LEXINGTON, Ky. – The Virginia women’s track & field team concluded  competition at the NCAA East Preliminaries Saturday (May 25) at the UK Outdoor Track & Field Facility as Margot Appleton and Celia Rifaterra punched their tickets to the NCAA Outdoor Championships in Eugene, Ore.

The Virginia men’s and women’s team will send 11 Cavaliers (8 men, 3 women) to the 2024 NCAA Outdoor Championships. The last time Virginia sent eight or more to the outdoor championships was back in 2015 when eight individual athletes advanced.

Appleton Headed Back to NCAAs
Margot Appleton will make her second consecutive trip to the NCAA Outdoor Championships after a smart 5000m semifinal race.
  • Finishing runner-up in the first heat of competition, Appleton executed a strategic race crossing the line in 15:43.02 which was good for eighth overall.
  • Dominant all season, Appleton will look to make noise in the 5000m at the national level for the first time since Barbara Strehler’s 22nd place finish in 2013.
  • At the NCAA Outdoor Championships a year ago, Appleton finished third in the 1500m in a time of 4:09.30 to earn first-team All-American honors.
  • The junior already holds the Virginia record in the event at 15:18.21 set earlier this season at the Raleigh Relays.

Rifaterra Headed to Eugene
Celia Rifaterra punched her ticket to the NCAA Outdoor Championships for the first time in her career in the women’s high jump.
  • Rifaterra cleared a new personal-best 1.81m/5-11.25 on her third and final attempt at the height to finish 12th overall and earn the final qualifying position.
  • The sophomore cleared the first three bars of the competition on her first attempt at each heigh before knocking the bar down at 1.84m/5-0.50.
  • The native of Spain bettered her finish at the East preliminary round after a 38th place finish in 2023 clearing 1.67m/5-5.75 for FIU.
  • Rifaterra is the first Cavalier to qualify for the outdoor championships in the event since Sherry Gauld in 1993.

Other performances:
  • Just two spots away from qualifying, Esther Seeland recorded a new personal-best of 4:11.91 in the women’s 1500m to finish 14th overall.
  • On her second attempt of the competition, Janae Profit threw 49.93m/193-9 in the women’s discus to finish 29th overall. Profit has already qualified in the women’s shot put.
  • Sarah Akpan attempted the sprint double in Lexington finishing 17th in the 100m with a time of 11.31 and 14th in the 200m with a new personal best time of 23.09.
  • The women’s 4x100m relay team of Kayla Bonnick, Sarah Akpan, Ariel Fletcher and Marlee Morgan got the baton around the track in a season best time of 44.30.
  • In the women’s high jump, Carly Tarentino cleared 1.76m/5-9.25 to finish 27th overall.
From Director of Track & Field Vin Lananna:
“Wow! It was a historic four days of performances by the UVA track and field teams. We are now headed back to TrackTown USA for the NCAA Championships at Hayward Field through the us Olympic team Trials. I could not be more proud of these student athletes.”

Complete List of Virginia Qualifiers


Shane Cohen 800m
Gary Martin 1500m
Wes Porter 1500m
Will Anthony 10,000m
Nate Mountain 3000m Steeplechase
Yasin Sado 3000m Steeplechase
Jacob Lemmon Discus
John Fay Hammer


Margot Appleton 5000m
Celia Rifaterra High Jump
Janae Profit Shot Put

Up Next:
Virginia’s 11 individual qualifiers between the men and women will compete at the NCAA Championships in Eugene, Ore. from June 5-8.