Track & Field: Dabbs punches ticket to NCAA Championships; Porter, Murphy advance

Courtesy UVA Media Relations

Photo: UVA Athletics

The Virginia men’s track and field team closed competition on the opening day of the NCAA East Preliminaries in Jacksonville, Fla., on Wednesday evening at Hodges Stadium, as Ethan Dabbs punched his ticket to the NCAA Championships while Wes Porter and Conor Murphy each advanced to the quarterfinal round.


Ethan Dabbs is headed back to the NCAA Championships in the javelin, after placing fifth with a throw that reached 72.90 meters (239’2”).

  • Dabbs returns the championship meet after winning silver in 2022
  • The fifth-place finish assures that he will compete in the second flight of competition at the championships
  • Dabbs brings with him plenty of championship experience as a four-time ACC Champion and two-time All-American
  • The last time the NCAA Championships were held in Austin, Dabbs placed seventh throwing 72.23 meters
  • He has now qualified for the NCAA Championships three times out of his four seasons competing at UVA

Virginia freshman Tyler Zawatski competed in the first flight of the men’s javelin, marking the first appearance at the NCAA regionals of his young career. Battling windy conditions, Zawatski marked 59.74 meters (196’0”).


In the men’s 1500 meters, Wes Porter impressed in the closing stage of the race to place fifth and secure qualification to the NCAA quarterfinal round.

  • Porter posted a time of 3:46.90, as his fifth-place finish earned automatic qualification to the quarterfinals
  • This marks Porter’s third appearance in the quarterfinal round of the 1500, having reached this stage in each of the past two seasons – he has never reached the NCAA Championship meet
  • Porter entered the competition as the No. 33 seed with his season-best 3:41.51 – his personal best stands at 3:39.73, which he ran in 2022
  • The quarterfinal round will be run on Friday at 5:15 p.m., where 12 runners will advance to Austin – the top five in each heat will advance automatically along with the next two fastest times


Running in the 800 meters, Conor Murphy notched a second-place finish in his heat to secure automatic qualification to the NCAA quarterfinal round.

  • Murphy posted a time of 1:48.70 and clinched the second of three automatic qualifiers in his heat
  • He advances to the NCAA quarterfinals for the first time in his career, having previously qualified for the first round on two prior occasions
  • Murphy entered the competition as the No. 9 seed with his personal-best of 1:47.27
  • The quarterfinal round will be run on Friday at 7:05 p.m., where 12 runners will advance to Austin – the top three in each heat along with the next three fastest times


  • A strong sophomore season came to an end for John Fay, who posted a mark of 62.65 meters (205’6”) placing 22nd overall after advancing to the NCAA east preliminary round for the first time in his career
  • Alex Sherman’s impressive 2023 campaign came to a close in the 400 meters. Competing at the NCAA east preliminary for the first time, Sherman posted a time of 51.97 finishing sixth in his heat.


The Cavalier women will begin their competition Thursday, kicking off with the 1500 meters at 6:30 p.m.