The Virginia men’s and women’s track and field teams traveled to Blacksburg to compete in the ACC Championships this past Thursday through Saturday at Rector Field House. The Cavaliers faced off in a multitude of events, finishing fifth overall with 49 points on the men’s side and ninth overall with 31 points on the women’s side. The only win came from junior Jordan Scott in the triple jump — however, three second finishes and three third-place finishes earned the Cavaliers seven podium finishes and seven first-team ACC honors.
With the real action kicking off Friday, the men produced three podium finishes and a school record performance by Scott in the long jump. Scott smashed the 10-year-old record with a jump of 7.53m on his second attempt of the qualification round. In the finals, Scott jumped even further, covering 7.58m. Scott’s best jump moved him up to third place overall, resulting in first-team ACC honors and a podium appearance. Another break out performance in the long jump came from freshman Ayende Watson, who placed sixth with a jump of 7.41m.
Coming in as an underdog at the No. 11 seed, Virginia senior Hilmar Jonsson finished a surprising third place in the weight throw competition. One place back from his second place performance the previous year, Jonsson has earned back-to-back first-team ACC honors in the weight throw.
To cap off an already momentous day for the men’s team, junior Brenton Foster scored a big-time second place finish in the high jump with a clearance of 2.16m. Freshman Trey Causey placed fifth in the high jump at 2.13m, improving on his freshman record from earlier this season. With the explosive podium finishes, the men moved up to second place on the leaderboard by the end of the day.
On the women’s side, the story of the day came from the senior pole vaulter Bridget Guy, who finally earned herself a podium finish. Guy finished in third place with a clearance of 4.28m.
"For Bridget, at her final ACC indoor championship, she was finally able get on the podium," said Mario Wilson, Virginia assistant coach for jumps. "Jumping 14 feet for third place is really good for such a deep conference … to end her ACC indoor career on the podium, you can't ask for much more than that."
The final day of competition was just as exciting as the aforementioned day two. Scott breezed by the competition and in only one jump, secured the victory in the triple jump by jumping an easy 16.37m. Scott set the ACC record earlier in the year (16.90m) in addition to being the runner-up the previous year and the champion in 2017.
"This could not happen to a nicer, more dedicated young man," said Director of Track and Field Bryan Fetzer. "The good thing about today was that Jordan was able to save himself for the upcoming NCAA Championships in two weeks, where he has a shot at doing some pretty special things."
On the track, senior Emmanuel Jackson in the 60m high hurdles and redshirt sophomore Ari Klau in the 3000m both received second-team ACC honors for their respective sixth and fourth place finishes.
The women concluded conferences with two well-deserved runner-up performances. Senior Kelly McKee jumped a PR of 13.00m on her final attempt, capturing the same result from the previous year. On the other hand, redshirt freshman Halle Hazzard entered the final in seventh position from Friday’s prelims. Blowing past her favored opponents, Hazzard tied her own school record, running a time of 7.32.
"The ones who competed today really stepped up," Feltzer said. "Kelly McKee, competing for the first time during the indoor season and finishes at 13 meters, which is fantastic for her and a real confidence builder going into the outdoor season. Halle Hazzard has been consistent all year which is great to see after she had to sit out last season as a first year with injuries."
For both the men and the women, the ACC Championships served as the official meet between Virginia and Virginia Tech in the Commonwealth Clash. Unfortunately for the Cavaliers, the Hokies were able to claim both point victories in the head-to-head rivalry.
Minus a few individuals, Virginia track and field ends the indoor season and switches gears to outdoors.
"Overall, there were a lot of positives when there were not a lot of opportunities for scoring," Fetzer said. "We are really excited about the upcoming outdoors season. We have a plethora of points that don't even compete for us during the indoor season. This performance should give our women's team a lot of confidence as they head into the outdoor portion of the schedule."