The Virginia men's and women's track and field teams finished competition at the ACC Outdoor Championships Saturday (April 21) at Lannigan Field. The women placing second with 100 points, their best finish since 1995, while the men captured third with 113 points.
"I couldn't be happier for our team," director of track and field/cross country Bryan Fetzer said. "It was a fantastic atmosphere here at Lannigan Field and it was a collective team effort this weekend. We should expect to be in the top two or three teams in the conference every year and we're going to continue to work hard to achieve that and continue to improve as a program."
Freshman Nick Vena (Morristown, N.J.) was named the ACC Men's Outdoor Most Valuable Field Performer after winning the discus with a mark of 54.84m (179' 11"), the fifth-best mark in school history and second-best by a freshman. Vena won the shot put on Friday with a school record throw of 19.51m (64' 0.25"), the third-best mark in the nation.
"To be honest, it surprised me today, but I'm thrilled with this because I never expected a double win," Vena said. "Everything I've been working on is starting to connect together in the same throw. It's pretty exciting. It's all about scoring points for the team and that's what I was thinking about."
Senior Marcus Robinson (Richmond, Va.) claimed gold in the men's triple jump with a distance of 16.40m (53' 9.75"), a new school record, the second-best mark in the nation this year. Robinson, who also won the triple jump at the indoor conference meet, broke the record set in 1976 by Keith Witherspoon, who coached Robinson in high school.
"I'm excited to be out here competing in front of our home fans," Robinson said. "My old high school coach (Witherspoon) is here watching me and it's a great atmosphere. It feels good to bring home the trophy and it's a great accomplishment, but I hope to get more in the future."
In 2010, senior Lance Roller (Cortlandt Manor, N.Y.) won the men's 800 meters ACC title. On Saturday, he became a two-time champion with a time of 1:47.82, the eighth-fastest time in program history.
"It was awesome, the home crowd helped me so much and gave me that extra energy to pull through at the end," Roller said.
Senior Erin Wykoff (St. Jacob, Ill.) claimed gold in the women's discus with a mark of 53.23m (174' 8"), a new PR and the third-best mark in school history. The senior's second attempt was her best and had four throws over the 50-meter mark.
"It was an exciting day, I came out with a good first throw and progressed in the second one," Wykoff said. "To be able to do my best for them (the home crowd) and the team was awesome, I'm pretty amped up right now."
In the final men's event of the meet, the 4x400 relay, the Cavalier team of senior Kevin Anding (Houston, Texas), sophomore Ozzie Bryan (Philadelphia, Pa.), Roller and freshman Payton Hazzard (Huntington, N.Y.) crossed the line first in a time of 3.08.80, the fourth-fastest time in school history.
Junior Morgane Gay (Bethesda, Md.) earned two silver medals Saturday. She finished the 1,500 meters in 4:26.14, and followed that up with a time of 16:37.15 in the 5,000 meters. Senior Catherine White (Roanoke, Va.) crossed the line third in the 5,000 in 16:42.70, two nights after winning the 10,000 meters.
In the women's high jump, junior Pearl Bickersteth (Dumfries, Va.) placed third with a height of 1.76m (5' 9.25"). Sophomore Emily Kianka (Pennington, N.J.) reached the same height, but was fifth on misses.
Freshman Jordan Lavender (Nashville, Tenn.) broke the UVa freshman record in the women's 400 meters, taking home bronze in a time of 53.44. That mark also ranks fourth on Virginia's all-time list.
Hazzard earned bronze in the men's 400 meters in a time of 47.29, the ninth-fastest time in school history and third-fastest freshman time.
Two days after finishing second in the men's 10,000 meters, junior Sean Keveren (Brentwood, Tenn.) placed third in the 5,000 in 14:08.51, just ahead of freshman Kyle King (Yorktown, Va.), who crossed the line fourth in 14:09.59.
Virginia Tech's men won the meet with 153.5 points, ahead of Florida State, who had won or shared the championship each of the last seven years, with 149 points. The Cavaliers finished with 113 points, followed by North Carolina (94.5), Clemson (78), Duke (59), NC State (58), Maryland (31), Wake Forest (28), Georgia Tech (26), Miami (22) and Boston College (4).
On the women's side, Clemson won the title for the third consecutive year, followed by the Cavaliers with 100 points. Florida State (75) was third, ahead of Virginia Tech (74), Duke (74), North Carolina (69), Miami (61), NC State (58), Maryland (49), Georgia Tech (32), Boston College (26) and Wake Forest (14).
The Cavaliers return to action next weekend for the Penn Relays in Philadelphia, Pa., April 26-28.
ACC Champions (7 events)
Senior Catherine White - 10,000 meters
Senior Erin Wykoff - Discus Throw
Senior Lance Roller (2) - 800 meters, 4x400 relay
Senior Marcus Robinson - Triple Jump
Freshman Nick Vena (2) - Shot Put, Discus
Senior Kevin Anding - 4x400 relay
Sophomore Ozzie Bryan - 4x400 relay
Freshman Payton Hazzard - 4x400 relay
Men's Most Valuable Field Performer
Freshman Nick Vena