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Virginia track and field turns in another strong performance at the Duke Invitational

The Cavaliers turned in numerous personal best performances and won several events

<p>Graduate student Ka'eo Kruse was one of many Cavaliers to get a personal best, with his performance coming in the men's 1,500 meter event.</p>

Graduate student Ka'eo Kruse was one of many Cavaliers to get a personal best, with his performance coming in the men's 1,500 meter event.

Virginia track and field journeyed to Durham, N.C. last week for the Duke Invitational. The meet began Thursday and came to a close Saturday, with the Cavaliers impressing on all three days. Although the invitational was not scored on a team basis, Virginia still had a plethora of impressive results, continuing the strong season for the Cavaliers.


Senior Alix Still highlighted the day for the Cavaliers with her participation in the women’s heptathlon. The competition welcomed 15 competitors and spanned seven events, including the 100 meter hurdles, high jump, shot put, 200 meter dash, long jump, javelin and 800 meter run. 

First up for Still was the 100 meter hurdles, in which she ran a personal-best time of 13.82 seconds  Shortly after, Still earned 736 more points by finishing fifth in the high jump with a leap of 1.60 meters (5’3”). She sat fourth in the field after the first two events.

Next up, Still took the field for the shot put. The senior placed 13th with a push of 10.54 meters (34’7”) to pick up 565 points, sliding back to fifth in the overall standings with four events still to take place. 

The 200 meter dash followed, with Still placing fourth after completing the race in 25.28 seconds. The run earned her 861 points, keeping her in fifth heading into the second day of the meet with the long jump, javelin and 800 meter run still to complete.


Several Cavaliers participated in the women’s shot put to begin the day. Sophomore thrower Maria Deaviz’s toss of 17.32 meters (56’10”) not only won her the event, but also broke her own program record in the women’s shot put. Graduate thrower Ashley Anumba placed fourth with a throw of 15.29 meters (50’2”), while junior thrower Kaiya Saunders and freshman thrower Janae Profit finished ninth and 10th with pushes of 14.39 meters (47’2.5”) and 14.01 meters (45’11.75”) respectively.

In the men’s shot put, junior thrower Claudio Romero finished third after a launch of 17.59 meters (57’8.5”). The long jump competitions also brought success on both the women’s and men’s sides for Virginia, with junior jumper Jada Seaman placing third with a jump of 6.12 meters (20’1”) and senior jumper Owayne Owens finishing fourth after leaping 7.28 meters (23’10.75”). 

The Cavaliers placed two runners inside the top 20 of the men’s 1,500 meter, including junior distance runner Jacob Hunter in 14th with a time of 3:50.71 and Justin Diehl in 20th with a personal best time of 3:52.38. 

Virginia performed even more impressively in the women’s 1,500 meter, with graduate distance runner Taylor Jones clocking a personal best 4:27.61 to place second and sophomore middle distance runner Anna Workman finishing ninth after running a 4:29.84. 

In the men’s 1,500 meter invite, graduate distance runner Ka’eo Kruse set his personal best mark with a time of 3:40.04 to finish fifth. Freshman distance runner Nathan Mountain finished seventh in the same competition, also running a personal best of 3:40.99.

Sophomore distance runner Yasin Sado won the men’s 3,000 meter steeplechase thanks to a personal best and meet record performance of 8:41.36.

The Cavaliers placed a runner inside the top five of both the men’s and women’s 5,000 meter race. Freshman distance runner Justin Wachtel ran a 14:13.57 to secure fourth on the men’s side, while senior distance runner Helena Lindsay picked up fifth in the women’s event with a time of 16:26.97. 

Still completed the final three events of the heptathlon, picking up 780 points with a fourth place finish in the long jump, 528 points after earning seventh in the javelin, and failing to add to her total in the 800 meter. Still earned 13th overall in the competition.

Other notable performances included freshman thrower Jada Marsh’s ninth place finish in the women’s hammer throw, graduate student Evangelos Fradelakis’ 10th place finish in the men’s hammer throw and senior jumper Zoe Rice’s 12th place finish in the women’s long jump.


The final day of the meet got off to a fast start for Virginia in the women’s discus. Anumba added to her impressive day by winning the event with a heave of 54.14 meters (177’7”). Five other Cavaliers finished in the top 14 of the competition, including Deaviz in third, senior thrower Thelma Kristjansdottir in fifth, Profit in eighth, Saunders in 11th and senior thrower Sadey Rodriguez in 14th.

Senior high jumper Bex Hawkins placed second in the women’s high jump after leaping 1.74 meters (5’8.5”). Virginia finished third in the women’s 4x100 meter relay, completing the race in 45.58 seconds.

Sophomore sprinter Jay Pendarvis clocked a personal best time of 47.40 seconds to place fifth in the men’s 400 meter event, while Rice earned fourth in the women’s triple jump with a leap of 11.98 meters (39’3.75”). 

Seaman picked up a fourth place finish in the women’s 100 meter after an 11.75 second race, while sophomore sprinter Kayla Bonnick placed seventh with a time of 11.84 seconds. 

The Cavaliers earned the top two spots in the men’s discus by way of Romero and junior thrower Jacob Lemmon. Romero won the event after throwing 64.31 meters (211’0”) to improve on his season best and set a facility record at Morris Williams Stadium. Lemmon’s throw of 56.37 meters (184’11”) placed second. 

In the men’s 400 meter hurdles, freshman sprinter Alex Sherman finished fourth with a time of 53.47 seconds. Sophomore middle distance runner Anzhelika Parenchuk picked up fifth in the women’s 400 meter hurdles after putting in a personal best performance of 1:01.56. 

Pendarvis and senior sprinter Jordan Willis placed fourth and fifth in the men’s 200 meter, respectively. Pendarvis completed the event in 21.08 seconds while Willis was just behind with a time of 21.10 seconds. 

Owens won the men’s triple jump competition after leaping 16.14 meters (52’11.5”), setting a meet record and facility record in the process. Freshman jumper Heidi Valikaj earned fourth after a jump of 14.85 meters (48’8.75”). 

Senior javelin thrower Ethan Dabbs placed third in the men’s javelin, launching 71.62 meters (235’0”). Seaman carried her successful weekend into the women’s 200 meter, winning the event outright with a time of 23.65 seconds.

Three more Cavaliers picked up finishes inside the top six in the women’s 800 meter. Junior sprinter Alahna Sabbakhan and freshman distance runner Mia Barnett garnered third and fourth, running times of 2:05.97 and 2:06.11 respectively. Senior distance runner Sydney Coppolino ran a 2:07.26 to finish sixth.

Virginia will look to carry its momentum onwards to next Friday and Saturday, when the Cavaliers are back in action at the Virginia Challenge in Charlottesville.