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April 20, 2007

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College Park, MD–Virginia’s Yemi Ayeni, who ranks in the top-10 nationally in the discus, won the ACC title today going away in that event, throwing a 181′ 10″ (55.42m). Ayeni led a strong day for the men, who qualified three in the finals of the 1500 as Virginia was one of only two schools to have multiple finalists in the event and the only institution to have three. On the women’s side, the Cavaliers remain in third place after day two thanks to an NCAA Regional-qualifying throw by Amy Bilmanis in the discus and a 4-5 finish in the steeplechase by Stephanie Garcia and Janine Ricci. The women are only 13 points out of first-place Miami and trail second-place Virginia Tech by 5.5 points.

Ayeni, who has led the conference in the discus all season long, led after the preliminaries and then launched a 55-meter throw in the second round of finals to set the standard. Tonight’s title is his first in the conference; he was the IC4A Champion in 2006. Teammate Eric Pickle took eighth in his first ACC meet, throwing a personal-best 147′ 1″ on his first throw; it stood up through six rounds as he took eighth. Their teammate Amy Bilmanis threw a 157′ 8″ in the second round of the preliminaries, a season-best mark that qualified her for the NCAA Regional. She maintained third throughout the finals, giving the Cavaliers six key points in the team competition.

Virginia’s steeplers fared well tonight as Jan Foerster took runner-up honors with his personal-best 8:45.61, a mark that moves him up to No. 3 all-time in Virginia history. On the women’s side, Stephanie Garcia took fourth with her 10:26.78, just in front of teammate Janine Ricci, who ran 10:33.75. The Cavalier women were the only teammates who scored in the steeplechase.

A pair of Virginia teammates also scored in the women’s long jump as Katie Tershel edged Tomika Ferguson by .25″ for seventh, 19′ 0.75″ to 19′ 0.5″. Tershel qualified for the ECAC meet in the process. Teammates Erin Crawford and Ayla Smith both qualified for the finals of the intermediate hurdles. Crawford’s 58.58 was the second-fastest time of the day while Smith ran a 1:00.17, a personal-best time that qualified her for the NCAA Regional meet and one that moves her into the No. 8 spot all-time in Virginia history. Smith also ran a season-best time in the 100 hurdles, running a 14.45 and missing the ECAC standard by .01.

The Virginia men were the only set of teammates to qualify more than two for the finals of the 1500 as Kevin McHale, Kevin Tschirhart and Andrew Jesien all made the field of 12; only one other school qualified more than one finalist. McHale also qualified for the finals of the 800m, running a Virginia-best 1:50.86, qualifying for the IC4A meet in the process. Ariane Sloan and Huma Husain both ran season-best times in the 800m, 2:11.23 and 2:11.25, respectively.

Talia Wise joined Janne’a Bridgeford in qualifying for the ECAC meet in both short sprints as both women ran a season-best time in the 100 and 200. Kellen Blassingame ran a season-best time in the 400 and qualified for the finals, running a 48.27 that also qualified him for the IC4A meet.

In the multi-events, both Cavalier entries finished sixth as Bianca Debartolo took sixth in the heptathlon with a 4854 and David Lewis scored 6760 in the decathlon. The marks qualified both of them for the postseason in the ECAC and IC4A, respectively. DeBartolo’s mark moves her to the No. 8 position all-time at Virginia while Lewis’ mark, a personal-best, makes him the No. 7 performer all-time in school history.

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WOMEN’S RESULTS: 100m: Bridgeford, 11.88; Wise, 11.93; 200m: Bridgeford, 24.19; Wise, 24.20; 400m: Roberts, 57.53; 800m: Sloan, 2:11.23; Husain, 2:11.25; Brooks, 2:12.15; Casscells, 2:13.35; 1500m: Light, 4:34.16; Dezubay, 4:37.27; Dolson, 4:38.24; Casscells, 4:38.25; Steeple: Garcia, 10:26.78, 4th; Ricci, 10:33.75, 5th; 100HH: Smith, 14.44; Ashe, 14.48; Moen, 15.00; 400IH: Crawford, 58.58q; Smith, 1:00.17q; Ashe, 1:02.37; Disc: Bilmanis, 157′ 8″, 3rd; Kelly, 137′ 8″ LJ: Tershel, 19′ .75″, 7th; Ferguson, 19′ .5″, 8th; PV: Pettine, 11′ 9.75″ Hept: DeBartolo, 4854, 6th

MEN’S RESULTS: 100m:Jones, 10.67; 200m: 21.51; 400m: Blassingame, 48.27q; Lee, 49.54; Sherrill, 50.64; 800m: McHale, 1:50.86q; Bowman, 1:55.10; 1500m: McHale, 3:56.32q; Tschirhart, 3:52.19q; Jesien, 3:57.19q; Steeple: Foerster: 8:45.61, 2nd; Disc: Ayeni, 181′ 10″, 1st; Pickle, 147′ 1″, 8th; HJ: Gennari, 6′ 2.75″ Klansek, 6′ 2.75″ Deca: Lewis, 6760, 6th

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