Track & Field: UVA concludes competition at ACC Championships

Courtesy UVA Media Relations

Photo: UVA Athletics

The Virginia men’s and women’s track and field teams closed out a thrilling final day of competition at the ACC Outdoor Track & Field Championships that featured a pair of gold medal finishes on the women’s side while the men contended for the team title up to the final event. The men’s team tied for third place with 89.5 points while the women placed fifth with 76.5 points.

Gold in the 4×100 meters:

The Cavalier women’s 4×100 meters kicked things with an injection of momentum into both teams as a team of Kayla Bonnick, Jada Seaman, Jada Pierre and Sarah Akpan threw down a time of 43.71 seconds to win gold and set a Virginia record in the process.

  • The Cavalier women came into the meet with the fastest seed time in the field at 44.24
  • Their gold-medal performance tops a school record which Bonnick and Seaman helped set back in 2021
  • The title is Virginia’s first in the women’s 4×100 meters since 1995

Appleton and Seeland Crowd the Podium:

Momentum from the women’s 4×100 meters followed quickly as Margot Appleton and Esther Seeland took to the track in the 1500 meters after each looked threatening in the qualifiers on Thursday.

  • Margot Appleton won her first ACC title in the 1500 meters leading the way for Virginia with her time of 4:14.58.
  • Appleton becomes the second Cavalier woman to win a 1500-meter title under head coach Vin Lananna, and the second in three seasons as she joins Michaela Meyer who won gold in 2021
  • Esther Seeland followed in third place clocking 4:16.82. Seeland earns first-team All-ACC status for the second time in her first season at Virginia after winning silver in the 800 meters at the ACC Indoor Championships in February

Silver in the Discus:

  • Ashley Anumba scored first-team All-ACC honors for the second-consecutive season winning silver in the discus.
  • Anumba launched a throw of 58.50 meters (191’11”) on her very first attempt of the competition which was enough to clinch the silver
  • She was bested only by Caisa Marie Lindorfs of Florida State who threw a meet and facility record of 60.80 meters (199’6”)

Sherman Wins Bronze in the 400 Hurdles:

Alex Sherman and Emily Alexandru each scored points for Virginia as Sherman delivered in a big spot for Virginia.

  • The sophomore turned on the jets in the 400 hurdles and blazed to a third place finish as he threw down a huge personal-best running 51.09
  • The time moves Sherman up the Virginia all-time list into the fourth position and earns him first-team All-ACC honors for the first time in his career
  • Emily Alexandru placed sixth in the women’s 400 hurdles to bag three points for the Virginia women

Also in the short sprints, a pair of Virginia women threw down impressive performances in the 100 meters:

  • Sarah Akpan blazed to a fourth-place finish clocking 11:52 to score five points for UVA
  • Akpan’s performance was a personal best and ranks seventh all-time at Virginia
  • Kayla Bonnick placed fifth for the Cavaliers running 11.56

Setting Up the Finish

Derek Johnson and Jack Eliason delivered in the men’s 5000 meters to put the men’s team in the mix for the team title with just one event to go:

  • Johnson recorded his second podium finish of the meet as he raced to a third-place finish clocking 13:51.37 – Johnson finished as the runner-up in the 3000 steeplechase just one night prior
  • Eliason followed in fourth place running 13:51.84 to secure second-team All-ACC honors

The time put the Virginia men into second-place in the overall standings with just the 4×400 relay to go as five teams had the chance to win the team title:

Florida State – 86
Virginia – 85.5
Virginia Tech – 82.5
Clemson – 82
Louisville – 81.5

Dramatic 4×400 Finish:

  • The men’s 4×400 meter team delivered a season-best performance with the title on the line clocking 3:08.66
  • Tom Corel led things off followed by Alex Sherman, Evans White, and Jaden Lyons.
  • White and Lyons split 46.81 and 46.88 on the final two laps to surge into the front of the pack finishing fifth in the end
  • Clemson won the title posting a meet record of 3:02.25 – the victory propelled the Tigers to the ACC men’s team title
  • On the women’s side of the event a Cavalier team of Sarah Akpan, Jada Seaman, Alahna Sabbakhan and Emily Alexandru placed fourth posting a time of 3:35.77

Thursday/Friday ACC Champions:

  • Ethan Dabbs kickstarted the competition Thursday (May 11) by becoming the first-ever competitor to win four ACC men’s javelin titles. Dabbs’ first throw of the competition reached 73.09 meters (239’9’) and was enough to secure the victory. Dabbs becomes the 12th men’s competitor to win four ACC titles in any event
  • Owayne Owens reclaimed the ACC triple jump title on Friday (May 12) clearing a mark of 16.61 meters (54’6”) to match an outdoor best. Owens’s snatched the title with his third attempt of the competition to edge Miami’s Russell Robinson by just half an inch. The performance earned Owens his second outdoor ACC triple jump title, and his fourth between indoor and outdoor seasons.
  • Nate Mountain won his first ACC Championship in the 3000-meter steeplechase running a personal-best of 8:32.05 which ranks second all-time at Virginia. Mountain became the first Cavalier to win the men’s steeplechase title since 2014 when Kyle King accomplished the feat – Derek Jonson dropped a runner-up finish while Yasin Sado placed fifth to help the Cavaliers take 22 points from the event

All-ACC Finishes:

The Cavalier men and women accumulated a total of 22 All-ACC performances over the course of the meet:

  • First team men: Dabbs (JT), Owens (TJ), Mountain (SC), Johnson (SC, 5000)
  • Second team men: Fay (HT), Robinson (Dec), Sado (SC), Conor (1500, 800), Bachmann (800), Eliason (5000)
  • First Team women: Romano (PV), 4×100, Appleton (1500), Seeland (1500)
  • Second team women: Borstlap (PV), Seaman (LJ), Still (Hep), Hardy (TJ), Sarah Akpan (100), Bonnick (100)

The Smithfield Commonwealth Clash

The Smithfield Commonwealth Clash, originally called the Commonwealth Challenge (2005-2007), has been a part of the UVA-Virginia Tech rivalry since 2014. It is an all-sports, points-based program with the Commonwealth Clash trophy presented to the winning school each year for its dominance in head-to-head competitions. In men’s and women’s track and field, the points are awarded to the team that finishes highest at the ACC Championships. The schools split the points between the men and women. Virginia won the competition for the 2023 season with a score of 12-9.

Final Team Standings: 

1. Clemson – 92
2. Florida State – 91
3. Virginia – 89.5
3. Louisville – 89.5
5. Virginia Tech – 84.5
6. North Carolina – 73.5
7. Miami – 59
8. Duke – 51
9. Notre Dame – 42
10. Wake Forest – 40
11. Syracuse – 36
12. Pitt – 27
13. NC State – 23
14. Georgia Tech – 15
15. Boston College – 0

1. Duke – 145.5
2. Virginia Tech – 84.5
3. Miami – 78
3. Florida State – 78
5. Virginia – 76.5
6. NC State – 73
7. Notre Dame – 59
8. North Carolina – 47
9. Louisville – 39
10. Clemson – 34
11. Pitt – 25
12. Wake Forest – 24.5
13. Boston College – 16
13. Georgia Tech – 16
15. Syracuse – 14