Tech shatters four program records at the Virginia Tech Challenge

  • Virginia Tech Challenge
Virginia Tech Challenge
Final Results

BLACKSBURG – On a day that included 10 first-place finishes, the Virginia Tech track and field teams also notched two facility records, four program records and 29 personal bests on the final day of the Virginia Tech Challenge held Saturday at Rector Field House.

Seniors Drew Piazza and Hanna Green led the way for the Hokies, as they captured gold in the men’s and women’s 600-meter run, respectively. Piazza ran the 600 for the first time in his career, finishing in a minute, 17.26 seconds to break the school record set by Ryan Witt in 2012. The previous mark was listed at 1:19.24, and the Danvers, Massachusetts native broke that time by 1.98 seconds. Green ran the 600 for just the third time in her career, finishing in 1:27.39. The Latrobe, Pennsylvania native shattered her own program record set two seasons ago by 1.39 seconds. Of note, Green is the third-fastest collegiate runner on a 200-meter track and is listed as the top collegiate runner on a 200-meter track this year.

Additionally, the senior duo broke two long-standing facility records in the event. On the men’s side, the previous mark stood at 1:18.06 set by David Verburg in 2012 – a four-time outdoor and seven-time indoor All-American at George Mason. On the women’s side, the previous mark was listed at 1:28.02 set by unattached runner Erica Moore in 2011. Of note, that was the first time this season that any athlete has broken a Rector Field House record. Tennessee’s Christian Coleman tied a facility record in the 60-meter dash earlier this year.

Senior Neil Gourley also highlighted the group in the 1,000-meter run, shattering a school record that had been in place for 30 years. The Glasgow, Scotland native eclipsed a lifetime-best time of 2:20.54, finishing in first place overall. Saturday's mark broke Gary Cobb’s previous time of 2:21.91 set in 1987.

“We ran off events today, meaning they are not ACC or NCAA events, but they are good events to prepare you for the championships,” cross country and distance coach Ben Thomas said. “We looked really good. Running those times, even though they are off events, shows that they are ready to get it done in the main events, too. They are in good shape, and I think we will have good times at Notre Dame.”

Deakin Volz followed suit in the pole vault event, notching a career-best vault of 5.66 meters (18 ft., 7 in.) for Tech’s fourth program record of the day. The Bloomington, Indiana native broke redshirt junior Torben Laidig’s mark of 5.62 meters (18 ft., 5.25 in.) set last season at the Doc Hale VT Elite Meet. Volz, the U-20 world champion, currently owns the top mark in the Atlantic Coast Conference and is listed as the No. 2 vaulter in the nation behind South Dakota’s Chris Nilsen.

“It means a lot to me,” Volz said. “It was the first time I jumped this high since last summer, so it felt really good to get back up there. Things are really starting to roll, and I am just looking forward to next week.”

Six other Hokies ran away with first-place finishes on the day. On the women’s side, Jennifer Fleming placed first in the mile, while freshman Arlicia Bush and senior Tessa Riley were first in the 400-meter dash and the 1,000-meter run, respectively. Sophomore James Carver recorded a first-place finish in the high jump. Additionally, sophomore Peter Seufer and redshirt junior Daniel Rau also placed first in the men’s mile and 3,000-meter run, respectively.

“This meet showed that we are primed and ready to go next week,” said Dave Cianelli, Tech’s director of track and field and cross country. “Overall, the performances today exceeded my expectations – no question. Obviously, the school records were outstanding. I knew all those athletes were capable of those times. They ran times that were the best ever ran on this track, which is pretty phenomenal considering this track goes back 20 years. Overall, I think we are as ready as we could ever be.

“It’s a short turnaround. One group leaves on Monday, and then two groups leave on Tuesday. You want to look back at this meet, but you really can’t because we are getting ready to leave so quickly for ACC’s. We have to prepare mentally for next week, but today’s performances were outstanding. I am very happy. Now, we have to get ready to compete for the conference championships.”

Looking ahead, the Hokies will prep for the 2017 ACC Indoor Championships set for Feb. 23-25 on Notre Dame’s campus in South Bend, Indiana.


Pole Vault

Deakin Volz (5.66 meters)


Jennifer Fleming (4:55.99)

Sara Freix (4:57.37)

Andrew Eason (4:15.49)

Peter Seufer (4:07.11)


Arlicia Bush (54.68)

Ama-Selina Tchume (54.86)

Matthew Baker (49.56)

Jack Strollo (49.60)

Austin Kolko (49.74)


Sarah Edwards (2:52.73)

Tessa Riley (2:49.09)

Katie Kennedy (2:49.38)

Neil Gourley (2:20.54)

Vincent Ciattei (2:21.63)

Daniel Jaskowak (2:22.70)

Diego Zarate (2:23.16)

Ashkan Mohammadi (2:26.80)

Andrew Goldman (2:29.81)

Jack Joyce (2:28.26)

Brent Musselman (2:29.46)


Hanna Green (1:27.39)

Shannon Quinn (1:31.53)

Catherine Stone (1:35.12)

Drew Piazza (1:17.26)

Patrick Joseph (1:18.17)

Owen Buck (1:20.75)


Ella Breidenstine (10:25.00)

Fitsum Seyoum (8:47.59)

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