Tech opens 2017 outdoor season in South Carolina

BLACKSBURG – The Virginia Tech track and field teams will begin its outdoor season at South Carolina’s Weems Baskin Invitational on Friday and Saturday at the Sheila & Morris Cregger Track in Columbia, South Carolina. The Hokies will send the sprinters, jumpers and throwers to compete in the two-day event.

The meet begins at 9 a.m. ET both days, as the 2017 Weems Baskin Invitational is the first meet at the Sheila & Morris Cregger Track, the new home of the Gamecock track program. Cregger Track features nine lanes and a 400-meter Mondo surface, plus competition areas for long jump, triple jump, pole vault, high jump, discus, hammer, shot put and javelin.

Admission is $8 for a weekend pass and $5 for a single day pass. Tickets may be purchased on-site at Cregger Track. There are no advance ticket sales.

The Hokies have a loaded field set to join them this weekend, as student-athletes from 32 different schools and universities set to compete in the event: Appalachian State, Ashland, Alabama State, Allen, Anderson, Benedict, Charleston Southern, Claflin, Coastal Carolina, Coker, College of Charleston, Columbia College, Columbia International, Coppin State, East Tennessee State, Illinois, Marian, Monroe, Morgan State, Morris, North Greenville, Paine, St. Andrew’s, St. Augustine’s, Savannah State, South Carolina, Tennessee Tech, The Citadel, UNC Asheville, UNC Greensboro and VMI.

Most recently, the women’s program checked into the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) preseason rankings at No. 20, followed by the men at No. 21. Of note, the Hokie women entered the rankings for the first time since 2015, while the men’s squad looks to defend its Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) outdoor title this upcoming season.

First-team All-ACC honorees Eva Vivod and Pavla Kuklova will compete for the first time this year and will lead the group of five throwers throughout the two-day event. Freshmen throwers Emma Thor and Kajsa Wennberg make their Hokie debut this weekend, while junior Collin McKenny will be the lone competitor on the men’s side.

Additionally, juniors Greg Chiles and Courtney Blanden will lead the group of sprinters, as they are both coming off successful indoor campaigns. Chiles reset the program record in the 400 three times during the indoor season and was named a first-team All-American as a member of the second-place distance medley relay team at the NCAA indoor Championships. Blanden also earned first-team all-conference honors in the 200-meter dash and broke a nine-year-old school record in the event.

Of note, senior Nora McKiver and junior Darius Watkins return to the Hokie lineup after taking a redshirt during the 2017 indoor season. Freshman Michael Davenport, the reigning ACC Men’s Indoor Track and Field Freshman of the Year, also will participate in this weekend’s events.

Lastly, juniors Will Kendall and Mackenzie Muldoon and sophomore James Carver will represent the Tech jumpers on the men’s side for both Friday and Saturday.

Looking ahead, Tech will go its separate ways and compete at four different meets next weekend, as the Hokies set to compete at the Texas Relays, the Florida Relays, the High Point Meeting and the Wofford Relays from March 30 – April 1.

Fans can follow all the action during each match of the 2017 outdoor season by following the squad on Twitter and Instagram.

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

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