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BLACKSBURG, Va. – Junior Ayla Smith (Winchester, Va.) steadily improved upon her already school record in the 60m hurdles from last weekend and freshman Christian Waddey (Nashville, Tenn.) won the unseeded section of the pole vault to lead the Virginia track and field team on the first day of the Virginia Tech Challenge in Rector Field House on Friday. Smith finished fourth overall with a time of 8.44, just shy of the 8.43 NCAA provisional mark, while Waddey cleared 15’ 1” for the first time in his collegiate career to win the event.

Virginia’s distance medley relay of junior Sara Casscells (Wilmington, Del.), freshman Meagan Gillespie (Brooklyn, N.Y.), junior Jen Hovland (Burke, Va.) and senior Lauretta Dezubay (Bethlehem, Pa.) finished second in 11:45.54, while the men’s team of sophomore Emil Heineking (Chardon, Ohio), freshman Kevin Anding (Houston, Texas), senior Kevin Tschirhart (Northport, N.Y.) and junior Trey Miller (Winston-Salem, N.C.) also finished second in 9:59.77.

Freshman Sintayehu Taye (Portland, Maine), racing in his first collegiate event, won his heat and finished third overall in the 1000m with a time of 2:30.32. In the 600m, Gillespie claimed third in 1:34.46 and sophomore Lyndsay Harper (Albuquerque, N.M.) took fourth in 1:36.34.

In the 300m, sophomore Meikle Paschal (Lexington, Mass.) ran a personal-best time of 34.34 to finish second, while senior Rainer Fiala (Rye, N.Y.) claimed fifth in his best time of 35.17.

In field events, junior Katie Darraugh (Lake Forest, Ill.) finished second in the pole vault, clearing a season-best height of 11’ 6.25”.

In Virginia’s record books, sophomore Chidimma Uche (Ann Arbor, Mich.) moved up the all-time charts in the 60m hurdles with her time of 8.90. She currently sits ninth on the list.

The Cavaliers will return to action tomorrow to conclude the invite. Field events are set to kick off with the women’s high jump at 9 a.m., with the women’s mile run opening events on the track at 12:30 p.m.

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