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GREENSBORO, N.C. – Senior Yemi Ayeni won his first-ever discus title at the NCAA East Region Championships on Saturday, while the Virginia track and field team saw five more Cavaliers punch tickets to the 2009 NCAA Championships during the day’s competition. Senior Andrew Jesien, juniors Meghan Briggs, Steve Finley and Stephanie Garcia and freshman Lance Roller each automatically qualified for NCAAs in their respective events, joining seniors Billie-Jo Grant and Caitlin Kelly who advanced yesterday.

Ayeni, a two-time All-American, earned the men’s program its first-ever individual title at the regional championships, winning the discus with a throw of 190′ 5”, advancing him to NCAAs for the third-consecutive season.

In other field events, Briggs used a fifth-place finish in the javelin, throwing 162’ 5”, to automatically advance to her second-consecutive NCAA Championships.

On the track, Jesien fought a pack of five competitors across the line in the 1500m within one-second of each other for a fourth-place finish and an automatic berth into the national meet. He crossed the line in a personal-best 3:41.89, while Providence’s David McCarthy won the event in 3:41.37. Jesien will be making his second appearance at NCAAs.

In another close race on the track, Roller crossed the line with a slew of competitors within a second of each other. He finished the 800m in 1:49.72, while Villanova’s Sean Tully led all competitors with a time of 1:49.39.

Rounding out those automatically advancing were Finley and Garcia in the 3000m steeplechase. Finley finished runner-up in 8:48.76 to advance to his first national meet, while Garcia crossed in 10:17.23 to head to nationals for a second-straight season.

The 2009 NCAA Championships will take place in Fayetteville, Ark., on June 10-13.

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