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Virginia track and field brings home hardware from ACC Indoor Championships

This weekend saw the Cavaliers earn podium finishes across a number of events

<p>The quartet of sophomore James Donahue, sophomore Jaden Lyons, senior Shane Cohen and senior Wes Porter emerged as ACC Champions in the men's distance medley relay Friday.&nbsp;</p>

The quartet of sophomore James Donahue, sophomore Jaden Lyons, senior Shane Cohen and senior Wes Porter emerged as ACC Champions in the men's distance medley relay Friday. 

Virginia track and field was back in action this weekend on its biggest stage yet this season — the ACC Indoor Championships. The Cavaliers posted impressive individual and team performances, finishing on the podium in a great many events and continuing to break program records. From this weekend it is apparent that Virginia only continues to improve — the Cavalier men placed fifth overall in the championship with a total of 64 points, and the women finished seventh with a 50.5 point total.

Day One 

The Cavaliers wasted no time in dominating the competition, winning the men’s distance medley relay in 9:33.46. This time was well off the recent Virginia record of 9:18.95, as none of the athletes that competed Thursday were a part of the record-breaking team — this was a tactical choice by the Cavaliers to garner points in other events. Nonetheless, the quartet of sophomore James Donahue, sophomore Jaden Lyons, senior Shane Cohen and senior Wes Porter ran a confident race to narrowly beat out North Carolina and emerge the ACC Champions. 

The women’s side excelled as well, taking second in a stacked distance medley relay field by employing the opposite strategy in keeping the team that recently broke the school record. The quartet of junior Margot Appleton, senior Alahna Sabbakhan, graduate student Maggie Hock and senior Anna Workman put on a thoroughly impressive performance, running 10:50.58 to break their previous Virginia record of 10:52.22 by almost two seconds. 

Recent walk-on junior Jenny Schilling continued to prove her place in collegiate athletics as she picked up the bronze in the women’s 5000-meter race with a time of 16:02.57 — a personal best and the second-fastest indoor time in Virginia history. 

The action also continued off the track, as senior Jacob Lemmon finished third in the men’s weight throw with a mark of 21.75 meters. His teammate junior John Fay wasn’t far behind in fourth place, with a throw of 21.19 meters. Additionally, sophomore Celia Rifaterra claimed the silver medal in the women’s high jump to wrap up day one with a clearance of 1.83 meters.

Day Two

Day two of competition saw nine Cavaliers advance to the finals, four of which came from the men’s mile. Sophomore Gary Martin and Porter earned automatic qualifiers in heat two, placing first and second with times of 4:05.48 and 4:05.62, respectively. Heat three saw junior Nathan Mountain finish second in a time of 4:05.35 to earn an automatic qualifier as well, while heat four saw Donahue finish outside the top two, putting up a tough fight to earn his spot in the finals as a non-automatic qualifier with a time of 4:05.53. 

Workman kept the momentum going for the Cavaliers in the women’s mile event, winning heat three in 4:41.94 to earn a spot as an automatic qualifier. Graduate student Caroline Timm secured her spot in the final as a non-automatic qualifier after finishing third in her heat, running a time of 4:41.23. Senior Conor Murphy capped off the finals qualifiers for the Cavaliers in the distance events, winning his 800-meter heat in 1:49.25 to earn an automatic qualifier.  

The sprint events saw similar success, as sophomore Peter Djan ran a time of 7.89 seconds to place second in his heat of the 60-meter hurdles and progress to the final. Junior Alex Sherman also qualified for the finals in the men’s 400-meter event, placing first in his heat in 47.28 seconds to do so.

Day Three 

The final day of competition saw the finals qualifiers deliver a host of excellent performances to bring back four new pieces of hardware. Martin kicked things off for the Cavaliers with an impressive second-place finish in the men’s mile in a time of 3:56.15. Mountain finished in sixth place in 4:00.21 and Porter in seventh in 4:00.88, while Donahue took ninth in 4:06.31.

Workman kept the medal streak going for the Cavaliers in the mile, winning the bronze in the women’s event in a time of 4:39.37. Timm also ran a fantastic race to finish close behind in fifth place with a time of 4:40.84. 

Turning to the field, sophomore Samantha Romano picked up third place in the women’s pole vault with a clearance of 4.23 meters. 

Back on the track, Martin continued to impress as he picked up a bronze medal in the men’s 3000-meter event, which was a straight final — an incredible display of endurance from the Virginia mile record-holder.

Wrapping up the championships in spectacular fashion, Appleton secured the silver in the women’s 3000-meter event in a personal best time of 8:57.53. 

Overall, this weekend’s achievements are encouraging and suggest that there are more exciting performances to come as the Cavaliers look ahead to the NCAA Indoor Championships slated for March 8 to March 9. 


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