RALEIGH, N.C. – The Virginia men’s and women’s track and field team finished off the final day at the ACC Outdoor Track and Field Championships by winning four more individuals titles. Leading the way were high jumper Brenton Foster and hurdler Andrenette Knight, who repeated as ACC Champions. In addition, Michaela Meyer and Claudio Romero picked up their first conference titles in dramatic fashion.
Both the UVA men’s and women’s programs finished third in the team scoring. Duke won its first women’s team title and Florida State’s men took that championship.
Knight repeated as ACC Champion in the 400-meter hurdles, setting a facility record and breaking her own school record with a blazing finish of 55.75 seconds. That effort ranks as the second-fastest time in the nation this season. A graduate student at UVA, she also picked up points for the Cavaliers thanks to a seventh-place showing in the 100-meter hurdles with a time of 13.38 seconds.
Foster also reset his own school record in winning his second consecutive ACC Outdoor high jump title and his third overall. He also won the 2020 ACC indoor event.
Foster’s top height was 2.27 meters (7’ 5.25”) that he cleared on his first attempt. Florida State’s Jordan Wesner also cleared the mark but recorded a miss on his first try which gave the advantage to Foster. He became the first Cavalier to win two ACC titles in the event.
Romero, a freshman, picked up his first conference title in the discus. He grabbed the lead during the first round with a throw of 60.27 meters but then Clemson sophomore Roje Stona passed him with a toss of 60.58 meters in the second round. Stona kept that lead until the sixth and final attempt when Romero recorded his winning throw of 61.21 meters (200’ 10”). His victory marked the sixth time since 2012 a Cavalier thrower has won the ACC discus title.
Meyer was entered in two races – the 1500 meters and 800 meters – during Saturday’s competition. In her first event, the 1500 meters, she found herself boxed in behind a pack of five runners heading into the final 200 meters of the race. The graduate student relied on her patience and experience to swing outside the pack coming off the final turn and used her finishing kick to race past the pack and cross the finish line first.
Her time of 4:09.78 was a UVA school record, an ACC meet record and a facility record. It figures as the fourth fasted 1500-meter time this season in the collegiate ranks. Meyer became the first Cavalier to win the women’s 1500 meters since Claire Forbes in 1991.
Just 80 minutes later she was back on the track to race in the 800 meters. Clemson’s Laurie Barton, who entered the race with a faster time (2:01.57) this season than Meyer (2:01.82) pushed a torrid pace and never trailed. She won in a meet-record time of 2:00.70. Meyer was third with a school-record time of 2:01.52.
UVA’s Rebecca Hawkins tied for second place in the women’s high jump to earn first-team All-ACC honors. She matched her personal best clearance with a mark of 1.75 meters (5’ 8.75”).
Freshman Wes Porter picked up first-team All-ACC honors with an impressive second-place finish in the men’s 1500 meters. He finished in 3:41.98 to improve on his personal best mark that ranks eighth all-time at UVA and is the second fastest time by a Cavalier freshman.
In the men’s 800-meter race, freshman Conor Murphy picked up first-team All-ACC accolades with a third-place finish. He ran a personal best time of 1:48.57 to improve on his eighth all-time mark on the Virginia performance list. Senior Randy Neish was fifth in the race with a personal best time of 1:49.37 to pick up second-team all-conference honors.
UVA picked up additional points in the discus thanks to a fifth-place finish by freshman Jacob Lemmon. He threw 56.74 meters (186’ 2”) on his final throw to pick up second-team All-ACC honors.
Virginia’s Thelma Kristjánsdóttir earned second-team All-ACC honors in the women’s discus with a personal best throw of 53.62 meters (175’ 11”) to place sixth.
The UVA women had a pair of second-place finishes in the day’s relay races.
The 4×100 relay team of Anna Jefferson, Jada Seaman, Khyasia Caldwell, Kayla Bonnick ran a UVA-record time of 43.90 to take the silver medal in that event. Only Florida State (43.28), running the best time in the nation this year, finished ahead of UVA.
In the 4×400, UVA also placed second. Jefferson, Seaman and Knight combined with freshman Keara Seasholtz to run a school record time of 3:32.34.
Earlier in the week, Virginia won ACC titles in the javelin (Ethan Dabbs), long jump (Seaman) and triple jump (Owayne Owens). Like Knight and Foster, Dabbs won his second consecutive title.
“There are so many touch points and takeaways for our women and men this weekend,” said Vin Lananna, UVA’s director of track and field and cross country. “The student-athletes really stepped up in every event area. This is a tough conference and I am very pleased that we are building a true championship team.”
UVA will compete at the NCAA East Regional on May 26-29 in Jacksonville, Fla.