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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – The Cavaliers women’s track and field team opens up this weekend’s competition ranked 17th in the first week of the United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association’s Outdoor Rankings. Behind the strength of the Virginia’s distance runners and throwers, the Cavaliers pick up their first top-20 ranking in over 10 years.

Ten different Cavalier women have registered national top-55 performances so far this season, including three in the 10000m and four in the throws.

The trio of Emily Harrison, Kara Scanlin and Katie Read lead all ACC runners this season in the 10K. Harrison holds the top spot in the league and fifth nationally with her time of 33:40.34. Scanlin, second in the ACC and ninth nationally, has a time of 33:57.18, while Read holds the third spot in the conference and 11th nationally in 34:01.27.

The throws are paced by Bille-Jo Grant’s nations leading mark, and school record, in the discus (56.07m) and her 16th longest throw in the shot put (15.53m). Alexa Manning joins Grant in the shot put rankings, holding 51st with a 14.53m mark. In other throws, Meghan Briggs ranks 39th nationally with her 45.99m mark in the javelin.

Rashawnda James, the anchor leg of the nation’s 25th fastest 4x100m relay team, ranks 50th in the triple jump with a leap of 12.36m. Talia Wise, Janne’a Bridgeford and Kisha Garrick join James in the 4x100m relay, combining for a time of 45.50.

In other events, Ayla Smith hold’s ninth in the 400m hurdles with a 58.85 time and Stephanie Garcia ranks 11th with a time of 10:25.64 in the steeplechase.

Virginia’s men’s squad also boasts seven athletes ranked in the top-55. Yemi Ayeni leads the pack ranking ninth in the discus (59.09m) and 33rd in the shot put (17.33m). Adams Abdulrazaaq also holds two rankings, including 45h in the 400mH in 52.36. He’s also a member of the 4x100m relay, with Conlon Bonner, Reuben Jones and Brian Lee that finished in 40.60.

Steve Finley and Emil Heineking round out the Cavaliers among the nations top competitiors. Finley ranks 22nd in the steeplechase in 9:05.40 and Heineking is 28th in 14:11.40 in the 5000m.

This weekend, the Cavaliers will host the Lou Onesty/Milton C. Abramson Invitational. The hammer throw will take place beginning with the women at 1:30 p.m. The men will follow at 4:30 p.m. Field events on Saturday will begin at 9 a.m. with the men’s discus, while events on the track will begin with the women’s 3000m steeplechase on Saturday.

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