Track & Field: Virginia sets 14-year-old record at Penn State National

Courtesy UVA Media Relations

The Virginia men’s and women’s track and field teams closed competition at the Penn State National on Saturday, where the men’s distance medley relay team took down a 14-year-old school record by running the top time in the nation.

The Cavaliers dazzled in the men’s distance medley relay as Gary Martin ran the 1200-meter leg, followed by Alex Sherman in the 400, Conor Murphy in the 800 while Yasin Sado anchored the team in the mile. Sado was handed the baton with a lengthy lead as he chased not only the victory but one of the top times in the nation. Sado ran a blazing 3:58.14 split and crossed the line to put Virginia’s time at 9:27.80 to give the squad not only the Virginia record, but the leading time in the NCAA this season.

On the women’s side of the event, Esther Seeland led off for the Cavaliers in the 1200 meters followed by Jada Seaman in the 400, Alahna Sabbakhan in the 800 and Margot Appleton in the mile. The Cavalier women posted a time of 11:05.66 which ranks fifth in Virginia history and ninth in the NCAA this season.

Sophie Atkinson and Camryn Menninger went 3-4 in the women’s 3000 meters as Atkinson clocked 9:21.65 while Menninger followed at 9:23.96. The Cavalier duo each stamped their names on the Virginia all-time performance list as their times rank fifth and sixth in Virginia history.

In the men’s 3000 meters, Derek Johnson and Wes Porter went 2-3 as Johnson recorded a time of 8:01.49 while Porter ran 8:02.49.

In the women’s high jump, Carly Tarentino took home her first-ever collegiate victory in the high jump. Tarentino cleared 1.70 meters (5’7”) which ties a personal best and is just 1.25 inches shy of cracking Virginia’s top-10 performances all-time.

In the women’s 400 meters, Emily Alexandru won her heat taking third place overall in the event with her time of 56.64 while teammate Abby Comella took sixth overall clocking 57.27.

On the men’s side of the 400-meters, Jaden Lyons led the Cavaliers winning his heat with a personal-best time of 49.86 seconds.

Liam Bellamy took home a victory in the 600 meters as he cruised to a time of 1:20.06. Myles Plummer placed second in his heat and third overall clocking 1:20.93.

In the women’s 200 meters, Jada Seaman took third place with her time of 24.15 seconds. Kayla Bonnick ran 24.60 to place seventh overall. In the unseeded section, freshman Sarah Akpan raced to a win in her heat clocking a personal-best 24.77 seconds. Akpan’s time ranks just outside the top-5 UVA all-time freshman performance list.

Ashley Anumba threw 15.67 meters (51’5”) in the shot put to take third place in the event.

“Today was a great showing to close out an excellent weekend of competition for our team as a whole. Each event area performed well against strong competition. We saw impressive individual performances as well as an inspiring race by our men’s DMR team. This was an important step forward for our team as we continue to progress towards the ACC Championships in February.”

Murphy wins 800-Meters Friday

The Virginia men’s and women’s track and field teams opened competition at the Penn State National Invitational, where Conor Murphy put on a show in the 800-meters and the Cavaliers turned in a strong team performance across the board on Friday evening.

Murphy shined for Virginia his first crack at the 800-meters in 2023. The junior blazed to a victory winning his race with a personal-best time of 1:47.41. The time ranks third on the Virginia all-time indoor performance list and is the third-fastest time 800-meter time run in NCAA Division I this season.

Freshman Gary Martin turned in a strong performance in his first collegiate 800-meter race. The Warminster, Pa. native took fifth in his heat clocking 1:50.01 which ranks as the fifth-fastest time by a Virginia freshman.

On the women’s side of the event, State College Pa. native, Esther Seeland an impressive performance for her hometown crowd. In her first 800-meter race as a Cavalier, Seeland wasted no time taking down the Virginia indoor record in the event as she posted a time of 2:05.38 finishing third in the event. With the performance, Seeland edges past teammate Alahna Sabbakhan who set the record last season at the ACC indoor championships.

In his first trip to his home state as a Cavalier, Justin Rogers turned in an impressive performance. The Hershey, Pa. native finished fourth overall in the competition posting a mark of 5.01 meters (16’5.25”). Rogers cleared the five-meter mark for the first time in his collegiate career and tied Sam Young for the Virginia Freshman record. On the women’s side, Caroline Dannenbaum took third place in the event.

Another freshman record fell shortly after as the Cavaliers took to the track for the men’s mile. James Donnahue blazed to a second-place finish in his heat clocking a Virginia freshman-record time of 4:01.97 topping Alex Tatu’s time of 4:03.00 set in 2005. Donnahue’s time ranks seventh all-time in Virginia history with just a fraction of a second separating him from teammate Wes Porter (4:01.82). Jack Eliason cruised to a third-place finish in his mile heat clocking a personal-best 4:03.51.

In the women’s mile, Ellie Desmond finished sixth overall posting a personal-best time of 4:43.88 knocking 12 seconds off her previous best.

Jada Seaman returned to action in the long jump as the veteran jumper took home a victory in the competition while teammate Tara Zeni placed ninth.

In the men’s weight throw, Jacob Lemmon placed fifth with a personal-best mark of 20.92 meters (68’7.75”), a mark that ranks third all-time at Virginia. John Fay also turned in a personal-best with his mark of 18.42 meters (60’5.25”).

In the 60-meter hurdles, Peter Djan placed fifth with his time of 8.10 seconds. While in the women’s 60-meter dash, Kayla Bonnick placed fourth clocking 7.46 seconds while Sarah Akpan placed eighth with her time of 7.58.

The first day of competition was capped by a 1-2 finish in the 5000-meters as Jacob Hunter took the victory clocking 14:05.03 followed by Andrew Jones in second with his time of 14:21.40.

The Cavalier men and women will be back in action across multiple meets as the upcoming schedule includes the Doc Hale Virginia Tech Elite Meet (Feb. 3-4), the JDL DMR Invitational (Feb. 4) and the Bruce Lehane Scarlet & White Invitational (Feb. 4).