Track & Field: UVA men claim first outright ACC Championship; women’s team finishes third

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 2024 ACC Outdoor Track & Field Championships in which the Virginia men won the first men’s team title outright in program history with 107 points while the women’s team tied for third place with 74 points.

The Virginia men won the ACC Championship for the first time in program history to beat out rival Virginia by 4.67 points. The meet came down to the final event, the 4x400m relay. Heading into the relay, the Cavaliers were in first place with 104 points just ahead of North Carolina at 100 points, Florida State at 95 points and Virginia Tech at 92.33 points.

The Virginia quartet of Jaden Lyons, Alex Sherman, Gage Gose and Evans White IV solidified the team title earning three points by finishing sixth in a season-best time of 3:08.46. While Virginia Tech won the relay in 3:03.35, it was not enough as the Hokies as Virginia scored a total 107 points to Virginia Tech’s 102. Virginia has never won a men’s team title outright as the team tied with Florida State in 2009 with 141 points.  The Cavaliers have finished in the top-three many times, this marks the first men’s team title in program history and the first in the Head Coach Vin Lananna era.

On the women’s side, the team scored a total of 74 points to tie with Notre Dame for third place overall. The last time Virginia finished third as a team was in 2019 and 2021 when the women scored a total of 92 and 84 points respectively.
Margot Appleton found her way to the podium twice in one day. Appleton went back-to-back in the women’s 1500m crossing the line in 4:11.04. Despite getting boxed in, Appleton swung wide to run away with the title heading into the home stretch. At these championships a year ago, Appleton bested the field by just over a second clocking 4:14.58. She betters her time at the conference championships by three seconds in Atlanta.

Her success does not stop there. Later in the day, Appleton returned to the track to take on the field in the women’s 5000m and bring home the bronze medal. As the race went on, the pack of runners began to spread out and Appleton stuck with the leaders to ultimately cross the line in 15:36.95. The Mattapoisett, Mass. native completed the same 1500/5000m double last year finishing just out of scoring position in nineth with her time of 16:50.00. She becomes just the second Virginia women’s 1500m to win the title in back-to-back season. The only other Cavalier to achieve the feat is Claire Forbes in 1990 and 1991.

Gary Martin and Wes Porter went 2-3 in the men’s 1500m final crossing the line in 3:40.87 and 3:42.13. Lining up in a stacked field, Martin and Porter knew what was ahead of them. The dynamic duo ran an impressive race as Martin narrowly got out stepped by North Carolina’s Ethan Strand in the final 100 meters of the race as the two crossed the line in 3:40.43 and 3:40.87 respectively. Porter battled to the line to hold on to the third-place position besting the rest of the field. Martin and Porter significantly bettered their time and place at this year’s championships as Martin finished eighth in 3:43.40 in the event a year ago while Porter was disqualified.
In the men’s discus throw, Jacob Lemmon threw for 60.31m/197-10 to finish runner-up. Lemmon launched one out 59.05m/193-8 for the furthest opening throw in the competition. The Sanibel, Fla. native went on to throw for 60.31m on his third appearance in the ring. On the fifth throw in the competition, Lemmon fouled while Milton Ingraham of Miami surpassed Lemmon by one meter with a mark of 61.32m/201-2. Unable to compete last year due to injury, he turned his bronze in 2022 into silver in 2024.
In her Outdoor ACC debut, Celia RIfaterra equaled her personal-best 1.79m/5-10.50 in the women’s high jump to secure the silver medal. Rifaterra entered the competition clearing 1.68m/5-6 on her first attempt with ease. The sophomore cleared the following three heights on her second attempt at each bar before knocking the bar down at what would have been a personal-best 1.82m/5-11.25.
After finishing third a year ago, Alex Sherman turns his bronze to silver in the men’s 400m hurdles this season. A photo finish for second through fourth, saw Sherman out lean NC State’s Xavier Branker and Pittsburgh’s Devin Nugent to secure the silver. Sherman raced to a new personal-best 50.34 to move up and tie for the second fastest in Virginia history. The Newton, Mass. native now ranks alongside Karl Williams at 50.34 from 1979.
Just two days after winning silver in the men’s 10,000m, Will Anthony cuts the distance in half to compete in the men’s 5000m. Anthony executed a tactical race, sitting on the shoulder of the leaders to ultimately cross the line in 13:40.17. In his Outdoor ACC debut, the New Zealand native scored a total of 14 points.
Shane Cohen finished the men’s 800m final in Shane Cohen fashion. The Huntington Valley, Pa. native recorded a huge personal best of 1:46.89 to bring home the bronze medal. Middle to back of the pack sits Cohen until about 200m to go when he made the surge to the front. Unlike the prelim, Cohen was only able to overtake the field to slide into third place. The former Division II middle All-American, Cohen made his first ACC Outdoor conference podium appearance and moves up to sixth all-time in the Virginia record books.

