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Virginia track and field makes good showing at Vertklasse Meeting

The Cavaliers laid down an array of strong performances in the sprint and field events over the weekend

<p>The Cavaliers smashed multiple meet records and clocked several personal bests in an impressive weekend display.</p>

The Cavaliers smashed multiple meet records and clocked several personal bests in an impressive weekend display.

Virginia track and field sent their sprinting, jumping and throwing talent to High Point, N.C. Friday and Saturday to compete in the Vertklasse Meeting. The Cavaliers showed some good form, recording meet records and personal bests in a performance that indicates the team is continuing to round into form as the outdoor season heats up. 

Day One

The Cavaliers got off to a strong start on the first day of competition, with junior John Fay throwing a mark of 66.24 meters in the men’s hammer throw to earn first place among collegiate athletes and second place overall. Senior Jacob Lemmon wasn't too far behind with a season-best throw of 64.42 meters, finishing second amongst collegians and third place overall. Senior Mahkaia Lee built on her teammates’ successes in the field events, jumping 6.03 meters in the women’s long jump to earn fourth place.

Day Two

The second day of competition got off to a hot start as junior Alex Sherman clocked a personal-best time of 50.93 seconds to win the men’s 400-meter hurdles. Sherman set a meet record in the process, lowering the previous mark of 51.01 seconds. Freshman Gage Gose took fifth place with a run of 53.45 seconds, while freshman Jeremiah Wilson’s time of 55.94 seconds earned tenth place. 

Sophomore Sarah Akpan kept things going for the Cavalier sprinters with a close race in the women’s 100-meter event, ultimately running a time of 11.56 seconds to take the victory. Lemmon continued to excel in the throws, winning the men’s discus throw with a personal-best mark of 59.75 meters.

Back on the track, sophomore Jaden Lyons and sophomore Evans White IV ran times of 45.92 seconds and 45.95 seconds to take first and second place, respectively. Gose, this time in the 110-meter hurdles participation section, ran a time of 14.97 seconds to take the victory.

Freshman Ariel Fletcher delivered for the Cavaliers as she ran a personal-best time of 55.03 seconds to finish fourth amongst collegians and sixth overall in the women’s 400-meter event — in doing so, Fletcher became the fifth-fastest freshman in the event in school history. Fletcher also took third in the women’s 200-meter participation section in a season-best time of 24.44 seconds. 

Virginia also showed great strength in the women’s 400-meter hurdles event, as senior Emily Alexandru ran a season-best time of 1:00.09 to take first place amongst collegiate athletes and second overall. Freshman Brooke’Lyn Drakeford followed suit, running 1:03.41 to finish fourth amongst collegians and fifth overall. Sophomore Sophia Akpan was close behind, posting a time of 1:03.46 to place fifth amongst collegians and sixth overall. The Virginia women delivered in a similar fashion in the relay events as they took second place in the 4x100-meter event with a time of 46.01 seconds.  

The Cavaliers continued to impress in the field events, too, as junior Carly Tarentino posted a mark of 1.71 meters in the women’s high jump to earn second place. Sophomore Celia Rifaterra recorded a jump of 1.65 meters for fourth place. Sophomore Samatha Romano also had a good day on the field as she cleared 4.16 meters to finish third amongst collegians and fourth overall in the women’s pole vault.

To close out the day, junior Jordan Hardy jumped a season-best 12.53 meters in the women’s triple jump to earn second place. Junior Janae Profit finished fifth in the women’s discus with a season-best mark of 49.53 meters and third in the women’s shot put with a throw of 15.32 meters, which was also a season best.

This weekend was all about the Cavalier sprint and field athletes — and they delivered. It was a great start for what is set to be an exciting outdoor season. Vin Lananna, director of track and field and cross country, certainly thinks so.

“This was an awesome weekend for our jumpers, throwers, sprinters and hurdlers,” Lananna said. “We are excited to carry this momentum forward and compete at home the next two weekends with the Virginia Grand Prix and the Virginia Challenge.”

The Cavaliers look to do just that Thursday as they head to the West Coast to compete at the Bryan Clay Invitational in Azusa, Calif. Many Cavaliers will also stay in Charlottesville this weekend to compete in the Virginia Grand Prix slated for Friday and Saturday.

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