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Virginia indoor track and field gets boost from their field event performers at the Doc Hale Virginia Tech Elite Meet

The Cavaliers returned to Blacksburg, Va. to compete in their fourth meet of the season.

<p>Junior Ayende Watson tied his personal best in the long jump, jumping 6.89 meters for a seventh-place finish at the meet.&nbsp;</p>

Junior Ayende Watson tied his personal best in the long jump, jumping 6.89 meters for a seventh-place finish at the meet. 

Day one

The Cavaliers had great contributions in the field from the women’s and men’s team along with strong performances in the 400-meter and 800-meter events. 

Women’s track and field 

The long-jump group starred for the Cavaliers on day one. Sophomore Jada Seaman emerged as Virginia’s top performer of the day by winning her first long-jump event of the 2021 season. Seaman, a defending ACC long-jump champion and All-American set a new season best with a jump of 6.35 (20’10”). 

Senior Khyasia Caldwell claimed a spot in the top five by placing fifth in the event with a jump of 5.92 meters (19’5.25”). 

The unseeded pole-vault group featured sophomore Riley Larsen and freshman Trina Barcarola. The pair obtained finishes in the top six. Larsen placed fourth with a tally of 3.49 meters (11’5.25”). Barcarola duplicated Larsen’s mark at 3.49 meters (11’5.25”). 

There were also solid performances by freshman Anzhelika Parenchuk and freshman Abby Comella in the 400-meter event. 

Parenchuk ran a time of 56.08, placing seventh. Her effort claimed the fastest mark by a Cavalier in the 400-meter event this season. Parenchuk’s time is ranked fourth-best by a Virginia freshman.  

Comella placed first in the fourth heat with a time of 58.53. 

Men’s track and field 

Sophomore Derek Pekar solidified second place in the unseeded pole vault event at 4.50 meters (14’9”)—a season best. 

Freshman Liam Bellamy took hold of the top spot in the second heat in the 800-meter event with a time of 1:51.75—finishing sixth overall. 

The weight group featured graduate student Ty Kunzman and freshman Claudio Romero. Kunzman and Romero had solid days, with both placing in the top six. Kunzman placed fifth with a throw of 18.56 meters (60’10.75”). Romero followed up with a sixth place mark of 18.22 meters (59’9.5”). 

Junior Ayende Watson recorded a seventh place performance in the long jump event with a jump of 6.89 meters (22’7.25”)—tying a season best from Monday’s Virginia Beach Invitational.

Day two

Field events led the way for the second consecutive day as multiple Cavaliers set new personal bests and climbed Virginia’s all-time ranks. 

Women’s track and field 

Junior Rebecca Hawkins and Khyasia Caldwell were the Cavaliers’ top performers on the day. 

Hawkins secured second place in the high jump with a mark of 1.71 meters (7.25”).

Caldwell made her first collegiate debut in the triple jump. Caldwell thrived in her new role by claiming second place in the event with a jump of 12.49 meters (40’11.75”). That jump elevated her ranking on Virginia’s all-time performance list to ninth. Additionally, Caldwell became the fourth Cavalier to earn career bests in the long-jump and triple-jump events. 

Along with Caldwell, freshman Nadia Saunders and junior Zoe Rice posted solid performances in the triple jump event. Saunders reeled in a fourth-place finish with a jump of 12.23 meters (40’1.5”). Saunders rose to fourth on Virginia’s freshman record list. Rice grabbed sixth place with a jump of 11.87 meters (38’11.5”). 

Vin Lananna, director of track and field and cross country and associate athletics director for administration, was very pleased by the Cavaliers’ performances in the jumping events. 

“I am really happy that our jumpers were so good today,” Lananna said.

Junior Thelma Kristjansdottir notched a personal best in the shot put event with a throw of 14.08 meters (46’2.5”) to place sixth in the event. Her effort solidified the 10th spot on Virginia’s all-time list. 

Freshman Gabriella Recce competed in the unseeded pole-vault event and tallied a personal best clearance at 3.74 meters (12’3.25”). 

Men’s track and field

Freshman Claudio Romero and junior Kane Aldrich and reeled in fourth-place finishes in their respective events. 

Romero competed in the shot put event and logged a throwing distance of 17.46 meters (57’3.5”).

Aldrich set a personal best in the pole vault event with a height of 4.95 meters (16’2.75”).

The Cavaliers will look to continue improving as the ACC Championship nears. 

“We have two more weeks of pre-championship meets to compete in before we head to the ACC Championships,” Lananna said.

The Cavaliers will travel to two two-day tournaments this coming weekend — the Tiger Paw Invite hosted by Clemson in Clemson, S.C. and the Darius Dixon Memorial Invite hosted by Liberty in Lynchburg, Va. Both tournaments are set to run from Friday, Feb. 12 to Saturday, Feb. 13. 


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