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Johnson, Lemmon, Romero earn first-team All-America honors

Courtesy UVA Media Relations

uva track and fieldOn the final day of the men’s events at the 2021 NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships, Virginia saw all four competitors earn All-America honors with three grabbing first-team distinction thanks to top-eight finishes.

Topping the Cavaliers’ Friday performances were a pair of top-five finishes by a freshmen duo in the discus throw.

Claudio Romero took the bronze medal and Jacob Lemmon grabbed fifth place in their first NCAA appearances. Romero’s top throw of 61.36 meters (201’ 4”) came on his fifth attempt. Lemmon, who was ranked No. 15 in the nation in the discus prior to the postseason competition, threw for 57.78 meters (189’ 7”) on his first attempt in circle and that held up to get him fifth place.

In the 3000-meter steeplechase, sophomore Derek Johnson used a school-record performance to place seventh with a time of 8:32.95. That was almost four seconds better than his previous best time. It was the best showing by a Cavalier in the event since Jan Foster was sixth in 2007.

“Derek Johnson’s improvement is remarkable,” said Vin Lananna, UVA’s director of track and field and cross country. “I look forward to seeing what is next for this outstanding leader.  He had an outstanding year and pr’d at two championship events, here and at the ACCs.”

Sophomore Owayne Owens, the ACC triple jump champion, earned second-team All-America status in the event following a 15th-place finish. His top mark was 15.77 meters (51’ 9”).

“Owayne had a strained hamstring and that was unfortunate, but overall a nice job by our young guys,” said Vin Lananna, UVA’s director of track and field and cross country. “I am very proud of these young men who persevered over the past 15 months. I am excited about our future with outstanding student-athletes like this representing Virginia.”

With just five individual competitors, UVA placed 28th in the team standings with 12 total points. That was the third-best finish among ACC schools at the meet.

The meet wraps up Saturday with the second day of the women’s competition. Michaela Meyer will race in the finals of the 800 meters while Andrenette Knight will compete for the national title in the 400-meter hurdles.

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