Distance runners tally four top marks in Friday's events at Tennessee Relays

Highlighted by Hokie distance runners, the nationally-ranked Virginia Tech track and field teams recorded four first-place finishes on the second day of the Tennessee Relays held Friday at the University of Tennessee’s Tom Black Track in Knoxville, Tennessee.

On the No. 18 men’s squad, senior Drew Piazza, junior Vincent Ciattei and freshman Jack Joyce earned first-place finishes in the 1,500-, 800- and 5,000-meter runs, respectively. The No. 15 women followed suit with senior Hanna Green also placing first in the 1,500-meter race. Of note, the Hokies completed the second day of competition with 15 top-five finishes.

The Hokies went 1-2 in the men’s 1,500-meter run. Piazza finished in first with a lifetime-best time of 3:43.82. The Danvers, Massachusetts, native shaved 11.87 seconds off his previous time of 3:55.69 set at the UNH Wildcat Invitational in 2014. Senior Neil Gourley was not far behind him, as he came in second with a time of 3:44.14 – just .32 seconds shy of first place.

Hanna Green also earned a first-place finish in the women’s 1,500 meters, recording a personal-best time of 4:18.26. The Latrobe, Pennsylvania, native cut off over 4 seconds from her previous time of 4:23.20 set at the Tennessee Relays just two seasons ago.

Additionally, Ciattei made his outdoor debut in the 800 meters, completing the race in 1 minute, 49.62 seconds for the win. Joyce also competed in the 5,000-meter race for the first time in his career and rounded out the Hokies’ first-place finishers Friday evening, crossing the line in 14 minutes, 22.69 seconds – a personal-best mark.

In other news, junior Nora McKiver went under one minute in the women’s 400-meter hurdles, recording a personal-best time of 59.10 seconds for second place. Christine London of Ohio State placed first with a time of 59.00 seconds. Junior Jada Gundran also earned a top-five finish in the event, finishing in 1:00.80.

In the women’s 400-meter dash, freshman Arlicia Bush and junior Courtney Blanden finished in second and third, respectively. Bush crossed the line in 53.86 seconds, while Blanden recorded a time of 54.39 seconds. Ohio State’s Karrington Winters won the event in 53.84 seconds.

In the men’s 200-meter dash, freshman Michael Davenport continues to make his mark, placing second with a time of 21.17 seconds. Of note, Davenport was the first collegiate runner to finish the race, as unattached runner Solomon Afful won the event with a time of 20.91 seconds. Junior Greg Chiles also came in fourth with a personal-best time of 21.26 seconds.

Saturday’s field competition is slated to begin at 10 a.m., with the relay teams wrapping up the three-day invitational in the afternoon session. Of note, the SEC Network will broadcast live coverage of Saturday’s competition from 12 p.m. – 4 p.m. ET through WatchESPN and the ESPN app. Click HERE for more information on the Tennessee Relays.

Additionally, the Hokie hammer throwers closed out the 2017 Spec Town Invitational with two top-five finishes at the University of Georgia’s Spec Towns Track in Athens, Georgia.

Freshmen Emma Thor and Kajsa Wennberg placed third and fifth, respectively. Thor threw a 60.59-meter distance (198 ft., 9 in.), while Wennberg recorded a 52.63-meter throw (172 ft., 8 in.).

Looking ahead, the Hokies will take a week off before competing at three different meets the weekend of April 21-22.

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


Pole Vault

Mackenzie Muldoon (4.00 meters)

1,500 meters

Drew Piazza (3:43.82)

Mackenzie Muldoon (4:49.09)

Hanna Green (4:18.26)

Laurie Barton (4:28.99)

400 hurdles

Nora McKiver (59.10)

Amanda Thomas (1:03.90)

400 meters

Brandon Thomas (48.06)

Matthew Baker (48.95)

800 meters

Catherine Stone (2:13.78)

Owen Buck (1:54.63)

200 meters

Arlicia Bush (24.56)

Greg Chiles (21.26)

Brandon Thomas (22.05)

Jack Strollo (22.30)

5,000 meters

Kayla Richardson (16:50.00)

Jennifer Fleming (16:53.55)

Sara Freix (16:58.55)

Amanda Swaak (17:06.38)

Brent Musselman (14:32.36)

Jack Joyce (14:22.69)

Ashkan Mohammadi (14:30.29)

Fitsum Seyoum (14:51.33)

Daniel Rau (14:32.39)

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

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