Sediva wins second NCAA championship in javelin

  • NCAA Outdoor Championships
NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships
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EUGENE, Ore. – Virginia Tech thrower Irena Sediva captured her second national championship, winning the javelin throw Thursday evening at the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships being held at Hayward Field.

Mostly behind her, the Virginia Tech women's team stood in sixth place in the team competition with 11 points.

Sediva, who won her first national title in 2015, stayed in second place for much of the event. But on her fifth throw, she launched the implement 58.76 meters (192 feet, 9 inches) to pull ahead of Florida’s Marija Vucenovic, who also made her best throw on her fifth attempt, though it only went 58.58 meters (192 feet, 2 inches). Vucenovic then couldn’t get past Sediva on her final attempt, throwing just 55.80 meters (183 feet, 1 inch).

“I was trying to stay focused and not thinking about being second the whole time, but sometimes, it occurred in mind and made me nervous a little bit,” Sediva said. “But I was able to get one throw out there, and it flew, so I’m pretty happy.”

The event marked the conclusion of Sediva’s collegiate career. It also capped a difficult two years for one of Tech’s most popular track athletes, as she missed last year’s ACC Championships and NCAA Championships with an Achilles injury, and she spent much of this spring dealing with a shoulder injury.

Following the win, she and a couple of teammates grabbed a Virginia Tech flag and took a victory lap around the track.

“It makes me happy, but it makes me happy mostly because of the people behind the scenes,” she said. “That’s definitely the feeling. I was just thinking that this should be the way to say thank you for all the time and money and patience and everything that those people invested in me.

“It means a lot. It’s like redemption for me. Last year, it was painful not being able to be here. I think I couldn’t imagine leaving this school without winning it.”

Despite dealing with shoulder issues this spring, Sediva managed the pain and a limited practice schedule, and she won the Tech track and field program’s 16th individual national championship. She became just the second woman in Tech’s track and field history to win at least two national titles, joining Queen Harrison, who won three during her senior season in 2010.

The national title also marked the 13th for Greg Jack as the throws coach at Tech.

“Absolutely,” Jack said when asked if he had confidence that Sediva could pull ahead late in the competition. “The last time she won the national championship, she won it on her last throw. This is not new territory at all for her. She’s one of the best competitors we’ve ever had in Virginia Tech track and field.”

Sediva’s win capped a huge day for the Tech women’s throwers. In the women’s hammer throw, Emma Thor earned first-team All-America honors after finishing eighth in her first NCAA Championships. Thor, a freshman, led after flight No. 1 with a throw of 64.19 meters (210 feet, 7 inches) and qualified for the finals. That throw turned out to be the best of the six, and she wound up eighth.

Also, Tech’s Pavla Kuklova came in ninth in the same event to earn second-team All-America honors. Kuklova, a sophomore who competed in her first NCAA Championships as well, got into the finals with a throw of 63.36 meters (207 feet, 10 inches) and then bettered that mark in the finals with a throw of 63.45 meters (208 feet, 2 inches) – which happened to be her final throw and a personal record for her.

“I’m really proud of Emma,” Jack said. “She was having some struggles coming into that, and she put that behind her and started off the meet at 64 [meters] and change. That got here into the final. I thought she did a fantastic job.

“Then Pavla, even though she came in ninth, she did set a PR to do that. So I’m really happy for her as well. It was a good day, absolutely.”

In other action, both Hanna Green and Sarah Edwards qualified for the finals in their respective events. A year ago, Green failed to make it to the finals of the 800-meter race, but made sure that didn’t happen this time around, as the senior finished second in her heat and second overall. She ran her semifinal race in a time of 2 minutes, 3.72 seconds. The top two in each of the three events, plus the next two best times advanced to the finals.

In the 3,000-meter steeplechase, Edwards continued her impressive freshman season by qualifying for Saturday’s final in the event. Edwards, the ACC champion, finished sixth in her heat and ninth overall with a time of 9:56.00. The top five from each of the two heats and the next two best times advanced to the final.

Friday’s action starts at 3:30 p.m. ET, but the Hokies don’t hit the track until 8:05 p.m. ET when Marek Barta competes in the discus. Tech’s Neil Gourley and Vince Ciattei compete in the finals of the 1,500 at 8:42 p.m. ET, while Drew Piazza competes in the finals of the 800 at 9:44 p.m. ET. Peter Seufer rounds out the Tech contingent, as he will participate in the finals of the 5,000 at 10:25 p.m. ET.

PERSONAL BESTS

Pavla Kuklova – hammer throw (63.45 meters; or 208 feet, 2 inches)

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