Hokies set for three different meets over the weekend

BLACKSBURG – Following a week off from competition, the nationally-ranked Virginia Tech track and field teams will continue its outdoor season at three different meets over the weekend.

The distance runners and throwers will begin competition for the Hokies at the Virginia Challenge held at the University of Virginia’s Lannigan Field in Charlottesville, Virginia. The meet will begin at 11 a.m. on Friday, followed by a 9 a.m. start time on Saturday. Of note, Friday night’s competition will be broadcast on the ACC Network Extra via WatchESPN and the ESPN app starting at 7 p.m.

In a competitive field, Virginia will play host to over 50 schools and 1,100 student-athletes throughout the two-day event. The men’s competition features four squads ranked inside this week’s U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) Outdoor National Team Rankings. No. 1 Florida headlines the field, followed by No. 5 Georgia, No. 9 Virginia and No. 15 Tennessee. The Hokie men come in at No. 23. The women’s side is highlighted by Florida and Georgia, ranked No. 6 and No. 7, respectively, while the Hokie women check in at No. 17.

NCAA First-Team Indoor All-Americans Hanna Green and Drew Piazza will lead the Hokie distance runners this weekend, as they both participate in the 800-meter run for the first time this season. Freshman Emma Thor also will lead the Hokies in the women’s hammer throw event, boasting a team best 64.69-meter throw (212 ft., 3 in). Her mark currently ranks second in the conference and is currently listed as the second-best throw in school history.

Additionally, the sprinters and jumpers will compete at the War Eagle Classic held at Auburn’s Hutsell-Rosen Track in Auburn, Alabama. The meet will begin at 2 p.m. on Friday, but the Hokies will not compete until the running events commence on Saturday at 12 p.m.

Freshman Michael Davenport, the reigning Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) Men’s Indoor Track Freshmen of the Year, owns the fastest 200-meter time (20.96) in the league as well as the third-fastest time in the 100 meters (10.51). Junior Greg Chiles owns the fifth-best time in the conference in the 400-meter hurdles, clocking a lifetime-best mark of 51.31 seconds at the Weems Baskin Invitational.

On the women’s side, junior Courtney Blanden boasts the fourth best 200-meter time (23.33) in the ACC as well as the 10th-fastest time in the 400 meters (53.96). Freshman Arlicia Bush also sits in a two-way tie for the third-fastest 400-meter mark, clocking a career-best time of 53.29 seconds at the Weems Baskin Invitational.

Lastly, Tech’s pole vaulters set to compete at the Duke Invitational held at Duke University’s Morris Williams Stadium in Durham, North Carolina.

Seniors Jeffrey Linta and Brad Johnson and sophomore Deakin Volz will compete in event on Saturday at 3:30 p.m., while seniors Erica Hjerpe and juniors Hannah Meador and Olivia Privitera are slated to vault at 5:30 p.m. Of note, Saturday’s competition will be broadcast on the ACC Network Extra via WatchESPN and the ESPN app.

Looking ahead, the Hokies will divide and conquer yet again, continuing their outdoor season at the Penn Relays, the Radford Invitational and the Virginia Grand Prix held on April 27-29.

Fans can follow all the action during each meet 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