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Virginia track and field wraps up indoor season with two podium finishes at NCAA Indoor Championships

The three-day event saw the Cavaliers produce six All-Americans with several gutsy performances

<p>Junior Margot Appleton set the Virginia women's mile record for the second time this year, finishing in fifth place with a time of 4:29.07.&nbsp;</p>

Junior Margot Appleton set the Virginia women's mile record for the second time this year, finishing in fifth place with a time of 4:29.07. 

Virginia track and field sent four individual competitors and a pair of relay teams to compete in the NCAA Indoor Championships in Boston, Mass. over the weekend. Their efforts saw both great disappointment and incredible success, but what remained consistent was the grit with which all the Cavaliers competed.

Day One

The first day of competition started off with a strong run by sophomore Gary Martin in the first heat of the men’s mile, placing fourth in his heat in a time of 3:57.29 to earn an automatic qualifier to the final. It was a tough day on the track for senior Conor Murphy, as he stumbled around the 300-meter mark and had to step off the track, resulting in him not finishing the race. 

The men’s distance medley relay picked things up once again for the Cavaliers, as the quartet of senior Wes Porter, junior Alex Sherman, freshman Alex Leath and senior Yasin Sado picked up the first piece of hardware for the Cavaliers, finishing in an impressive third place. This may not have been the same team that recently broke the Virginia record and qualified for the NCAA Indoor Championships with a time of 9:18.95, but this lineup of Cavaliers put in a gutsy performance in a largely tactical race. The teams were bunched together for most of the slower-paced race, but Virginia’s quartet hung on for third place in 9:27.18, the program’s best finish in the men’s DMR at the NCAA Indoor Championships ever. Vin Lananna, director of track and field and cross country, shared his satisfaction with the team’s performance.

“It was exciting to see Wes Porter, Alex Sherman, Alex Leath and Yasin Sado leave it all on the track and finish third in a DMR competitive field,” Lananna said.

The night saw continued success for the Cavaliers, as junior Margot Appleton ran a tactical sit-and-kick race in the second heat of the women’s mile to earn an automatic qualifier by placing third in her heat and ninth overall in a time of 4:35.58. Senior Anna Workman ran in the heat before, but did not make it through to the final, placing 14th overall in a time of 4:36.71. 

Like the men’s relay, the women’s DMR had a different lineup from the team that qualified for the championships with a Virginia-record time of 10:50.58. However, they didn't quite deliver in the same way, as the quartet of graduate student Caroline Timm, senior Alahna Sabbakhan, graduate student Maggie Hock and Workman placed 12th in a time of 11:11.25. 

Day Two

The second day of competition saw some brave performances from the two Cavalier milers that advanced to the finals. Martin displayed tremendous resolve with his performance in the men’s mile — after being seeded 11th coming into the championships, he stayed with the pack and was very much in the mix until the final lap, when he tripped. The sophomore got back up to finish the race and take tenth, earning him All-American honors.  

Appleton kept the bold performances going in the women’s mile, as conserving energy with a tactical race in the heats and not toeing the line in the DMR paid off with a huge run for fifth place and a Virginia record time of 4:29.07. In a fast final and a stacked field, Appleton rose to the occasion, staying with the leaders for most of the race and maintaining fifth place. Lananna was impressed with his team’s display over the weekend and sees a lot of promising signs moving forward. 

“I am proud of the way Gary Martin and Margot Appleton battled in the men’s and women’s mile,” Lananna said. “Margot has been a tough competitor all year and it was exciting to see her take down the school record for the second time this season. The team made great strides this indoor season. I am looking forward to the team continuing to progress this outdoor season.” 

Having wrapped up the indoor season, the Cavaliers will now head into the outdoor season, kicking off competition on the 400-meter track with the Virginia Opener March 23 in Charlottesville. 

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