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June 10, 2016

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EUGENE, Ore.–The Virginia men’s track and field team posted its best-ever outdoor national finish, placing seventh at the NCAA Championships Friday (June 10) at Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore.

The Cavaliers placed seventh with 20 points. Florida won the team competition, finishing with 62 points, ahead of Arkansas (56), Texas A&M (50), Oregon (48), LSU (41) and Tennessee (30). Virginia Tech was eighth with 19 points, Mississippi State was ninth with 18 points and Houston and Nebraska finished in a tie for 10th with 17 points. The Cavaliers previous-best finish was 17th in 2015.

“It has been an incredible year for our program overall, starting in the fall with our women winning the ACC cross country title for the first time in 33 years then have our men finish it off outdoors with a top-7 finish,” UVA director of track and field/cross country Bryan Fetzer said. “We will always strive to improve but to put things in perspective, in the last 80 years, UVA has had only two individuals win NCAA titles in track and field and we have had two in the last five months. As a men’s program, since 1934, the team had not ever finished in the top-20 nationally in track and field and we have now done that in three straight seasons (2015 outdoors and 2016 indoors and outdoors), including back-to-back top-8 finishes this year.

“I am blessed to have a great staff and a team that has grown into a family with two incredible leaders and role models in Henry (Wynne) and Filip (Mihaljevic) who will continue to lead the program next year.”

Junior Henry Wynne (Westport, Conn.) placed third in the 1,500 meters in a time of 3:38.35. Wynne and Washington’s Izaic Yorks traded the lead through the first three laps, just like they did in the semifinal on Wednesday. In the final 200 meters, Akron’s Clayton Murphy out-kicked Wynne and Yorks to win in a time of 3:36.38. Yorks was second in 3:38.06.

“I think I did what I could,” Wynne said. “I knew I wanted to take it out fast and keep it an honest pace and I figured Izaic (Yorks) would come around at some point and if not, I was going to keep the pace myself. I’m a little disappointed with the last 200 meters, but Clayton (Murphy) and Izaic both had a great kick, so I have nothing to complain about.

“It was the fastest race and best competition I have ever faced, which was fun. Even though I did not win, I was still happy with my performance.”

“Henry ran a great race,” UVA distance coach Pete Watson said. “Honestly, he should be very proud of the effort as I am very proud of him as an athlete. I think everyone knew there were three great student-athletes that were going to battle it out today and that is what took place. He tried to win 250 meters out and came up a little short. He had a special season and it has been amazing to watch him progress.

Junior Filip Mihaljevic (Livno, Bosnia and Herzegovina) finished fifth in the discus with a throw of 60.28m (197′ 9″) on his fifth attempt. With 14 points, Mihaljevic finished tied for the fourth-most points of any individual at the meet and first among throwers. Mihaljevic won the shot put on Wednesday (June 8).

“The shot put took a lot more out of me than I thought, but I was happy with a fifth-place finish,” Mihaljevic said.

“Filip was amazing throughout the meet,” UVA throws coach Kemal Mesic said. “After winning the national title in the shot put where he gave everything he had, we knew it would very tough to come back both physically and mentally, but he did well to finish fifth place in such a close competition today.”

Also in the discus, junior Jordan Young (Windsor, Ontario) placed 12th with a mark of 57.02m (187′ 1″).

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