Five Cavalier Men Advance to Eugene on Day Two of NCAA East Prelims
May 29, 2015
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The 13th-ranked Virginia men’s track and field team had five athletes advance to the NCAA Championships during the second day of the NCAA East Preliminary Rounds at Hodges Stadium on the campus of the University of North Florida. Payton Hazzard (Huntington, N.Y.), Kyle King (Yorktown, Va.), Filip Mihaljevic (Livno, Bosnia and Herzegovina), Kyle Smith (Leola, Pa.) and Jordan Young (Windsor, Ontario) all qualified during one of the most productive days in program history.
The top 12 competitors in each event at the NCAA East Preliminary Rounds will advance to the NCAA Championships, held June 10-13 at the University of Oregon.
“We advanced an individual in every single event in which we contested today, which is phenomenal,” said head coach Bryan Fetzer. “We had five guys not only qualify for Eugene, but are in good position to do some great things there.”
Young and Mihaljevic had a dominant performance in the discus, finishing first and third, respectively, to advance to Oregon. A day after having the top qualifying mark in the hammer throw, Young posted the best mark in the discus at 62.27m (204-3). It was a new PR and moved him into second all-time at Virginia behind his teammate. Mihaljevic, who set the school record in the event earlier this season, was third in competition with a mark of 61.28m (201-0). It marked the first time since 2001 that multiple Cavaliers have advanced to the NCAA Championships in the same field event.
Smith was the 12th and final qualifier in the javelin with a mark of 67.27m (220-8). He was third after throwing in the second of three flights, but had to wait to see if his mark would hold up when the top-16 seeded competitors threw in the third flight. Only nine of those athletes were able to beat Smith’s mark and he advanced to Eugene. It is the second consecutive trip to the NCAA Championships for Smith, who finished 17th last year while at Central Michigan.
“We have talked about taking care of business and the throwers did just that today,” said Fetzer. “These guys are rising to the occasion. They have stepped it up to another level. They had goals at the beginning of the year and they are not shying away from those goals.”
Hazzard will make his NCAA Championships debut after advancing to Eugene in the men’s 400m. He finished fifth in his quarterfinal heat with a time of 46.00, but that time was good enough to be one of the three athletes to qualify on time for the semifinal round in Oregon.
In the final event of the day, King ran a PR of 8:39.72 to advance with the eighth-best overall time in the 3000m steeplechase. It moved King up to third on the all-time Virginia list. Adam Visokay (Ruckersville, Va.) just missed qualifying for Eugene, crossing in 8:43.60 to finish 13th, just 0.41 seconds away from the 12th and final qualifying place. It moved Visokay into fifth on the all-time Virginia list.
“For Kyle to end the day with a lifetime best in the steeplechase to get in was great,” said Fetzer. “This was the fastest the steeplechase has ever been in the region meet. I am heartbroken for Adam Visokay, who ran the fastest time ever to not get into the NCAA meet. He turned a big corner in his career and has set himself up to do big things in the future.”
The Cavalier men will compete in four events during the final day of the meet on Saturday. Young and Mihaljevic will both compete in the shot put, Henry Wynne (Westport, Conn.) will compete in the 1500m after advancing from the first round on Thursday, Ryan Satchell (Central Islip, N.Y.) will compete in the triple jump and Virginia will have a team in the 4x400m relay.