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Virginia track and field shatters records at the Penn Relays

The Cavaliers collected a handful of impressive finishes on their way to another victory-laden weekend

<p>Sophomore sprinter Kayla Bonnick and junior sprinter Jada Seaman each qualified for the 100 meter dash finals, with Bonnick posting a personal best time.</p>

Sophomore sprinter Kayla Bonnick and junior sprinter Jada Seaman each qualified for the 100 meter dash finals, with Bonnick posting a personal best time.

Virginia track and field paid a visit to Philadelphia, last weekend for the Penn Relays at Franklin Field. The Cavaliers had their hands full for a meet that welcomed nearly 200 universities from across 33 states, but Virginia still came away successful across a variety of events. 

Friday

The Cavaliers’ first appearance on the track came in the women’s distance medley relay, with Virginia featuring freshman distance runners Margot Appleton and Mia Barnett as well as junior sprinters Jada Seaman and Alahna Sabbakhan. The Cavaliers took fourth place in the event out of 13 qualifying schools, finishing in 11:04.40.

Virginia returned minutes later for the same event on the men’s side, also earning a fourth place finish — this time with a time of 9:30.69. Sophomore distance runner Wes Porter, senior sprinter Jordan Willis, graduate distance runner Ka’eo Kruse and sophomore middle distance runner Conor Murphy spearheaded a Cavaliers’ relay that finished just 1.24 seconds behind first place Ole Miss. 

The group could be seen as unlucky not to place farther up the leaderboards, as their official time would have been good to win the men’s distance medley relay at each of the last five Penn Relays.

In the women’s 100 meter dash preliminaries, sophomore sprinter Kayla Bonnick finished eighth after finishing the race in a personal best 11.47 seconds. The time qualified Bonnick for the women’s 100 meter dash finals on Saturday. 

Seaman also qualified for the finals in the 100 meter dash, winning her heat and earning 14th place with a time of 11.63 seconds. 

Saturday

The meet’s final day began with a bang for Virginia, with graduate student thrower Ashley Anumba winning the women’s discus championship. Anumba launched 57.53 meters (188’9”) to place first, breaking her own program record for the women’s discus in the process. Sophomore thrower Maria Deaviz earned sixth in the same competition after throwing 48.78 meters (160’0”). 

In the men’s discus championship, junior thrower Claudio Romero followed up Anumba’s dazzling display with an impressive performance of his own. Romero won the event with a toss of 67.02 meters (219’10”), breaking his own program record — as well as the ACC record — for the men’s discus. Junior thrower Jacob Lemmon hurled 58.02 meters (190’4”) for a sixth place finish in the same event. 

Seaman participated in the women’s long jump, continuing her stellar weekend by placing third following a jump of 6.07 meters (19’11”). 

Porter and Kruse returned for their second event of the meet, this time accompanied by freshman distance runner Nathan Mountain and sophomore distance runner Yasin Sado for the men’s 4xMile. In what was a remarkable ending to the race, the Cavaliers’ quartet picked up second place with a time of 16:17.89, setting the Virginia record for the 4xMile in the process. The time was just 0.44 seconds behind event-winning Texas. 

In the women’s 100 meter championship, Seaman and Bonnick collected seventh and eighth, respectively. Seaman finished the race in 11.55 seconds, with Bonnick crossing the line in 11.64 seconds.

Both the men’s and women’s 4x800 meter events brought more success for the Cavaliers. On the women’s side, a team of Sabbakhan, Barnett, senior distance runner Sydney Coppolino and sophomore middle distance runner Keara Seasholtz placed fifth, setting a program record in the competition with a time of 8:31.00. For the men, Murphy, Sado, sophomore middle distance runner Liam Bellamy and junior distance runner Ethan Zeh ran a 7:18.78 to finish third.

To end on a high note, senior jumper Owayne Owens took home a victory in the men’s triple jump, setting an outdoor personal-best with a leap of 16.61 meters (54’6”). The leap also ranks second all-time in Virginia history. 

The Cavaliers will be back in action for the Virginia Grand Prix Sunday, with the meet held at Lannigan Field in Charlottesville. 

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