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May 29, 2014

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Virginia men’s and women’s track and field teams had seven athletes advance during the first day of the NCAA East Preliminary Meet, held at Hodges Stadium on the campus of the University of North Florida. Jen Flack (Alexandria, Va.), Filip Mihaljevic (Livno, Bosnia and Herzegovina), Thomas Porter (Fredericksburg, Va.) and Adam Visokay (Ruckersville, Va.) highlighted the first day, as they became the first four Virginia athletes to qualify for the NCAA Championships next month in Oregon.

The top 12 finishers from each event at the meet advance to the NCAA Championships, which will be held June 11-14 at the University of Oregon.

“It was a great day for the Wahoos,” said head coach Bryan Fetzer. “We have already matched our total number from last year of four athletes advancing to Eugene, and it’s only the first day. We also set ourselves up for a few more to have that opportunity over the next two days. We talked about going out and having fun competing and do something that might not be expected. That certainly happened today. None of the four athletes who qualified today for Oregon were seeded in the top 12. That is stepping it up when it counts.”

Porter and Visokay both advanced to the NCAA Championships in the men’s 10000m. Porter, who was seeded 33rd in the race, advanced to Eugene in the event for the second consecutive year as he finished sixth with a time of 29:54.78. Visokay, seeded 14th, crossed ninth in a time of 29:57.07. It marks the first time since the men’s 1500m in 2012 that the Cavaliers will have multiple athletes in an event at the NCAA Championships. Zach Herriott (Kansas City, Mo.) ran 30:37.88 to finish 23rd in the event.

In the women’s 10000m, Flack, seeded 36th, advanced with an 11th-place finish in the women’s 10000m in a Virginia freshman-record time of 34:12.45. It was the 10th-fastest time overall in school history. Sarah Fakler (Phoenix, Ariz.) almost became another Cavalier to advance, finishing 17th in the race with a time of 34:50.84.

Mihlajevic finished ninth in the men’s shot put with a mark of 63-4.25, the second-best mark in school history. He entered the event seeded 23rd, but threw a PR of 61-10.25 to advance to the finals. Mihaljevic had three more PR throws in the finals, throwing 62’10.5 on his fourth throw and 63-4 on this his fifth throw before his 63-4.25 throw on his final attempt. That final throw was just eight inches shy of the school record.

Three other Cavaliers advanced Thursday to compete in quarterfinal races on Friday. Jordan Lavender (Nashville, Tenn.) and Vanessa Fabrizio (Denver, Colo.) advanced in the women’s 400m and 800m, respectively. The Virginia men had Payton Hazzard (Huntington, N.Y.) advance in the 400m.

Fabrizio won her first-round heat in the 800m in a time of 2:06.40 to automatically advance to the quarterfinals. Her time was the 19th fastest time in the six first-round heats.

Lavender finished third in her heat of the 400m to automatically advance to the quarterfinals in a time of 52.96. She had the 10th fastest overall time of the first round.

Hazzard automatically qualified for the quarterfinals of the men’s 400m, finishing third in his heat at 47.07. His time was the 29th fastest overall time in the six first-round heats.

Abbey Karin (Byfield, Mass.) advanced to the finals of the women’s javelin, but her season-best throw of 155-9 placed her 16th.

Henry Wynne (Westport, Conn.), who made the men’s 1500m as an alternate, ran 3:55.09, but finished 45th and did not advance to the next round.

Mike Marsella (Hope Valley, R.I.) ran 1:52.48 in the men’s 800m, which was not good enough to advance to the quarterfinals of that event.

Edy Ndem (Roanoke, Va.) jumped 19-4.25 on her final attempt in the women’s long jump, but it wasn’t enough to advance to the finals.

Friday’s schedule for the Cavaliers begins at 5 p.m., as five Virginia athletes will be in action. Ryan Satchell (Central Islip, N.Y.) will compete in the men’s triple jump. Fabrizio, Hazzard and Lavender will have their quarterfinal races and the night concludes with Kyle King (Yorktown, Va.) running in the men’s 3000m steeplechase.

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