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Virginia track and field makes a strong showing at three events over the weekend

The Cavaliers put on great performances in the final races before championship season

<p>Sophomore Gary Martin, freshman Alex Leath, junior Alex Sherman and junior Conor Murphy set the Virginia distance medley relay record Friday.</p>

Sophomore Gary Martin, freshman Alex Leath, junior Alex Sherman and junior Conor Murphy set the Virginia distance medley relay record Friday.

Virginia track and field competed in three separate meets for the second consecutive weekend, taking to the track and the field at the Arkansas Qualifier and Terrier DMR Challenge Friday and the Virginia Tech Challenge Friday and Saturday. The Cavaliers put down numerous great indoor performances, as their fans have become accustomed to, and if this weekend’s showing is any indication of what’s to come, they will provide stiff competition at the ACC Championships next weekend.

Arkansas Qualifier

The standout performance of the weekend came from the outset — day one of the Arkansas Qualifier saw the Cavalier quartet of junior Alex Sherman, junior Conor Murphy, sophomore Gary Martin and freshman Alex Leath turn in a time of 9:18.95 in the men’s distance medley relay. The time marks a Virginia record in the DMR and ranks first in the ACC indoor performance rankings as well as second in the NCAA. Notably, Martin ran the anchor leg in an incredible time of 3:51.94 for 1600 meters to close out the race for the Cavaliers. 

Keeping things going for the Cavaliers, senior Shane Cohen raced to fifth place in the men’s 800-meter event, running a personal best by nearly a second with time of 1:48.06 and progressing to fourth in the ACC event rankings.

Terrier DMR Challenge 

Junior Margot Appleton excelled for the Cavaliers in Boston, running 4:31.06 in the women’s mile to record her second-fastest time of the season in the event, just shy of the indoor Virginia record of 4:30.87 set in January at the Penn State National Open. Heading into the ACC Championships next weekend, Appleton is in great form as she ranks third in the ACC and 16th in the NCAA in the mile event.

Virginia Tech Challenge 

Day One 

The Cavaliers returned to Blacksburg once again to record some solid performances in the sprint and field events on day one of competition. Virginia got off to a hot start Friday with a podium sweep in the women’s 400-meter event — junior Anzhelika Parenchuk secured the victory in a season-best 55.36 seconds, while freshman Ariel Fletcher ran a personal best time of 56.59 to finish second. Fletcher’s performance is the sixth fastest among ACC freshmen this season. Finally, junior Emily Alexandru turned in a time of 56.97 seconds — a personal best — to claim the final spot on the podium. 

Sophomore Peter Djan kept the momentum going on the men’s side of the sprint events, winning the 60-meter hurdles in a time of 7.92 seconds. Junior Bree Lumpkin also impressed for the Cavaliers in the field events, recording a mark of 18.04 meters in the women’s weight throw to finish in second place.

Day Two

Virginia wrapped up a strong weekend with standout performances in the field and sprint events. Sophomore Samantha Romano got started strong for the Cavaliers with a leap of 4.08 meters in the pole vault, an effort that garnered her a second-place finish. Junior Caroline Dannenbaum followed suit, clearing 3.95 meters in an indoor personal best to move up to being tied for ninth all-time in Virginia history, inching closer to Romano, who holds the second-best jump in program history. 

The Cavalier women continued to dominate in the field events as they pulled off a podium sweep in the high jump. Sophomore Celia Rifaterra cleared 1.78 meters to take first place, junior Carly Tarentino cleared 1.73 meters to take second and freshman Elsa Spoor posted a jump of 1.63 meters to complete the sweep with a third-place finish. 

Virginia also impressed on the track, as Fletcher won the women’s 200-meter event with a season-best 24.97 seconds, ranking her 10th amongst all ACC freshmen in the event this season. Junior Jay Pendarvis kept the good performances coming across 200 meters for the Cavaliers, as he ran a time of 21.90 to take third place. Freshman Michael Koepke also impressed, running 22.17 to take first place and to rank fifth among all ACC freshmen in the event this season. 

Virginia’s throwers wrapped up the weekend’s competition with a dominant showing in the women’s shot put, with junior Brooke Lumpkin placing second with a throw of 15.20 meters and junior Janae Profit coming in third with a throw of 14.69 meters.  

Vin Lananna, director of track and field and cross country, certainly thinks this weekend’s performances bode well for the Cavaliers with ACC Championships right around the corner. 

“This week was the final preparation for the Indoor ACC Championships,” Lananna said. “This weekend’s performances gave a glimpse into what this team is capable of heading into championship season, and I am excited [for] our team to put it all together and compete for an ACC title next week.”

The Cavaliers will look to do just that as they head to Boston to compete in the ACC Indoor Championships from Thursday to Saturday. 


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