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May 27, 2016

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla.-Graduate student William Gray and juniors Filip Mihaljevic and Jordan Young qualified for the NCAA Championships as the No. 6 Virginia men’s track and field team finished action on the second day of the NCAA East Preliminaries Friday (May 27) at Hodges Stadium in Jacksonville, Fla.

At the preliminary meet, each individual event (excluding the heptathlon and decathlon) has 48 competitors, while relays have 24 teams. The top 12 from every event will move on to the NCAA Outdoor Championships, to be held in Eugene, Ore., on June 8-11.

Mihaljevic (Livno, Bosnia and Herzegovina) placed third in the discus with a mark of 60.67m (199′ 0″) on his third and final attempt, while Young was 11th with a distance of 57.50m (188′ 8″) on his second attempt. Mihaljevic finished third in the event at the 2015 NCAA Championships, while Young was sixth. It is the third-consecutive year Mihaljevic has qualified in the event and Young’s second.

“Both Filip and Jordan did a great job today, especially because Filip is still in hard training and Jordan has had about 10 practices in total this year,” UVA throws coach Kemal Mesic said. “I am very proud of them and am very excited for Eugene in a couple weeks.”

“Today’s competition felt good,” Mihaljevic said. “It’s a shame we do not get three more throws (at the preliminary meet) like we normally do, but we are moving on to Eugene, where I think it will be way better. The conditions were not that great today because it rained right before the competition, but I got the most out of my body today, so I’m really happy.”

“Today felt great,” Young said. “I have been training hard and it has been nice to be finished with school and get some good practices in without the stress of finals. I qualified today and that is all you are looking for at this meet. I know a big throw is coming because the training and practice have been going well.”

Gray (Norwich, England) finished third in his heat of the 3,000m steeplechase in 8:46.84 to qualify for the national meet. It is Gray’s first NCAA Championship appearance.

“To reach outdoor nationals after missing the entirety of 2015, including missing the cross country and indoor seasons here, I am so happy to get to Eugene,” Gray said.

The preliminary meet concludes Saturday with action beginning at 3 p.m. Redshirt sophomore Aaron Worrell (Fort Eustis, Va.) will compete in the triple jump, Mihaljevic and redshirt freshman Oghenakpobo Efekoro (Brooklyn, N.Y.) will contest in the shot put, juniors Henry Wynne (Westport, Conn.) and Mike Marsella (Hope Valley, R.I.) will run in the 1,500m and Wynne and senior Evan Chiplock (Saginaw, Mich.) will compete in the 5,000 meters.

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