The Virginia men’s and women’s track and field teams hosted their final meet to conclude the regular season Friday and Saturday at Lannigan Field. The 36-team field at the Virginia Grand Prix gave the Cavaliers an opportunity to put some finishing touches on the season before the ACC Championships.
The performer of the meet on the men’s side goes to senior thrower Hilmar Jonsson. The Icelandic native led the way with a huge 75.26 meter hammer throw to set the Icelandic national, Lannigan Field, and Virginia records.At the Virginia Challenge the previous week, Jonsson threw 73.13 meters to improve upon his previous record. Now, a week later, Jonsson stepped up in a major way to throw 2.13 meters further — a career-best.
"As Coach Fetzer says, 'Seniors burn with that extra fire in them and are capable of doing some incredible things,' and that's exactly what happened tonight," assistant coach Martin Maric said. "It was a long time coming for Hilmar. All the early mornings, heavy lifting and thousands of throws came together tonight. The amazing thing is he has more in him."
On the women’s side, the top performance came from senior Bridget Guy in the pole vault. Guy claimed victory with a season-best jump clearing 4.33 meters, ranking her tenth in the NCAA and second in the ACC.
Action officially kicked off Friday at 4 p.m. In the javelin competition, freshman Ethan Dabbs and senior Marija Bogavac placed highly. Dabbs won the men’s event with a career-best throw of 71.31 meters. The mark puts him in first place in the ACC and thirteenth place in the NCAA. In the women’s event, Bogavac placed second with a season-best throw of 48.06 meters, moving her up to fourth place in the ACC.
"It was a great day for our javelin throwers despite the weather," Maric said.
Continuing the success on the field, freshmen Ayende Watson and Trey Causey finished fourth and fifth respectively in the men’s long jump. Later, senior Mia Barron jumped a season-best 5.92 meters to place second in the women’s long jump.
The men maintained their momentum from Friday as the meet progressed to Saturday. The distance runners in the 5000 meters and 1500 meters deserve recognition. Graduate student Brent Demarest won the 5000 meters with a career-best time of 13:59.24, ranking fifth in the ACC. In the 1500 meters, juniors Matthew Novak and Alex Corbett placed second and fourth, respectively.
In field, senior Oghenakpobo Efekoro finished second overall in the shot put with a throw of 19.61 meters. In the high jump, freshman Trey Causey cleared 2.11 meters to capture second place.
Moving over to the female sprinters, sophomore Halle Hazzard earned a career-best time of 11.58 in the 100 meter dash to finish second. Junior Anna Jefferson clocked 53.59 in the 400 meter dash to win and claim a season-best.
The 100-meter and 400-meter hurdles saw similar results. The tandem of senior Ciara Leonard and junior Alexis Woodley both ran season-bests to place second and third, respectively, in the 100-meter hurdles. Junior Andrenette Knight notched a victory in the 400 meters hurdles as well.
In the jumps, senior Kelly McKee won the triple jump with a wind-assisted jump of 13.52 meters. Sophomore Gabrielle Hayes finished with the final season-best of the day. Hayes cleared 1.62 meters in the high jump to claim second place.
Seniors were recognized Saturday for their contributions to the program as part of the Senior Day celebration.
"Senior Day is always a bittersweet day," Coach Brian Fetzer said. "It's exciting for all that they have accomplished in their time at [the University], but I think the biggest is seeing them grow and mature as people. There has been a lot of struggle and adversity, and at the same time perseverance."
With a strong end to the regular season for the Cavaliers, both teams begin preparation for postseason action. The ACC Championships will take place May 9-11 at Lannigan Field.