Tech notches its first ever Penn Relays Championship

The 4x800-meter relay of the Virginia Tech men’s track and field team won gold in the College Men’s 4x800 Championship of America Invitational with a school-record time of 7:13.75 to headline the Hokies’ efforts in the final day of the 123rd Annual Penn Relays held Saturday at Franklin Field in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

After 123 years in the making, the Hokie quartet of Drew Piazza, Neil Gourley, Patrick Joseph and Vincent Ciattei led Tech to its first ever Penn Relays Championship in program history.

The four-member crew ran the event together for the first time this season, crossing the line in 7 minutes, 13.75 seconds for the win. Saturday’s mark shattered a six-year-old record set by McLaughlin, Degfae, Hammond and Witt in 2011. The previous program best was listed at 7:21.28, as the Hokie quartet topped that time by 7.53 seconds. Of note, Tech also finished 6.79 seconds ahead of Penn State’s team who placed second with a mark of 7:20.54.

The men’s 4x400-meter relay team of Greg Chiles, Brandon Thomas, Matthew Baker and Michael Davenport also notched a school-record time in the Men’s 4x400 College Final, crossing the finish line in 3 minutes, 8.75 seconds for the win. The previous mark was listed at 3:09.95 set by McCants, Artis-Gray, Hoepker and Ricks in 2012.

The Hokie women – Courtney Blanden, Ama-Selina Tchume, Nora McKiver and Arlicia Bush – ran a season-best time of 3:33.70 in the Women’s 4x400 Championship of America Invitational, placing fourth overall. Of note, the four-member crew was the first Tech relay team to qualify for the championship invitational in school history.

Peter Seufer, Daniel Jaskowak, Ashkan Mohammadi and Diego Zarate also earned a fourth-place finish in the Men’s 4xMile Championship of America Invitational, while Dante Price, Darius Watkins, Davenport and Chiles placed fifth overall in the Men’s 4x100 College Final.

Senior Hanna Green and sophomore Rachel Pocratsky participated in the Olympic Development Women’s Mile. Green tabbed a second-place finish, running the event in 4 minutes, 32.50 seconds. New Hampshire’s Elinor Purrier won the event with a time of 4:32.05. Pocratsky placed 12th, finishing in 4:48.03.

Additionally, a contingent of throwers, jumpers, sprinters and distance runners competed at the Virginia Grand Prix in Charlottesville, Virginia.

While at Lannigan Field, the Hokies racked up 20 top-five finishes with 14 student-athletes recording personal bests on the day.

Most notably, freshman Laurie Barton claimed a first-place finish in the women’s 800-meter run. Barton notched a career-best time of 2:05.77 – good enough for fourth on Tech’s all-time performance list. Junior Abigail Motley also won the women’s 5,000-meter run with a time of 17:11.53.

Lastly, Tech’s pole vaulters traveled to Austin, Texas, for the Longhorn Invitational held at Mike A. Myers Stadium on the university’s campus.

On the women’s side, junior Olivia Privitera recorded a career-best mark of 4.00 meters (13 ft., 1.5 in.) to place second overall in her section of the women’s pole vault event. Though Privitera cleared the 4.00-meter bar on her third and final attempt, Minnesota’s Lexi Kiefer cleared the bar on her first jump to win the competition. Both vaulters attempted the 4.05-meter bar, but failed to register a height on all three attempts.

Sophomore Deakin Volz and senior Brad Johnson also placed fifth and sixth, respectively, in the men’s pole vault competition. Volz cleared the 5.28-meter bar (17 ft., 3.75 in.), while Johnson finished with a height of 5.18 meters (17 ft.).

Looking ahead, the Hokies will wrap up their regular season on Wednesday at the Liberty Twilight meet before hosting the Hokie Twilight on Thursday, May 4.

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


Pole Vault

Olivia Privitera (4.00 meters)

Long Jump

James Holt (6.87 meters)

Eszter Bajnok (5.98 meters)

200 meters

Shanel Burr (24.78)

400 meters

Owen Buck (50.46)

Laurie Barton (56.62)

800 meters

Owen Buck (1:51.76)

Laurie Barton (2:05.77)

Shannon Quinn (2:09.52)

1,500 meters

Andrew Goldman (3:47.33)

Jack Joyce (3:47.79)

Fitsum Seyoum (3:53.90)

Daniel Rau (3:59.18)

Katie Kennedy (4:25.27)

Amanda Swaak (4:47.66)


Hanna Green (4:32.50)

Rachel Pocratsky (4:48.03)

400 hurdles

Jada Gundran (59.67)

3,000 steeplechase

Sarah Edwards (10:38.57)

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