Track & Field: UVA advances to Saturday’s ACC finals

Courtesy UVA Media Relations

Photo: UVA Athletics

The Virginia men’s and women’s track and field teams began competition at the ACC Indoor Championships on Friday, where the Virginia men qualified five runners for the finals in the mile on Saturday. The Virginia women ended the day in sixth place, while the men finished the day in seventh.

Virginia dominated the men’s mile as five Cavaliers punched their tickets to Saturday’s finals, making up 50-percent of the field. Wes Porter led things off as he took the victory in the first race of the day to secure automatic qualification. Nate Mountain ran in the second heat and surged into second place to grab the automatic qualifier.

Gary Martin followed suit securing another automatic qualification thanks to second-place finish. In the fourth and final heat of the day, Virginia’s James Donahue and Jack Eliason found themselves in a battle with Carolina’s Jesse Hunt for just two automatic qualifying places. Donahue took second to clinch his place in the finals. Though he placed third, a surge from Eliason saw him qualify on time with a personal-best of 4:03.43.

Ellie Desmond clinched a spot in the finals of the women’s mile as well. Running in the third and final heat of the day, Desmond placed fourth posting a personal-best of 4:41.09 to qualify for the finals on time. Desmond’s performance puts her a at eighth on the UVA all-time performance list.

Two more Cavaliers earned places in the finals in the 800 meters. Both Conor Murphy and Esther Seeland topped their heats to secure automatic qualification to tomorrow’s finals.

In the sprints, Jada Seaman and Kayla Bonnick each qualified on time for the finals in the 60-meter hurdles. Bonnick led the way posting a personal-best time of 7.35 while Seaman posted 7.40. Bonnick’s time moves her into third on the Virginia all-time performance list. Though she missed out on qualification, Sarah Akpan ran a personal-best of 7.48 which ranks fourth all-time among UVA freshmen.

Heldi Valikaj scored a point for Virginia in the long jump. On just his second attempt, the sophomore soared to a season-best mark of 7.15 (23’5.5”) which held to secure eighth place.

Ethan Robinson began the second day of competition in the heptathlon in sixth place with a total of 2,943 points. Leading off the day in the 60-meter hurdles, he finished second and posted a time of 8.14 seconds to earn another 947 points. After the completion of the pole vault and the 1000 meters, Robinson had accumulated 5,221 points, good for a sixth-place and second team All-ACC finish. Robinson’s total score ranks third all-time at Virginia.


“I am proud of the way that both teams competed today. The student athletes were courageous in all their performances. Ethan Robinson and Heldi Valikaj did well to score points for the team, and ten others did a great job to advance to the finals. I think that both teams have positioned themselves well to do some great things tomorrow. We have excellent competitors scheduled to compete across a variety of events including the triple jump, 800 meters, 3000 meters and the mile.”

Women’s Team Standings
Virginia Tech – 48
Duke – 43
NC State – 37
Notre Dame – 34
Louisville – 23
Virginia – 18.5
Pitt – 18
Syracuse – 11
Miami – 10
Georgia Tech – 10
North Carolina – 7
Wake Forest – 6.5
Clemson – 6
Florida State – 1
Boston College – 0

Men’s Team Standings
Louisville – 35.5
Virginia Tech – 34
Notre Dame – 19
Miami – 18
North Carolina – 17
Pitt – 17
NC State – 14
Virginia – 14
Florida State – 14
Clemson – 13.5
Wake Forest – 13
Duke – 13
Syracuse – 10
Boston College – 1
Georgia Tech – 1


The ACC Indoor Championships will resume Saturday morning, beginning with the women’s triple jump at 11 a.m.