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Virginia track and field opens the outdoor season in commanding fashion – The Cavalier Daily

The Virginia men’s and women’s track teams welcomed the men’s and women’s teams from Bucknell, as well as the women’s team from Delaware, to Lannigan Field for the U.Va. Opener Meet.

The Cavaliers started strong in the field events behind the performance of redshirt freshman Claudio Romero, who took top honors in the shot put (18.47 meters, 60’7.25”) as well as the discus (58.54 meters, 192’1”). He now ranks fifth on Virginia’s all-time performance list in the shot put and fourth on the all-time list for the discus.

Redshirt freshman Jacob Lemmon also put his name in the books for the Cavaliers with a first-place finish in the hammer throw. He earned a top mark of 66.15 meters (217’0”), placing him at third on the school’s all-time performance list.

Other impressive performances by the Virginia men in the field events included a victory in the pole vault by senior Sam Young, a win in the triple jump by junior Ayende Watson and a long jump win by senior Brenton Foster — the 2019 ACC Indoor Champion in the high jump.

Due to the cancellation of the 2020 outdoor season, this was the first home event in any running sport for Vin Lananna, director of track and field and cross country and associate athletics director for administration. He was incredibly happy with Virginia’s performance as a team.

“We had some truly outstanding performances and I felt it was a great way to start the season,” Lananna said. “It is early, and we’ve got a lot of work to do, but I was very pleased with the way our team competed today. It was also my first meet at U.Va., so I learned a lot today. It was great to have track and field back on Grounds today.”

The women gave strong performances in the field events as well. Senior Khyasia Caldwell secured a victory in both the long jump and the triple jump. The Cavalier women swept the throws with victories by junior Thelma Kristjansdottir in the discus and senior Eva Mustafic in the hammer throw. The sweep was completed with the very impressive debut of freshman Maria Deaviz in the shot put. She set a freshman school record with a winning throw of 16.15 meters (53’0”), which also puts her at fourth on Virginia’s all-time list.

Finally, junior Rebecca Hawkins took the high jump title with a top mark of 1.73 meters (5’8”), and sophomore Maya Maloney won the pole vault with a clearance of 3.95 meters (12’11.5”). Maloney’s height puts her at third on the school’s all-time list.

On the track, sophomore Jada Seaman won the 400-meter dash with a time of 55.48. She enters the outdoor season fresh off earning second-team All-America honors in the long jump at the NCAA Indoor Championships. Similarly, graduate student Anna Jefferson secured victories in both the 100-meter dash and the 200-meter dash.

Senior Kiera Bothwell and graduate student Andrenette Knight both earned personal bests in their respective events. Bothwell won the 3000m steeplechase with a personal best time of 10:22.28, and Knight took top honors in the 100-meter hurdles with a personal best of 13.94.

Graduate student Michaela Meyer, a transfer from Delaware, competed against her former teammates in her debut outdoor meet as a Cavalier and won both the 800-meter run and the 1500-meter run. Her 800-meter time of 2:06.20 puts her at sixth on the Cavaliers’ all-time list, while her 1500-meter time of 4:20.30 ranks her at tenth.

As for the men on the track, Virginia was led by senior Brandon Outlaw, senior Jordan Willis and freshman Jay Pendarvis. Outlaw was victorious in the 100-meter dash with a time of 10.65, while Willis finished first in the 200-meter dash, crossing the finish line in 21.14 seconds. Pendarvis opened his outdoor career with the Cavaliers by winning the 400-meter dash in 48.41 seconds.

Sophomore Davis Young won the 800-meter run with a personal best time of 1:56.50, while freshman Conor Murphy won the 1500-meter run in 3:48.88. Freshman Jeremiah Wilson also opened his outdoor campaign with a win in the 110-meter hurdles.

The Virginia men and women also bookended the meet with victories in the 4×100 and 4×400 relays to open and close the day.

Next up, the Cavaliers will look to continue their winning momentum at NC State for the Raleigh Relays next weekend, March 25-27.