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March 12, 2016

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BIRMINGHAM, Ala.–Virginia junior Henry Wynne captured the national championship in the men’s mile as the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships concluded Saturday (March 12) at the Birmingham CrossPlex in Birmingham, Ala.

The Cavalier men finished in a tie for eighth place with 18 points, their best-ever finish at the national indoor meet. Oregon won the team title with 62 points and Arkansas (39) and Tennessee (34) rounded out the top three.

“This indoor season our men took another big step as a program,” UVA director of track and field/cross country Bryan Fetzer said. “I am so proud of all of them and their desire to become a great program. Our goal when we arrived was to compete for ACC Championships and become a top-10 team in the country. Between the women in cross country and the men today, we are on the right track.”

Wynne (Westport, Conn.), who paced the field for most of the race, held off multiple attacks from Jonah Koech of UTEP and edged Blake Haney of Oregon by 0.12 to win the men’s mile in a time of 4:06.63.

“It was an awesome race out there,” Wynne said. “It was very tactical and I tried to get out front early and not get mixed up in all of the pushing and shoving in the middle of the pack. Jonah Koech of UTEP came around me with 600 meters to go and it was a real race from there, hitting each other back and forth and sprinting as fast as possible. To cross the line in first place is an amazing feeling and I’m looking forward to more in the future.”

“I am so proud of Henry,” UVA distance coach Pete Watson said. “Nine months ago, he left Eugene (Oregon) after his first trip to the NCAA Championships and committed himself to being great. He matured, became focused and decided he wanted to be great. This indoor season has been special and every race we were in, we came in with the goal to win. We mapped out the race plan this morning and Henry followed it perfectly.”

“After watching the mile last night, we felt by holding Henry out of the distance medley relay that he could have a chance to do something special,” Fetzer said. “I can not think of something more special than an NCAA Championship.”

With the win, Virginia’s sixth NCAA individual event championship, Wynne becomes the third Cavalier to win an NCAA title and the first to win an event other than the 800 meters. Paul Ereng won three 800m titles (1989 indoors and 1988 and 1989 outdoors) and Robby Andrews captured two 800m crowns (2010 indoors and 2011 outdoors).

Redshirt sophomore Filip Mihaljevic (Livno, Bosnia and Herzegovina) placed second in the men’s shot put with a throw of 20.47m (67′ 2″) on his final attempt. It is UVA’s best finish in a men’s indoor field event and is Mihaljevic’s fourth time earning first-team All-America honors.

“Filip has matured so much in the last two years,” Fetzer said. “Watching him stay composed throughout the competition is a testament to that. He never wavered and produced his best throws on his last two attempts.”

The Cavaliers’ outdoor track and field season opens March 19 with the Virginia Cup at Lannigan Field. Admission is free to the public.

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