After three days of fierce competition, the Virginia Tech men’s track and field team ended day three of the ACC Indoor Championships as ACC co-champions, sharing the title with Florida State.
The men finished tied with Florida State, as both teams scored 117 points, while the Tech women came in third with 84 points, which was one point behind Florida State and seven points behind first-place Miami.
The title marked the 14th overall for Virginia Tech track and field and cross-country programs since the school joined the ACC for the 2004-05 season. The men’s team has won nine of those, including five indoor titles, and the men’s program now has won an ACC title in seven of the past nine years.
“We were close last year at Clemson. It was four points on the men’s side, and that really hurt, especially because we had all those senior distance guys,” Tech Director of Track and Field Dave Cianelli said. “But to be able to come back this year with such a young team and be able to win the championship with so many new faces and freshmen … to me, that’s probably the most impressive thing. So, I’m not disappointed at all. Would I have liked to have won it outright? Sure, but this is better than finishing second by a point. We still got a trophy, and I’ll take that any day.”
The men were led by Deakin Volz, Peter Seufer, Jacory Patterson and ACC field MVP Isaiah Rogers.
Volz won the pole vault for the second straight year with his clearance of 5.45 meters (17 feet, 10.5 inches). The victory marked the 12th time that a Hokie has won the individual pole vault title since joining the ACC. Joel Leon Benitez finished second after vaulting 5.15 meters (16 feet, 10.75 inches). Freshman Harrison Rice finished fifth with a mark of 4.95 meters (16 feet, 2.75 inches).
The distance group, led by Seufer, dominated the field Saturday. Seufer held off Syracuse’s Iliass Aouani to finish first in the 3,000-meter run with a personal-best time of 7 minutes, 59.60 seconds. He became the first Hokie since Thomas Curtin (2015) to win the event. To round out the group, Diego Zarate finished second in the mile with his time of 4:03.54, while Bashir Mosavel-Lo placed fourth in the 800 with a time of 1:48.74.
“When the meet is in the line, there’s nobody that you would want more than Peter Seufer,” Tech distance coach Eric Johannigmeier said. “He ran a great championship race. For him to run that time, with how hot it was, was incredible.
“Zarate competed really tough, ran great and got us eight team points. He stayed incredibly positive and focused all week, which was huge for the men’s team in general.”
Patterson headlined the sprints group, along with freshman Miles Green. Patterson broke his own school record (46.14) by a tenth of a second to earn gold in the 400-meter dash with a time of 46.04. With his event title, Patterson become the first Hokie ever to win the 400 during the indoor season. Green set a personal-best in the 400 for the second day in a row with his time of 47.38 and came in fourth.
“Jacory, I’ve been saying it from day one, he’s a special one,” Tech sprints coach Tim Vaught said. “I think that the sky is the limit for him. What he ran today is going to get him into nationals, and I’m excited to get him focused for the national meet.
“Miles was the 16th seed coming into the meet, and to go from 16th to eighth and then from eighth to fourth, he’s just a gamer.”
A day after winning silver in the weight throw, Rogers threw a personal-best 18.19 meters (59 feet, 8.25) in the shot put to finish second. With his 16 points in the meet, the Smyrna, Georgia native was named ACC Men’s Field MVP. Freshman Tyson Jones also grabbed some points on the men’s side, as he finished fifth with mark of 17.69 meters (58 feet, 0.5).
“I think Isaiah competed outstanding today,” Tech throws coach Andrew Dubs said. “His goal was to throw 18 meters, and he was ready and it showed. He had two PRs today. I’m just really happy for him because he worked his butt off.
“I also want to give hats off to Tyson Jones as well. He battled an injury early in the season, and he battled through that to finish in the top five as a true freshman. That was really impressive.”
Chauncey Chambers was the lone member of the men’s jumps group, but the Springfield, Virginia native finished fifth in the triple jump with a mark of 15.32 meters (50 feet, 3.25) to give the Hokies needed points in the event.
“Chauncey came through for us today,” Tech jumps coach Paul Zalewski said. “As a freshman at his first ACC championship, he did everything he needed to do for the team. His fifth round jump got him just centimeter ahead of one of the Florida State guys, and we absolutely needed that one point. I’m really proud of him.”
The 4×400 team of Green, Mosavel-Lo, Eldon Philips and Patterson ran the eighth-fastest time Tech history in the final event of the day to help the Hokies clinch a share of the ACC Indoor Championships.
On the women’s side, Sarah Edwards became the first Hokie to win the mile, as she crossed the finish line with a time of 4:41.56. Rachel Pocratsky also dominated, as she won the 800 for the second straight year and tied the facility record held by Hanna Green (Virginia Tech) with a time of 2:03.43. Shannon Quinn and Catherine Stone also had great performances. Quinn set a personal best and won a bronze medal in the 800 with a time of 2:06.48, while Stone placed sixth in the 800 with her new personal best of 2:08.72.
“Sarah Edwards is the first ACC mile winner in program history, and the way she ran, she stayed composed and showed why she has the kick that she does and why she’s such a savvy racer,” Johannigmeier said. “The women’s 800 was one of the most exciting races I have ever seen. For Rachel to win and tie the facility record that Hanna Green set when she won her ACC title here was really special. For Shannon Quinn to have a huge PR [personal record] and finish on the podium was also incredible. Cate Stone, who tore her labrum last year, had surgery and hadn’t run in a year. For her to place sixth and be second-team All-ACC … those girls just competed and ran a perfect race.”
For the sprints group, Kennedy Dennis had an outstanding day, as she placed fifth in the 60-meter dash with her time 7.33 and fifth in the 200 with a personal-best 23.71. Arlicia Bush set a new personal best with her time of 53.92 in the 400 to earn a fifth-place finish.
“Kennedy had an outstanding meet compared to last year,” Vaught said. “For her to qualify for the finals in the 60 with her personal-best time of 7.29, and then for her to run a personal best in the 200 finals … she’s just putting it together. She’s a gamer, and I would go to battle with her any day.
“For Arlicia to run 53.92 indoors, that was just icing in the cake.”
Eszter Bajnok placed third in the triple jump with her mark of 12.95 meters (42 feet, 6).
“Eszter set down the gauntlet on her first jump today in the triple and set the tone for the competition,” Zalewski said. “Getting a bronze medal at this meet is no small feat. I know this will make her hungrier for outdoors.”
The women’s 4×400 team of Nykah Smith, Dennis, Imagine Patterson and Bush ran 3:38.12 in the event to finish second overall.
Select members of both teams now gear up for the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships, which will be held March 8-9 in Birmingham, Alabama.