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Track and field caps off another solid performance at the Hokie Invitational

The Cavaliers continued to compete at a high level in Blacksburg Va. at Rector Field House this past weekend

<p>Junior Alix Still notched three career bests on the first day of the Hokie Invitational.</p>

Junior Alix Still notched three career bests on the first day of the Hokie Invitational.

After a successful season opener at the Virginia Tech Invitational — where several top performers emerged — the Cavaliers carried over similar success in the two-day Hokie Invitational. 

Day One

Senior Halle Hazzard and sophomore Maya Maloney set the tone on day one of the Hokie Invitational with first place finishes to lead the women’s team. 

Hazzard won the 60-meter prelims with a time of 7.32 and the 60-meter finals with a time of 7.34 for the second consecutive week. 

Maloney won the unseeded pole vault event at 3.90 meters (12’9.5”). In addition to Maloney, the rest of the pole-vaulting group had a great day with three players placing in the top five in a field of 10 qualifiers. Freshman Gabrielle Recce tied for second place at 3.70 meters (12’1.5”) —  her performance now ranks ninth all-time in program history. Sophomore Riley Larsen matched that effort with a 3.70-meter (12’1.5”) mark of her own. Finally, freshman Trina Barcarola rounded out the Cavaliers’ excellent group performance with a height of 3.60 meters (11’9.75”). 

Junior Alix Still flourished in multiple pentathlon events for the Cavaliers, and her all-around performance culminated in a second-place finish with a pentathlon point total of 3,781. As part of this incredible performance, she placed third in the high jump with a jump of 1.67 meters (5’5.75”) and notched three career records — including placing in the top five in the long jump at 5.48 meters (17’11.75”), finishing sixth in the shot put at 10.23 meters (33’6.75) and finishing with a time of 8.85 in the 60-meter hurdle event. Still also secured second place in the 800-meter event at 2.23.03.

In the one-mile race, freshman Ellie Desmond was the Cavaliers’ top performer — earning fourth place at 4:56.88.

Freshman Nadia Saunders placed fifth in the women’s triple jump with a score of 11.95 meters (39’2.5”).

Senior Hannah Moran trimmed seven seconds off her career-best time of 9.46.48 in the 3000-meter event.

The men’s 3000-meter, one-mile and weight groups also had solid performances on day one.

The 3000-meter group had two performances place in the top three — junior Derek Johnson headlined the group by winning the event with a time of 8:17.17. Graduate student Ka’eo Kruse earned third place in the event with a career-best time of 8:23.52. 

The one-mile group had two out of 14 runners place in the top four. Senior Randy Neish emerged as the Cavaliers’ top performer with a time of 4:06.13, stamping third place. Freshman Yasin Sado followed up with a good performance of his own — placing fourth with a time of 4:06.35. 

The weight crew was led by graduate student Ty Kunzman and freshman Claudio Romero. Kunzman sealed fourth place at 19.18 meters (62’11.25”), which now ranks fifth all-time in Virginia history. Romero completed a fifth-place effort at 18.47 meters (60’7.2.5”), and his throw currently ranks seventh in Virginia history. 

Freshman Jeremiah Wilson placed fourth in the 60-meter hurdle event with a tally of 8.50.

Day Two

On day two of the invitational, Hazzard had another outstanding performance. Hazzard won the 200-meter event with a time of 24:04 — securing her second top finish over the weekend. Freshman Kayla Bonnick reeled in third place in the 200-meter at 24.72. 

The Cavaliers were also led by sophomore Rebecca Hawkins, who topped the women’s high jump with a career best of 1.76 meters (5’9.25”). Her career best now ranks seventh all-time in program history. 

Along with the women’s 200-meter group, the 800-meter group grabbed two top-three finishes. Sophomore Alahna Sabbakhan placed second with a time of 2:10.82, and freshman Keara Seasholtz placed third with a time of 2:12.88. 

Khyasia Caldwell led the Cavaliers’ long-jump group with a third-place finish at 6.02 meters (19’9”).

The women’s 400-meter relay team finished sixth with a time of 3:47.92. 

Senior Jordan Willis was the Cavaliers’ day-two top performer for the men’s team. Willis posted a second-place finish in the 200-meter event at 21.83. 

The men’s 4x400-meter relay group ran a third-place time of 3:21.16. 

Freshman Claudio Romero earned a fifth-place posting in the shot-put event at 17.37 meters (57’0”).

Junior Colin Duignan also cemented a fifth-place finish in the pole vault event at 4.90 meters (16’0.75”). Duignan tied his career-best jump and he is also tied for the eighth-best height in Virginia history. 

Freshman Jay Pendarvis notched a time of 22.28 in the 200-meter event — the fifth fastest by a freshman in program history. 

Vin Lananna, director of track and field and cross country and associate athletics director of administration, was very pleased with the effort of his players and their preparation leading into the two-day invitational. 

“Really strong effort for the entire team, the U.Va. squad has prepared well and we look forward to making progress at each meet,” Lananna said. 

The Cavaliers will compete again Feb. 1 in Virginia Beach at the Virginia Beach Invitational. 


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