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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – Redshirt senior Stephanie Garcia broke the school record in the 3000m steeplechase and posted the nation’s top time in the event Saturday night to lead the Virginia track and field team at the George Mason Spring Invitational. In addition, two other Cavaliers – junior Morgane Gay and sophomore Brett Johnson – recorded top-10 marks over 1500m in the NCAA this season.

Garcia won the steeplechase in 9:56.96 to better Dawn Cleary’s former school record of 9:59.30 from 2003, while Gay won the 1500m in 4:21.75 – the ninth-best mark in the nation this year. Johnson earned the sixth-best 1500m time in the NCAA with a victory in 3:44.44. That time ranks sixth all-time at UVa.

In other top performances, Colin Mearns earned the second-best freshman mark in program history in the steeplechase, winning the race in 9:09.80. That time trails only John Hinton’s freshman record of 8:58.21 from 1982.

The Cavaliers also competed at the Spec Towns Invitational in Athens, Ga., today, where sophomore Pearl Bickersteth finished runner-up in the high jump, clearing a personal-best 5′ 8.75″. That mark ranks seventh in UVa’s program history. In addition, freshman Emily Kianka competed in the event, posting the fifth-best freshman mark in school history, clearing 5′ 7.75″ to finish fourth overall.

Junior Erin Wykoff won the discus title with a personal-best throw of 163′ 4″, the fourth-best mark in program history.

In events on the track, senior Adams Abdulrazaaq won the 110m hurdles in 13.89, while freshman Patrick Farmer ran the fifth-best 400m time among all freshman in UVa history, finishing fourth in 48.27.

Virginia’s relays saw three teams finish with season-best times. The men’s 4x100m squad of sophomore Austin VonOhlsen, freshman Ozzie Bryan, junior Malcolm Carradine and freshman Leo McLaughlin combined to run the program’s seventh-best time of 41.15, while the 4x400m team of Bryan, Abdulrazaaq, Farmer and VonOhlsen finished in a season-best 3:15.72.

The Cavaliers’ women’s 4x400m relay of sophomore Danielle Williams, senior Kristina Chapman, freshman Ali Gillen and junior Meagan Gillespie finished in a season-best time of 3:50.42.

Virginia will return to action next weekend heading to VCU’s Ram Invite in Richmond, Va., on Saturday, April 16. The 2011 ACC Championships are scheduled for Thursday-Saturday, April 21-23 in Durham, N.C.

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