May 11, 2016
Track & field to compete at 2016 ACC Outdoor Championships
ESPN3 to carry each day of competition
2016 ACC Outdoor Track & Field Championships

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BLACKSBURG, Va. - The Virginia Tech track & field team travels to Tallahassee, Florida to compete at the 2016 ACC Outdoor Track & Championships Friday through Sunday at Florida State’s Mike Long Track.

"Our athletes and staff are excited about competing in the upcoming ACC Championships,” director of track & field and cross country Dave Cianelli said. “This is the team’s focal point for the outdoor season and both the men and the women are healthy going into this meet.”

The ACC and ESPN3 will provide three hours of live competition on each day of the championships. Coverage will begin Friday through Sunday at 6 p.m. until 9 p.m. Admission is free to the 2016 ACC Indoor Track & Field Championships.

The 10th-ranked men’s team have six ranked in the top 10 in the nation in their respective events: pole vault (fourth and ninth), hammer throw (eighth), 5,000 meters (fourth) and discus (fifth). On the women’s side, the team received its highest ranking of the season at 17th on April 11.

“Our men's team will be in the thick of the team championship race which always adds to the excitement of the competition,” Cianelli said. “I expect our women's team to finish in the top third of the conference as we continue to build that side of the program.”

Tech’s men’s team set three new program records this season: pole vault (Torben Laidig), 5,000 meters (Thomas Curtin), and discus (Marek Barta). The Hokies return five individual outdoor champions from 2015: Patrick Joseph (800 meters), Curtin (5,000 meters), Brad Johnson (pole vault), Thomas Kruzliak (hammer throw), and reigning national champion Irena Sediva (javelin).

The Hokies will compete against 14 women’s teams and 13 men’s teams. Individual first through third place finishes will earn first team All-ACC honors while fourth through sixth will earn second team honors. In the relay events, first place will be first team All-ACC with second and third earning second team honors.

The field events begin at 9:30 a.m. on Friday, 10 a.m. Saturday, and 11 a.m. Sunday. Track events start at 6 p.m. Friday, 5:45 p.m. Saturday, and 5 p.m. Sunday. The multi-events take place on Friday at 11:30 a.m. and Saturday at 11:15 a.m. The 2016 Outdoor Track & Field Championships will conclude Sunday night with an awards ceremony.

Sprints/Hurdles: Darius Watkins leads the men’s sprinters with a 10.50-finish in the 100-meter dash. At the same meet, Watkins clocked in at 20.96 in the 200 meters, earning him the ACC’s Track Performer of the Week honor for the first time in almost four years for Tech’s sprinters. For the hurdlers, Austin Kolko is the first to break into Tech’s all-time record book with his 52.93-time in the 400-meter hurdles at the War Eagle Invitational.

On the women’s side, Courtney Blanden posted a pair of personal bests in the 200- and 400-meter dashes, ranking top-10 all time. Shanel Burr and Jada Gundran lead the women’s hurdlers with 13.66 and 13.98 respective finishes in the 100-meter hurdles.

Distance: Tech shined at the Payton Jordan Invite in April, collecting three personal bests and a program record in the 5,000 meters. Curtin placed fifth of the collegiate men, setting a new program record of 13:33.88. Vincent Ciattei clinched a first place finish in section four, clocking in at 1:49.87 to rank eighth in program history. Freshman Rachel Pocratsky posted the best 800 meters of the season with her 2:05.30-time, to rank fourth all-time. Reigning ACC champion Hanna Green collected a season best 2:05.84 in the 800 at NC State last week.

Jumps/Multis: Mackenzie Muldoon represents the Hokies in the decathlon, after placing first in his first multis event at the Liberty Invitational in April. Last year’s indoor champion, Manuel Ziegler posted a best 15.31-meter (50-2.75) triple jump at the Virginia Challenge. David Prince set a personal record this season in the long jump of 7.14 meters (23-5.25), ranking 10th in program history.

Pole vault: Laidig reset the Virginia Tech pole vault record twice this spring to a 5.60-meter (18-4.5) mark, ranking fourth nationally. Tech’s pole vaulters have three men in the top 15 and four in the top 25 in the nation. Chris Uhle and Deakin Volz rank eighth and 12th in the nation, respectively, while reigning ACC champion Johnson ranks 23rd. Erica Hjerpe leads the group of Tech’s women’s pole vaulters with her 4.23-meter (13-10.5) clearance, ranking 22nd nationally.

Throws: Reigning national champion, Irena Sediva ranks third nationally with her 57.83-meter (189-9) javelin throw. Eva Vivod ranks ninth in the same event with a 55.24-meter (181-3) mark. As a freshman, Pavla Kuklova sits 19th in the country with her 61.25-meter (200-11) hammer throw. On the men’s side, Marek Barta set a new program record at the Virginia Challenge with a discus throw of 61.38 meters (201-4), to rank fifth nationally. Reigning ACC champion Kruzliak ranks eighth nationally with his 69.94-meter (229-5) throw at the Virginia Challenge.

Up next: Following the 2016 ACC Outdoor Track & Field Championships, the Hokies will have one week off from competition prior to the NCAA East Regional in Jacksonville, Florida from May 26 through 28.

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