  • Janae Profit led things off for Virginia in the women’s hammer throw Saturday afternoon. Profit threw for 51.62m/169-4 on her final appearance in the ring to finish fifth and earn four points. Over the course of the competition, Profit continuously increased her mark before achieving her top-five mark on her sixth and final throw.
  • The women’s 100m dash final featured two Cavaliers in Sarah Akpan and Kayla Bonnick. Akpan raced to a new personal-best 11.49 to finish fifth ahead of Bonnick in eighth place with her time of 11.56. Akpan’s time remains ranked seventh all-time in program history.
  • After finishing in the top-five in the women’s 100m, Akpan returned to the track in the afternoon to double the distance racing the women’s 200m dash final. The Houston, Texas native yet again recorded a new personal-best time crossing the line in 23.40. Her time was good enough to move up to fourth all-time in Virginia’s record book.
  • The women’s 1500m final featured four Cavaliers in Margot Appleton, Maggie Hock, Caroline Timm and Anna Workman. Appleton led the way winning gold while Timm and Workman ran smart races to add to the team score in fifth and eighth place respectfully. Timm recorded her fastest time in a Virginia singlet of 4:14.96 to become eighth all-time in program history.
  • Both the Virginia women’s 4x100m and 4x400m relays recorded season best times in route to fifth place finishes. The 4x100m relay team got the baton around the track in 44.32 while the 4x400m relay team of Sarah Akpan, Ariel Fletcher, Alahna Sabbahkan and Emily Alexandru combined to finish in 3:36.49.
  • Carly Tarentino had a strong outing in the women’s high jump clearing 1.76m/5-9.25 on her third attempt at the height. Tarentino entered the competition clearing 1.68m/5-6 with ease on her first attempt at the height. While just outside of scoring position in nineth place, freshman Grace Flynn cleared personal-best 1.73m/5-8 to tie Susan Brownell ’80 as the fourth best freshman all-time in the event in program history.
  • Alex Leath entered the men’s 800m final with the second fastest qualifying time among the three heats in 1:47.77, second to his teammate Shane Cohen (1:47.50). Both Leath and Cohen recorded new personal bests in route to qualifying for their first ACC Outdoor conference final. In his first ACC Outdoor Championship final, the freshman finished seventh in 1:49.47. This his time from the prelim, Leath becomes the third fastest freshman all-time in Virginia history.
  • Both men’s 4x100m relay and 4x400m relay recorded season best performances. The men’s 4x100m team got the baton around the track in 40.76 and the 4x400m relay team of Jaden Lyons, Alex Sherman, Gage Gose and Evans White IV joined forces to solidify the team title crossing the line in 3:08.46.
  • Nate Mountain won his second gold medal in the men’s 3000m steeplechase in as many years crossing the line in meet record time of 8:30.05. Last season, Mountain became the fourth Cavalier since 1954 to win the event title while this season, he became the second Cavalier to win in back-to-back seasons. Rob Cook won the title in 1993 and 1994.
  • Yasin Sado finished runner-up in the men’s 3000m steeplechase crossing the line in 8:30.78. This marks the second consecutive year where the Cavaliers have gone 1-2 in the event. Last year’s championships saw Nate Mountain and Virginia Track alum Derek Johnson earn the top spots.
  • Will Anthony executed an impressive race in the men’s 10,000m to finish runner-up in a time of 29:18.80. Anthony recorded the fastest final lap of any athlete in the field, closing in 1:00.97 for 400 meters.
  • Ethan Robinson delivered a dominant performance in the men’s decathlon to score a new personal best 7435 points to earn the bronze medal.
  • John Fay threw for 66.55m/218-4 in the men’s hammer throw to finish third. Fay threw his bronze medal mark on his first appearance in the ring.
The Cavalier men and women accumulated a total of 24 All-ACC performances over the course of the meet:
  • First team men: Anthony (5000m, 10,000m), Fay (HT), Lemmon (DT), Martin (1500m), Mountain (3000mSC), Robinson (Decathlon), Sado (3000mSC), Sherman (400mH), Porter (1500m)
  • Second team men: Wachtel (10,000m), Zawatski (JT)
  • First Team women: Appleton (1500m, 5000m), Rifaterra (HJ), Romano (PV)
  • Second team women: Akpan (100m, 200m), Lumpkin (SP), Menninger (10,000m), Romano (PV), Tarentino (HJ), Timm (1500m), Profit (DT)

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. Virginia has already clinched the title, but the Cavaliers added two more points from the men’s and women’s outdoor track and field championships. With one more opportunity (baseball) to earn points, Virginia has a total of 14 points while Virginia Tech has 6.5 points.
1. Virginia – 107

2. Virginia Tech – 102.33
3. North Carolina – 102
4. Florida State – 95
5. Miami – 83
6. Clemson – 77.33
7. Duke – 70.33
8. Pittsburgh – 37
9. Notre Dame – 35
10. Syracuse – 30
10. Wake Forest – 30
12. Louisville – 20
13. NC State – 13
14. Georgia Tech – 12
15. Boston College – 5
1. Duke – 133
2. Clemson – 118.5
3. Notre Dame – 74
3. Virginia – 74
5. Florida State – 68
6. Miami – 66
7. Virginia Tech – 63
8. Louisville – 42
9. NC State – 39.5
10. Pittsburgh – 37
10. Wake Forest – 37
12. Georgia Tech – 23
13. North Carolina – 19
14. Syracuse – 18
15. Boston College – 6


Virginia will continue the championship portion of the season with the NCAA East Regional in Lexington, Ky., from Wednesday (May 22) through Saturday (May 25) before heading to Eugene, Ore. for the NCAA Outdoor Championships Wednesday (June 5) through Saturday (June 8).