Ayeni and Grant Earn All-America Honors in Discus
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – Junior Yemi Ayeni and senior Billie-Jo Grant wrapped up their 2008 seasons earning All-America honors in the discus on Friday at the NCAA Outdoor Championships in Des Moines, Iowa. Ayeni took second in the men’s discus with a throw of 59.50m, while Grant finished eighth in the women’s competition with at mark of 50.26m.
“Yemi responded well in the finals,” head coach Randy Bungard said. “Yemi’s first throw was a big one that he took the lead with. He had two throws after that, both over the 59-meter mark, but Kentucky ended up with one throw that happened to be better than Yemi’s. But, Yemi competed well and we’re extremely proud of the way that he worked through the championships.
“We’re really proud of Billie-Jo’s performance, as well. She was mentally prepared for the championships and has managed to fight through a season-long injury that has held her back from the marks she would have liked. Although she didn’t hit the marks she wanted, she still fought hard and came up with some big throws, and we’re extremely proud of her for that.”
Ayeni earned his second-consecutive All-America honor with his runner-up finish in the discus, becoming the highest finisher of all-time for the Cavalier men in a field event at the NCAA Championships. He came into the meet ranked 10th nationally and was seeded sixth after the qualifying round with his throw of 55.80m on Wednesday. He came up just short of a national championships today, though, as the University of Kentucky’s Rashaud Scott’s throw of 60.87m was long enough to surpass Ayeni’s 59.50m to win the event.
The junior concludes his season as a two-time ACC Champion in the discus. The two-time All-American also won the discus at the prestigious Penn Relays this year and will continue to compete throughout this summer to reach Olympic standards.
Grant earned her third All-America honor with her eighth-place finish in the event. Arizona State’s Sarah Stevens won the event with a throw of 56.14m and the Sun Devils’ Jessica Pressley edged Grant out of seventh-place by one-100th of a meter, throwing 50.27m. Grant wraps up her career as the 2008 NCAA East Region Discus Champion, in addition to the 2005 ACC Champion in the discus. Grant has earned all-conference honors in each of her three seasons of competition for the Cavaliers and holds Virginia’s all-time record in the event.
Grant will learn on Monday her fate for the US Olympic Trials, as the senior has hit the qualifying mark for the meet, but will await official word as to who has been selected to compete. The Trials are scheduled to run June 27-July 6 in Eugene, Ore.
Tomorrow, junior Andrew Jesien will wrap up Virginia’s competition at the championships, racing in the finals of the 1500m at 4:24 p.m. CST. The junior is the first Cavalier since John Hinton was a three-time All-American in the event in 1985 to race in the finals of the 1500m.
For those interested in live coverage of the championships, CBS College Sports (formerly CSTV), will be airing a live web stream, in addition to a live televised portion on CBS College Sports from 3-5 p.m. CST. Visit http://all-access.cstv.com/cstv/player/player.html?code=ncaa&sport=c-track&category=live&media=69621 to access the web coverage. There is a sign-up required.