Virginia track and field dominates in first home meet of the outdoor season

The home opener kicks off a four-meet home stretch concluding with the ACC Championships

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Senior Hilmar Jonsson set the tone early for the Cavaliers and recorded the third-best hammer throw in the country with a mark of 72.21 meter.

Courtesy Virginia Athletics

The Virginia men’s and women’s track and field teams hosted a quad meet against Maryland, Pittsburgh and West Virginia over the weekend. In the season opener for the majority of Virginia athletes, the Cavaliers set the tone early in the field events and carried over the success to the track. The best performance of the meet goes to senior Jade Baker for her school record performance in the hammer throw.

The men concluded action with eight total victories, largely concentrated in the field. Senior Oghenakpobo Efekoro and junior Spencer Dodds earned special recognition for placing first and second in their respective two events. Efekoro competed in his first ever collegiate hammer throw event ranking fourth in school history with a throw of 60.88 meters, placing him behind senior Hilmar Jonsson. Jonsson’s throw of 72.21 meters was equally impressive, moving him up to third in the nation. On the track, Dodds topped the field in the 1500 meter run with a time of 3:54.26 and finished runner-up in the 800 meter run with a time of 1:53.05.

Other impressive field performances include freshman Ethan Dabbs’ breakout javelin throw of 68.57 meters to win and capture the freshman record. Similarly, freshman Trey Causey secured first place in his first ever collegiate long jump event. Junior Sam Young wrapped things up for the Cavaliers on the field with a win and career-best finish in the pole vault. 

Moving over to the track, sophomore Jordan Willis led the 200 meter dash with a time of 21.82 and junior Matthew Novak recorded a personal record time of 5:49.67 to win the 2000 meter steeplechase. 

In similar fashion, the women won a total of seven events, along with a new school record in the hammer throw. Baker threw 62.67m to dethrone Maureen Laffan’s record set in 2012. 

"I can't say enough about it," Director of Track and Field Bryan Fetzer said. "[Baker] has been focused on making the most of the opportunity as a senior. When you have expectations and put it all in mentally and physically to accomplish them, amazing things happen. She is just starting. There is a lot left in her."

Continuing the success on the field, freshman Thelma Kristjansdottir threw a collegiate number one 50.92 meter in the discus. Additionally, sophomore Khyasia Caldwell-Adams won the long jump, senior Marija Bogavac topped the javelin and sophomore Brittany Jones claimed first place in the shot put.

In the sprints, both the 100 meter and 400 meter dash and hurdles were swept by the Cavaliers. Freshman Halle Hazzard captured first place in the 100 meter dash with a time of 11.72, and junior Anna Jefferson ran a time of 53.96 to win the 400 meter dash. In the hurdle races, senior Ciara Leonard topped the 100 meter hurdles in 13.60 and junior Andrenette Knight clocked a time of 58.72 to win the 400 meter hurdles. 

"It was a great way to start off our home campaign," Fetzer said. "It was the season opener for a lot of our team and they responded…. It's just the beginning. There will be some exciting weeks for this program going forward. This is a special group and special things will come as long as they do not lose sight of their desires."

The Cavaliers will compete next weekend, April 19-20, in the Virginia Challenge at Lannigan Field.

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