May 16, 2015
Curtin claims fourth career ACC title to propel Hokies on final day of 2015 ACC Outdoor Championships
Johnson and Joseph also claim gold medals as Tech men take third

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - The Virginia Tech men’s track & field team finished in third place overall after championship title winning performances from Brad Johnson, Patrick Joseph and Thomas Curtin, who claimed his fourth career ACC title, on the final day of the 2015 ACC Outdoor Track & Field Championship hosted by Florida State University.

The men’s third-place finish was behind a 98-point performance. The Hokie men trailed Virginia who took second by only two points while the Florida State men took the title with 136 total points. The women’s team took 11th at the meet posting a total of 32 points.

Brad Johnson won the men’s pole vault, ousting the competition on his way to a gold medal. Johnson’s jump of 16’11.5” (5.17m) outlasted Duke’s Connor Hall who took second and the Hokies’ Jared Allison, who finished in third with a mark of 16’7.5” (5.07m). Just behind Allison in fourth place was Tech’s Jeffrey Linta who hit a height of 16’3.5” (4.97m). Four Hokie pole vaulters competed and three scored earning Tech 21 points, the largest point total for the Hokies in any one event at the meet.

Patrick Joseph tied the school record in the 800m race with an impressive time of 1:48.44. With 400 meters left in the race, Joseph found himself towards the back of the pack, but the powerful kick that Joseph is known for proved to be the difference as the young Hokie surged past two Florida State runners to take the title and walk away with the gold.

The men’s 5000-meter race proved to be an epic one as the field pit the Hokies’ Thomas Curtin against Syracuse’s Martin Hehir once again. During the ACC indoor championships, Curtin outlasted Hehir in the 3000 and walked away with the title but it came down to the last 100 meters. This raced proved to be much of the same. As Curtin rounded the final curve, the seasoned Hokie runner was stride for stride with Hehir. As, the curve ended and the final straightaway presented itself, Curtin took advantage and used tremendous speed to take the championship title with a time of 13:59.33.

Although Johnson, Joseph and Curtin were the only Hokie gold medalists, several other athletes walked away with either the silver or the bronze.

Amanda Smith powered to a solid finish in the women’s 1500-meter race posting an impressive time of 4:16.48, just missing out on the title to Florida State’s Colleen Quigley.

The women’s 800-meter race proved to be a fantastic battle between two of the nation’s top 800 runners in Tech’s Hanna Green and Clemson’s Natoya Goule. Goule surged to the front from the beginning of the race but Green made up time as the race went on. With just 100 meters to go Green’s long stride nearly caught up with Goule but in the end, Goule came up with the win by just four-tenths of a second. Green posted a time of 2:01.72, a new school record and the third-fastest time in the nation.

Neil Gourley took second in the men’s 1500 race that came down to a photo finish. Gourley used incredible closing speed at the end of the race to chase down Syracuse’s Justyn Knight. Gourley leaned at the finish line but it was Cuse’s Knight who would walk away with the win by only six-hundredths of a second. Gourley finished with a time of 3:47.91.

Jaka Muhar took second in the men’s javelin throw. It came down to the very last throw as Muhar went into the last round with the lead. Muhar’s mark of 228’9” (69.72m) would not hold up as Duke’s Thomas Lang used a powerful heave to take the gold and leave Muhar with silver.

Marek Barta used a personal best and set a new school record with an impressive mark of 197’4” (60.15m), the ninth furthest throw in the nation, earning him the bronze medal in the event. Muhar bested his previous school record by four feet.

Several other Tech athletes earned points for the Hokies in their respective events. The men’s 4x100-meter relay team of Darius Watkins, Alex Ellison, Demitri Knowles and Chet Hebden took sixth overall with a time of 41.29 seconds.

Watkins (10.58 seconds) and Ellison (10.59 seconds) took fifth and sixth places, respectively, in the men’s 100-meter dash. Watkins added points again in the 200-meter dash with a time of 21.40 seconds.

Christine London added two points for the Tech women by finishing in seventh in the 400-meter hurdles with a time of 59.65 seconds.

Paige Kvartunas took eighth in the women’s 5000-meter race with a time of 16:40.94.

The Hokies will be back in action on May 28-30 when the team heads to Jacksonville, Fla. for the NCAA East Regional hosted by the University of North Florida.

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