Hokies look to build momentum heading into May

BLACKSBURG – After yet another record-setting weekend, the Virginia Tech track and field teams prep for a busy two days of competition at a trio of meets, as the team looks to build momentum heading into the conference meet in May.

A group of the Hokies’ sprinters and distance runners will compete at one of the most elite meets in the country on Friday and Saturday – the 123rd Annual Penn Relays held at Franklin Field in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Additionally, Tech’s pole vaulters will travel to Austin, Texas, for the Longhorn Invitational, while a contingent of throwers, jumpers, sprinters and distance runners set to compete at the Virginia Grand Prix in Charlottesville, Virginia.

A total of five new program records have already been set for the Hokies, including three from last weekend, in what has been a record-setting outdoor season thus far for the Maroon and Orange.

On the women’s side, junior sprinter Courtney Blanden enjoyed the best weekend of her career last weekend, as she broke the school record while winning the 200-meter dash at the War Eagle Invitational. Her 200-meter time of 23.01 seconds ranks as the third-fastest time in the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC). Blanden also recorded a career best in the 400 meters, winning in a time of 53.48 seconds – the 10th-fastest time in the event in the ACC.

Senior Drew Piazza and junior Greg Chiles highlighted the men’s side last weekend, as they both notched a school record in their respective events.

Piazza, the reigning ACC Men’s Track Performer of the Week, headlined the Hokies’ distance efforts at the Virginia Challenge. Piazza earned a third-place finish in the 800-meter run, crossing the finish line in a school-record time of 1 minute, 46.02 seconds. He currently boasts the fastest time in the conference as well as the fifth-best time in the nation.

Chiles also recorded a school-record performance in the 400-meter hurdles at the War Eagle Invitational, eclipsing a lifetime-best time of 50.83 seconds for the win. His 400-meter hurdles time ranks as the fourth-fastest time in the league as well as the 15th-best time nation.

Additionally, junior Torben Laidig reset the program record in the pole vault with a top mark of 5.70 meters (18 ft., 8.25 in.) at the Texas Relays earlier this year. Laidig owns the top mark in the league and is tied for the second-best jump in the nation. Of note, the 5.70-meter clearance also broke the previous ACC all-time record in the outdoor event.

The women’s 4x800-meter squad of seniors Hanna Green and Shannon Morton and freshmen Sarah Edwards and Catherine Stone also set a new school record in the event with a time of 8 minutes, 47.24 seconds at the Tennessee Relays earlier this year. Of note, the 4x800-meter race is not an ACC Championship affiliate event.

Looking ahead, the Hokies will wrap up their regular season on Wednesday at the Liberty Twilight meet before hosting the Hokie Twilight on Thursday.

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