Hokies run away with 10 top-five finishes

  • Virginia Tech "Doc Hale" Elite Meet
Doc Hale Elite Meet
Day One Results

BLACKSBURG – Highlighted by senior Aaron Simpson and freshman Arlicia Bush’s first-place efforts, the Virginia Tech track and field teams ran away with 10 top-five finishes on day No. 1 of the Virginia Tech “Doc Hale” Elite Meet held Friday at Rector Field House.

On the women’s side, Bush competed in the 400-meter dash for just the second time in her young career, earning a first-place finish with a personal-best time of 55.23 seconds. The No. 17 men’s team followed with Simpson’s gold medal in the 60-meter hurdle event. Simpson tallied a season-best mark, but was just shy of a personal record, finishing in 8.20 seconds. Simpson owns a career best of 8.18 seconds, which he set at the 2016 Bob Pollock Invitational.

“This meet was the turning point,” sprints, hurdles and relays coach Tim Vaught said. “They continue to get better and better. They are working in the right direction toward the ACC Championships, but a lot of them really started to turn the page today. There were a lot of PR’s [personal records] today. We have three weeks until ACCs, and we are right where we need to be in order to make an impact, and that is the goal.”

The meet started with the men’s and women’s long jump, and freshman Eszter Bajnok led the way with a mark of 5.75 meters (18 feet, 10.5 inches) to place second. On the men’s side, junior Mackenzie Muldoon continues to improve his technique, as he set a career best with a jump of 6.71 meters (22 feet, 0.25 inches) to place ninth overall. Muldoon’s previous top jump of 6.49 meters (21 feet, 3.5 inches) came at the Virginia Tech Invitational last season.

“We didn’t go into this looking for him [Muldoon] to place in any particular spot,” men’s and women’s jumps coach Paul Zalewski said. “We are looking to get a PR. We are looking to improve and gain a little bit more experience in competition.

“He looks great in training, and he showed some of that today. We still have a few things to clean up in competition, but I was very happy with the way he jumped today. He made the final, and he jumped a season best. We are well on our way.”

In the women’s 60-meter hurdles finals, junior Shanel Burr and redshirt junior Jada Gundran placed third and fourth, respectively. Burr finished the race with a season-best time of 8.47 seconds, narrowly missing a PR by a tenth of second. The Kennesaw, Georgia, native has a career-best time of 8.46 seconds.

Redshirt junior Daniel Rau and junior Andrew Eason represented the distance runners in Blacksburg, competing in the men’s 3,000-meter race this evening. Rau recorded a career-best time of 8:27.18 for third place, followed by Eason in eighth with a time of 8:41.53 – just shy of a PR.

The 400-meter dash wrapped up the night, as Bush and junior Ama-Selina Tchume went 1-2 on the women’s side. Tchume recorded a personal-best time of 55.87 seconds, breaking her previous best of 56.65 at the Hokie Invitational just two weeks ago. Gundran recorded a new personal record of 56.94 in the same event. Senior Alexander Merritt and freshman Brandon Thomas also earned lifetime bests on the men’s side. Thomas ran unattached, finishing in 48.30 seconds for third place overall, while Merritt placed ninth with a time of 49.42 seconds.

Additionally, a contingent of distance runners competed in the 3,000-meter race at the Camel City Invitational in Winston-Salem, North Carolina on Friday evening, and the group recorded first-place finishes on both the men’s and women’s side.

Freshman Kayla Richardson paced the women’s start list, winning her first collegiate race and recording a personal-best time of 9:42.74. Junior Brent Musselman followed suit, earning a first-place finish on the men’s side with a career-best time of 8:15.16.

Of note, redshirt freshman Jack Joyce, freshman Sara Freix and sophomore Jennifer Fleming registered career bests at the Camel City Invite.

The Virginia Tech “Doc Hale” Elite Meet concludes Saturday, with field events starting at 11 a.m., followed by running events at 1 p.m. Admission is free for all fans and parking is available in the lots surrounding Rector Field House.

Also of note, the distance runners will complete the two-day invitational in Winston-Salem with the 800 and mile events on Saturday. Fans can follow @VT_Track on Twitter for updates and additional information.

PERSONAL BESTS

Long jump

MacKenzie Muldoon (6.71 meters)

3,000 meters

Daniel Rau (8:27.18)

Brent Musselman (8:15.16)

Jack Joyce (8:18.56)

Kayla Richardson (9:42.74)

Sara Freix (10:02.53)

Jennifer Fleming (10:03.50)

400

Arlicia Bush (55.23)

Jada Gundran (56.94)

Ama-Selina Tchume (55.87)

Alexander Merritt (49.42)

Brandon Thomas (48.30 – unattached)

For updates on Virginia Tech track & field, follow the Hokies on Twitter

HokieSports Shop