Laidig wins gold at Texas Relays, breaks school record with nation-best mark

Junior Torben Laidig of the No. 21 Virginia Tech men’s track and field team won a gold medal in the pole vault, clearing the 5.70-meter height (18 ft., 8.5 in.) for a new program record Saturday at the 90th Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays, presented by Spectrum, held at the University of Texas’ Mike A. Myers Stadium in Austin, Texas.

Laidig made his outdoor debut in front of 21,120 fans at the prestigious four-day meet and recorded a nation-best mark, resetting the school record set by teammate Deakin Volz at the U-20 World Championships held in Poland last summer (5.65 meters – 18 ft., 6.5 in.). With today’s mark, the reigning Atlantic Coast Conference indoor champion currently holds an ACC all-time record in the outdoor event.

The Schwabish Hall, Germany, native started the day off strong, clearing the first two bars on his first attempt. Laidig moved on to the 5.50-meter mark, jumping the height on his final try. He then bounced back at 5.60 meters, again clearing the bar on his first attempt, leading him to his final jump at 5.70 meters to set a new program record. He attempted the 5.80-meter mark (19 ft., .5 in.), but failed to make the clearance on all three attempts.

“Everything went pretty smoothly today,” Laidig said. “When you have tough competitors who are trying to jump high, you obviously want to jump higher, so it motivates you. It definitely was an exciting way to start off the season, and it was nice to break the school record and take it back from Deakin (Volz). Overall, we have a great thing going as a group. It is nice to have someone like Deakin (Volz) that can push you every day. I am thankful to have him and all my teammates motivating me throughout the season.”

Additionally, the women’s 4x100-meter relay team placed seventh overall in the final event, crossing the finish line with a season-best time of 44.92 seconds. Of note, the Hokie quartet of juniors Ama-Selina Tchume, Courtney Blanden and Nora McKiver and freshman Arlicia Bush nearly broke the school record set in 2007, missing the mark by .59 seconds. The men’s and women’s 4x400-meter relay team also placed sixth (3:12.41) and seventh (3:38.36), respectively, in Saturday’s finals.

Lastly, junior Hannah Meador made her outdoor debut in the women’s pole vault event at the VertKlasse Meeting Saturday hosted by High Point University in High Point, North Carolina. She cleared the 3.40-meter bar (12 ft., 1.5 in.), tying for 16th place overall.

Looking ahead, the Hokies will divide and conquer once again, competing at both the Tennessee Relays and the Spec Town Relays on April 7-8.

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


Pole vault

Torben Laidig (5.70 meters)

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