Six first-place finishes highlight Nittany Lion Challenge

  • Nittany Lion Challenge

Final Results

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – Numerous newcomers set the bar high, while the returners were business as usual in the first outing of the indoor season for Virginia Tech track and field at the Nittany Lion Challenge on the campus of Penn State inside Horace Ashenfelter III Indoor Track on Saturday.

Five newcomers cracked the top-ten indoor performance list in the record book, including Stefanie Aeschlimann, Rachel Baxter, Lisa Gunnarsson, Keishaun Limehouse and Caitlan Tate.

The 4x400-meter relay squad of Courtney Blanden, Tate, Nora McKiver and Arlicia Bush, and five Hokies took first place in their respected events in Aecshlimann (triple jump), Courtney Blanden (300 meters), Gunnarsson (pole vault) Limehouse (60-meter hurdles) and Deakin Volz (pole vault).

“Overall this was a good first meet for us,” director of track and field and cross country Dave Cianelli said. "The vaulters jumped well, and the sprint crew was solid. We have a lot of work to do to be prepared for the ACC meet in six weeks.”

The pole vaulters were the first group to begin on the day and certainly set the tone for the meet. Gunnarsson turned in a mark of 4.42 meters (14 feet, 6 inches) to take first place, marking the second-best vault in indoor history. Fellow freshman Baxter took second with a mark of 4.27 meters (14 feet), which is the fifth-best mark in program history. Redshirt senior Olivia Privitera recorded a fifth-place finish, getting over the bar of 3.82 meters (12 feet, 6.25 inches).

On the men’s side, Volz, who won at the event last year, got back to his ways at Penn State and registered a first-place mark of 5.47 meters (17 feet, 11.25 inches). Freshman Joel Leon Benitez put on quite the show for the first time in the maroon and orange, placing second on a vault of 5.37 meters (17 feet, 7.25 inches). Redshirt freshman Jaelyn Demory placed fifth after a mark of 4.52 meters (14 feet, 10 inches).

The sprints and hurdles group had a 2-3-4 finish in the women’s 60-meter dash, as Tate (7.48 seconds) took second, the seventh-fastest time in school history, Blanden (7.52) placed third and freshman Kennedy Dennis (7.57) finished fourth.

Limehouse led the charge on the men’s side, earning first in the 60-meter hurdles with a time of 7.91 seconds – the third-fastest time in school history. Freshman Alex Davenport had a nice showing in his first collegiate meet, posting a top-ten finish in the 60-meter hurdles. Michael Davenport clocked a time of 6.93 in the 60 meters for seventh place.

In the 300 meters, both the men and women placed five Hokies in the top 10, impressively. Michael Davenport (34.23) placed second, Brandon Thomas (34.51) took fifth, Limehouse (34.63) finished sixth, Jared Bane (34.89) placed eighth and Matthew Manilli (35.14) rounded out the quintet at 10th.

The women had Blanden (38.58) set a personal record, taking first, Tate (38.62) placed second, Nora McKiver (39.17) set a PR as well to finish fourth, Arlicia Bush (39.39) took sixth, Kennedy Dennis (39.84) placed seventh and Ama-Selina Tchume (39.91) finished eighth.

"We had a very good opener today for both men's and women's teams," sprints coach Tim Vaught said. "It’s good to get the first meet under our belt, now we know where we stand. The women’s team had nine personal best marks today and the men’s had six personal best.”

The jumpers had a strong showing as well, as Aeschlimann in her first-ever meet for Tech won, the fourth-longest mark in school history. Sophomore Will Kendall began the season with a jump of 2.01 meters (6 feet, 7 inches) in the high jump, placing seventh.

Tchume competed in the long jumper for the first time in her career and finished eighth, respectively. Sophomore James Holt tallied a mark of 6.75 meters (22 feet, 1.75 inches), finishing eighth.

The 600 meters saw senior Greg Chiles place fifth with a time of 1 minute, 20.80 seconds and Amanda Thomas run the ninth-fastest time in school history, posting a sixth-place finish (1:33.78).

To close the Nittany Lion Invitational, the 4x400-meter Tech A-team crossed the finish line in 3 minutes, 15.22 seconds, placing fifth.


Pole Vault
Jaelyn Demory 4.52m (14’10”)

Long Jump
James Holt 6.65m (21’10”)

60 meters
Courtney Blanden 7.52
Caitlan Tate 7.48
Kennedy Dennis 7.57

60-meter hurdles
Keishaun Limehouse 7.91

300 meters
Courtney Blanden 38.58
Caitlan Tate 38.62
Nora McKiver 38.62
Arlicia Bush 39.39
Kennedy Dennis 39.84
Ama-Selina Tchume 39.91
Keishaun Limehouse 34.63
Jared Bane 34.89

400 meters
Jack Strollo 49.56
Nathan Hogye 49.98

600 meters
Greg Chiles 1:20.80
Amanda Thomas 1:33.78

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