Five earn All-America honors as Tech men wrap up NCAA Championships

  • NCAA Outdoor Championships
NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships

Updated results

Virginia Tech All-Americans

EUGENE, Ore. – Three Virginia Tech men’s track and field athletes scored points Friday on the final day of men’s competition at the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships held at Hayward Field.

Neil Gourley, Drew Piazza and Marek Barta each contributed to the Hokies’ team total, as Tech finished 32nd with nine points. Florida won the national championship with 61.5 points, edging Texas A&M by two points.

In the finals of the men’s 1,500-meter race, Gourley came in fifth in a time of 3 minutes, 44.39 seconds. Gourley, who trailed early in the race and yet rallied on the final lap, earned first-team All-America honors during the outdoor season for the first time in his career.

Also, in that same race, Tech’s Vincent Ciattei finished ninth with a personal-best time of 3:44.83. Ciattei, competing in his first NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships, earned second-team All-America honors. The recognition marked his first as an individual in his career – he earned first-team All-America honors as part of the distance medley relay team that finished second at the NCAA’s indoor meet.

“We had pretty much a perfect season until now,” Tech distance coach Ben Thomas said. “Effort-wise, it was great. We didn’t have the finishes we wanted. Neil had a guy stumble in front of him right as he was making his move, so there is a lot of second-guessing. No one felt like they had a clean run today.”

In the men’s 800, Piazza came in sixth in a time of 1:47.58. Piazza, who held the lead early in the race, got held back when a runner fell in front of him, yet he managed to rally and earn first-team All-America honors. He departs as a two-time All-American in his only season at Tech after transferring from New Hampshire – he earned All-America recognition after finishing second in the 800 at the NCAA’s indoor meet.

“We purposely went to the front to try and avoid trouble,” Thomas said. “A guy ran up on his inside and another guy ran on his outside, and then he had his jersey pulled. He just didn’t get a clean run. It would have been nice to see, but he still got sixth – his second straight All-America performance.”

In the men’s discus, Barta was seventh with a top throw of 58.99 meters (193 feet, 6 inches). Barta – who had two chances to improve on that mark, but faulted on both attempts – earned first-team All-America honors for the second straight season. A year ago, he was third in the event at this same meet.

In the men’s 5,000-meter run, Tech’s Peter Seufer finished ninth with a time of 14:38.44 to earn second-team All-America honors for the first time in his career. Seufer led early in the race before being passed midway through the race as the pace picked up. Still, he came in ahead of 15 other runners.

“Peter ran a great race,” Thomas said. “He did exactly what we planned. Slow or fast, we were going to ride the rail and stalk eighth place, and he came up four-hundredths short. But to be here for the first time … he’s beating a few All-Americans to get ninth. It was a tremendous performance.

“It’s just bittersweet for him and Vince so close. I’m not ashamed at all with how we competed. It would have been nice to have a couple of eighths instead of ninths. That’s how it goes sometimes.”

Saturday’s action starts at 3:30 p.m. ET, but the Hokies don’t hit the track until later when freshman Sarah Edwards and senior Hanna Green compete for national championships. Edwards competes in the final of the 3,000-meter steeplechase at 6:54 p.m. ET, while Green will compete in the final of the 800 at 7:44 p.m. ET.

PERSONAL BESTS

Vincent Ciattei – 800 (3:44.83)

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