Track and field records five first-place finishes at Virginia Challenge

Cavaliers boasted strong individual performances at annual invitational


Junior Bridget Guy set the facility, meet, and school record with a mark of 4.46m in the pole vault.

Courtesy Virginia Athletics

Virginia track and field hosted the seventh annual Virginia Challenge Friday and Saturday, taking first place in five events. The Cavaliers contested most, but not all, of the invitational’s 83 events.

 The No. 23 men’s team benefited from strong performances from its two All-Americans, junior Hilmar Jonsson and junior Pobo Efekoro. Jonsson finished first in the hammer throw, recording a season-best performance which earned him an eighth-place ranking in the NCAA. Efekoro finished second in the shot-put with a performance ranked 14th-best nationally.

The men’s team completed two additional first-place finishes. Freshman Alfred Shirley III took first in the men’s 400m hurdles invitational with a time of 51.67. Also finishing first was the 4x400m relay team comprised of Shirley, fellow freshmen Jordan Willis and Brandon Outlaw and junior Jack Lint.

Strong second-place finishes came in the discus and pole vault by junior Nace Plesko and sophomore Sam Young, respectively. A season-best performance in the 1500m by graduate student Mike Marsella took second, with a time that also placed Marsella 21st in the NCAA. Sophomore Lachlan Cook’s career best performance in the 10,000 m additionally earned second place in the meet and marks the second-fastest time in the ACC.

On the women’s side, junior Bridget Guy and sophomore Anna Jefferson finished first in the pole vault and 400m invite, respectively. Guy, who is ranked fourth in the nation after the weekend’s performance, set the facility, meet, and school record with a mark of 4.46m.  Jefferson’s performance was also a personal best, as well as ranking fifth in school history.      

Friday also brought personal best performances by senior Katie Freix in the pole vault, junior Mia Barron in the triple jump and senior Carter Green in discus. Barron finished third in the triple jump invitational, behind Virginia junior Kelly McKee and Campbell senior Sabina Allen.  

During the final night of competition, McKee placed second in the long jump with a career-best mark of 6.12 m. Sophomore Alexis Woodley also posted a career best in the 100m hurdles, taking third place in the event. Freshman Brittany Jones also placed third in shot put, setting a freshman record for the school.

The Cavaliers will compete again at home next weekend at the Virginia Grand Prix. The meet will be their last before the ACC Championships begin in May.      

related stories