Hokies ready for Vanderbilt, Liberty Invitational

BLACKSBURG – The Virginia Tech track and field teams will divide and conquer on Friday and Saturday, as the Hokie distance runners and sprinters travel to the Music City Challenge and the jumpers head to the Liberty Elite Invitational.

Vanderbilt Meet Information | Liberty Meet Information

Overall, 23 schools are scheduled to compete at the Music City Challenge in Nashville, Tennessee, with Virginia Tech, Georgia Tech and Louisville representing the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC).

Georgia also will be in attendance, with both the women’s (No. 3) and men’s (No. 7) squad ranked inside the top 10 nationally, according to the United States Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) poll. Other top-25 men’s programs participating this weekend are No. 18 Virginia Tech, No. 19 UTEP and No. 23 Southern Illinois. The Ole Miss women check in at No. 11.

Competition is set to begin at 5 p.m. ET on Friday, followed by an 11 a.m. start time on Saturday. The Hokies will compete in the men’s and women’s 200-, 400-, 800-, 3,000-, 5,000-meter races along with the mile, 4x4 and distance medley relays. The men also will compete in the 60-meter dash, while the women will participate in the 60-meter hurdles.

Ten Hokie men hold a spot on the ACC’s top-10 performance list in five different categories, while five women own a top-10 mark in five different events. Courtney Blanden highlighted last weekend’s event with a new personal-best time of 23.82 seconds in the 200, the third-fastest time in Tech history and landing in fifth on the league’s top-10 performance list.

Additionally, a quartet of student-athletes – Eszter Bajnok, Will Kendall, Mackenzie Muldoon and Matthew Baker – will participate at the Liberty Elite Invitational held inside the Liberty Indoor Track Complex in Lynchburg, Virginia.

Eleven colleges and universities have entered at least one athlete in the two-day event, including host Liberty, Charleston Southern, Charlotte, Duke, East Carolina, Elon, James Madison, North Carolina A&T, Virginia, Virginia Tech and Wake Forest.

Bajnok, the 2016 Hungarian Junior Female Athlete of the Year, will lead the Hokies in the triple jump event this weekend, as she currently owns the sixth-best mark in the conference at 12.52 meters (41 ft., 1 in.), which she set at the Virginia Tech Invitational on Jan. 13.

Muldoon also will race in the 60-meter dash and 60-meter hurdles for the Hokies, while Kendall and Baker will compete in the high jump and 400, respectively. Kendall holds the ninth-best mark in the league, jumping a personal-best height of 2.06 meters (6 ft., 9 in.) at the Hokie Invitational on Jan. 19.

Of note, the Hokies recorded six first-place finishes last weekend at the Doc Hale VT Elite Meet. The winners included Torben Laidig (pole vault), Aaron Simpson (60 hurdles) and Diego Zarate (mile) on the men’s side and Arlicia Bush (400), Shannon Quinn (800) and Tessa Riley (mile) on the women’s side. Kayla Richardson and Brent Musselman also claimed top marks at the Camel City Invitational in the 3,000-meter race.

Looking ahead, the Hokies will close their regular season at home with the Virginia Tech Challenge held Feb. 17-18, their fourth and final home meet of the season before the ACC Indoor Championships.

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