After a week of preparation, the Cavaliers were back in action Monday as they traveled to the Virginia Beach Sports Center.
Men’s track and field
Junior Owayne Owens continues to shine week after week for the men’s team. He topped his career best jump of 7.17 meters (23’6.25) with a jump of 7.23 meters (23’8.75) in his second attempt, but he didn’t stop there. Owens continued to improve and top that mark with a jump of 7.39 meters (24’3). Finally, he finished the day by winning the long jump event with a jump of 7.58 meters (24’10.5) on his sixth and final attempt — topping a school record set in 2019.
Junior Ayende Watson placed in the top five for the same event with a jump of 6.89 meters (22’7.25).
Freshman Connor Murphy made his collegiate debut in the 800-meter event, and he made his presence known by winning the event with a time of 1:49.91. Murphy’s performance set a record for the fourth-fastest by a Virginia freshman.
There were impressive performances by the men in the mile, 5000-meter and shot put events.
Graduate student Randy Neish had a strong showing in the mile by placing second with a time of 4:05.40. Junior Derek Johnson claimed second place in the 5000-meter event with a time of 14:16.93. Redshirt freshman Claudio Romero secured second place in the shot put event at 16.91 meters (55’5.75).
The Cavaliers also performed well in the 400-meter, 3000-meter and 60-meter hurdle events.
Senior Jordan Willis was the men’s top performer in the 400-meter event with a time of 48.41. Freshman Wes Porter competed in the 3000-meter event and took home third place with a time of 8:06.18. Freshman Jeremiah Wilson tallied another third place crossing of the finish line for the men’s team at 8.40 in the 60-meter hurdle event.
Redshirt freshman Jacob Lemmon and sophomore Jacob Hunter set new personal bests in the weight throw and the mile, respectively. Lemmon had a throw of 18.93 meters (62’1.25), while Hunter set his personal best with a mile time of 4:11.94. Lemmon is now ranked second on Virginia’s freshman all-time performance list.
Women’s track and field
The women’s team had a great showing as well. Freshman Keara Seasholtz and sophomore Jada Seaman marked their names in the record books in their respective events at this invitational.
Seasholtz took down Virginia’s all-time tally in the 600-meter race and won the event with a time of 1:31.58. Seaman eclipsed her previous record-setting time of 23.56 in the 200-meter race, with a first-place time of 23:76. She also placed third in the 60-meter event with a time of 7.37 — tying the second-best performance in Cavalier history.
Junior Khyasia Caldwell had a good contribution in the 200-meter event at 25:10, placing fifth.
Sophomore Alahna Sabbakhan recorded a time of 1:32.27, placing second in the 600-meter event behind Seasholtz.
The women’s team finished first place in multiple events throughout the day — including the 4x400 relay, 400-meter, shot put and the long jump events.
The 4x400 relay team was made up of Keara Seasholtz, Alahna Sabbakhan, senior Halle Hazzard and graduate student Andrenette Knight. The group put forth a fantastic collective effort to claim the winning time of 3:45.63.
Andrenette Knight conquered the 400-meter event with a time of 56.52.
Senior Brittany Jones topped the shot put with a throw of 14.43 meters (47’4.25).
Junior Alix Still set the tone for the long jump group and iced the event with a collegiate personal best jump of 5.73 meters (18’9.75). Several other strong performers emerged from the group with personal bests in the event including junior Zoe Rice with a second-place finish and a jump of 5.68 meters (18’7.75), sophomore Tara Zeni with a jump of 5.56 meters (18’3) and junior Mia Abulencia, also with a jump of 5.56 meters (18’3).
The women’s 60-meter team also had a great performance with three athletes finishing in the top four. In addition to Seaman’s third-place finish, senior Halle Hazzard led the way for the Cavaliers with a second-place performance at 7.29. Hazzard’s second place in this event is her third consecutive finish in the top two this season. Additionally, freshman Kayla Bonnick secured fourth place at 7.53.
Freshman Nadia Saunders stamped a career best in the 60-meter hurdle event at 8.77. Still also had a career best in the same event at 8.80.
Three meets in, the Cavaliers are looking good and the team continues to put on some great performances. Despite the abundance of top finishes and personal bests, there are still areas for improvement.
“We had many good performances and identified several areas for improvement,” said Vin Lananna, director of track and field and cross country and associate athletics director for administration. “It was an incredibly valuable experience for the U.Va. program.”
The Cavaliers will get a few days to recover before returning to Rector Field House in Blacksburg Feb. 5 and 6 to compete in the Virginia Tech Elite Meet.