Hurdlers led the way at the Virginia Tech Challenge

  • Virginia Tech Challenge
Virginia Tech Challenge
Day One Results

BLACKSBURG – The Virginia Tech track and field teams received strong performances from its sprinters and hurdlers, as the Hokies ran away with a pair of top marks at the Virginia Tech Challenge held Friday evening at Rector Field House.

On the men’s side, senior Aaron Simpson won gold in the 60-meter hurdles, while sophomore Jared Bane placed first in the 200-meter dash. Senior Nora McKiver also captured two first-place finishes in the 60 hurdles and 200, respectively, running as an unattached athlete.

“The confidence that they got from Vanderbilt, especially Shanel [Burr], they are really starting to turn the curve now and get ready for ACC’s,” said sprints, hurdles and relays coach Tim Vaught. “Today was huge for the hurdlers. It was something I have been working on ever since I’ve been here. I want to get the hurdlers on the ACC level. For them to come here and run personal bests and win the whole meet, to me, that is fantastic.”

Simpson placed first in his heat and qualified for the finals with a time of 8.13 seconds. He then went on to clock a lifetime best for the second week in a row, finishing the race in 8.05 seconds to win. The Chesapeake, Virginia, native’s previous top mark of 8.11 came last weekend at the Music City Challenge. His time currently ties for sixth in the Atlantic Coast Conference and is listed as the sixth-fastest time in program history.

“I started taking practices more seriously,” Simpson said. “ACC’s are right around the corner, and I knew I had to listen and execute everything I learned in practiced this week. I did what he [coach Vaught] told me to do. I just put it all together tonight.

“It’s perfect timing heading into the ACC Championships. Last week I PR’d [personal record] with 8.11, and then this week I went 8.05. Next week, I am shooting for a 7.99.”

Bane reset his personal best in the 200 for the third time this season, finishing the sprint in 21.79 seconds for first place overall – tied for 10th on Tech’s all-time list. The Herndon, Virginia, native’s previous top mark of 21.99 also came last weekend at the Music City Challenge. The win marked the first of his career.

On the women’s side, McKiver and junior Shanel Burr went 1-2 in the 60-meter hurdles, respectively. McKiver clocked a career-best time of 8.34 seconds to win, tying for third on Tech’s all-time list. Burr won her heat and advanced to the finals with a lifetime-best time of 8.36 seconds. The Kennesaw, Georgia, native shaved .10 seconds from her previous time set last season at the Virginia Tech Challenge. She went on to earn a second-place finish overall with a final time of 8.40 – a time that ranks sixth on the all-time list. Of note, redshirt junior Jada Gundran qualified for the finals and finished seventh overall in the event.

McKiver also notched a first-place finish in the 200-meter dash with a time of 24.07. Junior Ama-Selina Tchume finished in second with a personal-best time of 24.08 seconds. Her previous time of 24.58 was set last weekend at the Music City Challenge. Gundran also ran the 200 for the first time in her career, coming in fourth place overall. Additionally, freshman Kyra Parker ran the 200 for the second time this season, placing 16th.

“I have been telling everyone that Selina [Ama-Selina Tchume] is the hidden jewel,” Vaught said. “She has all the natural ability to be good. Her mind is the only thing that keeps her from doing that. I put a lot of stress on her this meet. I wanted her to be aggressive, and she did it. She ran across the line, looked at me and was like ‘wow, that’s what it feels like to run fast.’ I knew she had it in her for a while now, and I was just waiting for her to bring it out.”

Of note, freshman James Holt competed as an unattached athlete for the first time this season, jumping a total of 6.67 meters (21 ft., 10.75 in.) in the long jump event.

The Virginia Tech Challenge 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. Fans can follow @VT_Track on Twitter for updates and additional information.

PERSONAL BESTS

Long jump

James Holt (6.67 meters – unattached)

60-meter hurdles

Shanel Burr (8.36 – prelims)

Nora McKiver (8.34 – unattached)

Aaron Simpson (8.05)

200

Ama-Selina Tchume (24.08)

Jada Gundran (25.29)

Kyra Parker (27.10)

Jared Bane (21.79)

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

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