. It was a full team effort. Everyone pitched in bit-by-bit to get the score we accumulated. I’m just thankful for everything and the opportunities that I’ve been given here at the University of Virginia.”

Virginia also made the awards podium in the 110m hurdles, the 400m hurdles, the triple jump, the 5000m and the 4x400m relay. Junior Adams Abdulrazaaq broke Barry Word’s 26-year-old school record in the 110m hurdles, finishing runner-up in the event in 13.85, while in the 400m hurdles, senior transfer All-American Steve Delice finished second with a time of 50.94. His time marks the program’s third-best finish ever.

Junior Marcus Robinson earned his second-straight all-conference honor in the triple jump, finishing third with a personal-best leap of 52’ 5.5 – the second-best jump in program history – and in the 5000m, redshirt sophomore Ryan Collins finished third with a time of 14:28.44.

Virginia’s men’s 4x400m relay team of sophomore Kevin Anding, Roller, Andrews and Abdulrazaaq combined to finish third with a time of 3:09.5 – about two seconds shy of the school record set in 1988.

Throughout today’s competition, Abdulrazaaq scored for the Cavaliers in three events, while Anding, Andrews, Bowman and Roller picked up points in two events each. In addition to the 110m hurdles and the 4x400m relay, Abdulrazaaq finished fourth in the 400m hurdles with a time of 52.79, while Bowman scored in the 800m and the 1500m.

Sophomore Kevin Anding and freshman Brett Johnson each earned sixth-place finishes in their respective events, with Anding finishing with a time of 47.53 in the 400m and Johnson finishing the 1500m in 4:00.53.

Senior Ariane Sloan took seventh in the 800m with a personal best time of 2:10.35, while redshirt freshman Tasia Potasinski finished eighth in the 1500m in 4:37.18.

In field events, the Cavaliers had a trio of scorers in the high jump, with junior Greg Nelson and freshman Pearl Bickersteth finishing seventh in their respective competition and junior Artie Gennari taking eighth. Nelson and Gennari both cleared 6’ 8.75”, while Bickersteth finished with a mark of 5’ 8.5”. Freshman Robert Guider took eighth in the hammer with a personal-best throw of 182’ 8”.

In the relays, Virginia’s women’s 4x100m team of junior Kisha Garrick, junior Kristina Chapman, sophomore Meagan Gillespie and freshman Danielle Williams combined for a seventh-place finish in 46.59. The Cavaliers’ 4x400m relay also earned a seventh-place finish to cap off events at the meet. Junior Kristina Chapman, Gillespie, junior Lyndsay Harper and junior Chidi Uche combined for a time of 3:43.64.

Virginia’s men’s squad was in the running for the team championship for a second-straight season, but couldn’t hold off ACC Champion Florida State – which has claimed a portion of the last six championships – and Virginia Tech. The Seminoles won the crown with 138.5 points, while the Hokies finished with 130 points, edging the Cavaliers out of second place by five points. Virginia earned 125 points throughout the championship.

On the women’s side, the Cavaliers earned 43 points for eighth place. Clemson ran away with the title, finishing with 177 points, while Florida State was second with 124 points. North Carolina rounded out the top three with 89 points.

Virginia will return to action next week as it heads to the prestigious Penn Relays. Events are scheduled to run Thursday-Saturday.


ACC Champions
Meghan Briggs, Javelin, 1st - Thursday
Lance Roller, 800m, 1st
Sintayehu Taye, 1500m, 1st

All-ACC Performers
Meghan Briggs, Javelin, 1st - Thursday
Lance Roller, 800m, 1st
Sintayehu Taye, 1500m, 1st
Adams Abdulrazaaq, 110mH, 2nd
Robby Andrews, 800m, 2nd
Ryan Collins, 10k, 2nd - Thursday
Steve Delice, 400mH, 2nd
Andy Fahringer, Javelin, 2nd - Thursday
Steve Finley, Steeple, 2nd – Friday
Emily Vannoy, SP, 2nd - Friday
Alex Bowman, 1500m, 3rd
Ryan Collins, 5000m, 3rd
Trey Miller, 10k, 3rd – Thursday
Marcus Robinson, TJ, 3rd