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May 23, 2013

GREENSBORO, N.C. – The Virginia men’s and women’s track and field teams had six athletes advance during the first day of the NCAA East Preliminary Meet, held at Aggie Stadium on the campus of North Carolina A&T. The highlight of the first day for the Cavaliers was Thomas Porter, who became the first Virginia athlete to qualify for the NCAA Championships next month in Oregon.

Porter finished seventh in the men’s 10000m on Thursday night in a time of 30:00.23. The top 12 finishers from that semifinal race advanced to the NCAA Championships, which will be held June 5-8 at the University of Oregon.

Five other Cavaliers advanced Thursday to compete in quarterfinal races later in the preliminary meet for a trip to Oregon. Vicky Fouhy and Jordan Lavender reached the quarterfinals of the women’s 1500m and 400m respectively. The Virginia men had three athletes advance to quarterfinals, with Taylor Gilland in the 1500m, Anthony Kostelac in the 800m and Payton Hazzard in the 400m.

“This was a good first day, a very solid start to the meet for us,” said head coach Bryan Fetzer. “Moving on was what today was all about and we had five of our seven athletes advance from the first round, in addition to Thomas qualifying for Eugene in the 10K. I can’t say enough about Thomas; he is a gamer. There are athletes you know you can count on to compete and one’s you know you can’t. He is definitely one you can count on to step it when it is time to compete.”

Fouhy automatically qualified for the quarterfinals of the women’s 1500m, finishing third in her heat at 4:17.68. Her time was the fourth fastest overall time in the four first round heats.

Gilland advanced in the men’s 1500m, running a PR of 3:44.35, the eighth best time in school history. He finished eighth in the final heat of the first round, which produced the 10 fastest times of the first round.

Lavender finished second in her heat of the 400m to automatically advance to the quarterfinals in a time of 53.36. She had the 13th fastest overall time of the first round.

Kostelac finished second his heat in the men’s 800m to advance to the quarterfinals automatically. His time of 1:49.90 was the 15th fastest time of the first round.

Hazzard was fourth in his heat of the men’s 400m, but his time of 46.68 was good enough to advance to the quarterfinals.

Barbara Strehler finished 19th in the women’s 10000m in a time of 34:49.29. Although she improved from her seeding of 30th, it wasn’t enough to crack the top 12 to advance to the NCAA Championships in Oregon.

Brandon Burton ran 52.45 in the first round of the men’s 400m hurdles, just shy of his PR of 52.34 set earlier this month. Burton, who was seeded 33rd coming into the meet, finished in 30th place, which did not advance him to Friday’s quarterfinals.

Vanessa Fabrizio ran 2:11.78 in the women’s 800m, which was not good enough to advance to the quarterfinals of that event.

Friday’s schedule for the Cavaliers begins at 6 p.m., as six Virginia athletes will be in action. Lavender will be competing twice, in the 400m quarterfinals and the first round of the 200m. Hazzard and Kostelac will also have quarterfinal races in the men’s 400m and 800m respectively. Moira Cronin and Pearl Bickersteth will be competing in the women’s long jump and Colin Mearns will be in the men’s 3000m steeplechase.

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