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Feb. 16, 2006

This weekend the Cavaliers set off to compete in the Virginia Tech Invitational in Blacksburg, VA. Coming off two meets just two weekends ago, the Liberty Bash and the New Balance Invitational, the Virginia Track and Field team will reunite with renewed energy and vigor in preparation for the ACC Championships, which will take place Feb. 24-25 in Blacksburg, Va.

The men’s team is led by a number of student-athletes who rank in the top-10 in the ACC. Fourth year and school record holder David Sullivan, ranked third in the pole vault, with compete in that event with David Lewis, who is also ranked 8th in the same event, as well as Jeff McClurg and Stephen Thompson. Lewis is also ranked 9th in the heptathlon. Fourth- year and school record holder Kellen Blassingame, who also ranks third in the conference, will run in the 400 meter dash. First year throwers Rob Rankin and Yemi Ayeni, who are ranked 9th and 10th in the conference, respectively, will compete in the shot put. Second year Jordan Orr, ranked 6th overall in the ACC, will lead the men in the 800 meter dash. He will be accompanied by Alex Tatu and Michael Hagos. Other Cavaliers to watch include Isi Azeke, who ranks 8th all-time at Virginia in the long jump, Shadion Buckley (7th all-time in the triple jump), Reuben Jones (9th in the 60 meter dash), and Will Christian and Andrew Dumm (5th and 6th in the 5000 meter run respectively).

On the women’s side, third year Tomika Ferguson, who ranks 6th in the long jump and also 4th in the triple jump, will compete in the long jump, where she will be joined by she Rachel Marks, who also ranks 5th in the high jump. Joining these two are Katie Tershel, and Bianca Debartolo; DeBartolo ranks 7th in the pentathlon. Fourth year Billie Jo Grant, who moved into the top-10 all-time at Virginia in the shot put, is set to compete in that event. The 60 meter dash will feature two student-athletes who rank in the school’s all time performers list, namely, second year Janne’a Bridgeford (ranked 7th in the ACC) and first year Talia Wise (ranked 8th in the ACC). These two, along with Tomika Ferguson and Tiffany Roberts, will form the core of the short sprints crew. Both fourth year Ashley Gore and third year Erin Crawford will vie for the title in the 400 meter dash, being ranked 7th and 9th in the event in the ACC. They will be joined by Tiffany Roberts. Middle distance runner Danielle Light, a first year who holds the 6th place ranking in the 800 meter dash, and second year Emily Harrison, who ranks 5th in the 5000 meter run, are set to run, along with Lauretta Dezubay and Shannon Hawrylo in the mile run.

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