Gunnarsson, Baxter bring home top medals on second day of ACC indoor meet

  • ACC Indoor Championships
ACC Indoor Track and Field Championships

Day 2 Women's Results

Day 2 Men's Results

CLEMSON, S.C. – Virginia Tech’s Lisa Gunnarsson and Rachel Baxter won gold and silver, respectively, in the pole vault Friday to headline the performances of the Hokies’ track and field teams on the second day of the ACC Indoor Track and Field Championships being held at the Clemson Indoor Track and Field Complex on the Tigers’ campus.

Gunnarsson, a freshman, won the event with a top vault of 4.35 meters (14 feet, 3.25 inches), while Baxter, also a freshman, came in second with a personal-best vault of 4.30 meters (14 feet, 1.25 inches). Gunnarsson became the first Tech female to win the pole vault since Martina Schultz swept the indoor and outdoor crowns in 2014.

“I was happy with the way they competed, with the energy that they put into it,” pole vault coach Bob Phillips said. “Rachel, in particular, was rock solid, having her best meet, and Lisa was really good. We’ve got a couple of things to get dialed in with her long run before we get to the national championships, but we’ve had some good practices all around, and I feel that things are coming together.

“They were both the top-ranked vaulters coming in, and so, the expectations for them were to be on the podium. Still, it’s easier to say that than to do it, and they did a great job of making sure that happened.”

Gunnarsson and Baxter paced the women’s team, along with sophomore Eszter Bajnok, who finished fifth in the long jump with a school-record leap of 6.06 meters (19 feet, 10.75 inches). That mark broke the previous school record of 6.02 meters (19 feet, 9 inches) held by April Byrd since 2000.

“Eszter came through with her best performance of the season,” jumps and multi-events coach Paul Zalewski said. “She picked up valuable team points, and to top it off, broke our school record. She did well, and I have a feeling she will do well [Saturday], too.”

Behind those three, the Tech women’s team stood in third place with 32 points. Louisville leads the team race with 58, followed by North Carolina at 43.

“I do,” Tech director of track and field and cross country Dave Cianelli said when asked if he felt good about the women’s team’s position. “Obviously, we’ll have to perform well [Saturday], but I feel like we’re right there. If we can come out and execute and compete well in each of the events that we’re in, I think we’re going to be right there at the end of the meet.”

On the men’s side, four Tech athletes scored points for the men’s team, led by Peter Seufer’s third-place finish in the 5,000-meter run. He finished the race in a time of 13 minutes, 55.40 seconds.

The other three who scored for the men’s team were Mackenzie Muldoon, Jaelyn Demory and Matthew Manilli – all in the heptathlon. Muldoon came in fifth with a personal-best score of 5,246 points and just missed the school record by 37 points. He enjoyed a nice second day, finishing second in both the 60-meter hurdles and the 1,000-meter run, while coming in fourth in the pole vault. Demory (5,049 points) finished seventh and Manilli (4,939) came in eighth.

“I could not be prouder of the way all three guys competed these past two days,” Zalewski said. “They set numerous PRs [personal records] and came through with clutch performances exactly when we needed them to. Mackenzie Muldoon and Matthew Manilli set new personal records, and Jaelyn Demory had a tremendous showing in his first ever combined events competition. Those were seven huge points that those guys produced. So proud of them for the effort.”

The Tech men stood in fifth place with 23 points. The Hokies trail Florida State (43), Louisville (35), NC State (25) and Syracuse (24), but qualified several athletes for the finals Saturday to give themselves a shot at the team title.

“You just never know in these meets,” Cianelli said. “There are so many ups and downs, and you just kind of have to weather some places where you don’t get what you think you’re going to get. You have to make that up somewhere else, and I think that’s where we are. We’re still in it, certainly, but we really have to have a great day to be in position.”

In other action Friday:

Women’s 60

Caitlan Tate qualified for the finals in the 60-meter dash by finishing second in her heat with a personal-best time of 7.38 seconds.

Men’s 60-meter hurdles

Keishaun Limehouse qualified for the finals of the 60-meter hurdles with a time of 7.88 seconds. He came in second in his heat, and his time was the sixth-fastest of the finals qualifiers. It also was the third-fastest time in school history.

Women’s 200

Courtney Blanden qualified for the finals in the 200. She finished second in her heat with a time of 23.74 seconds, which was the seventh-fastest time among the finals qualifiers.

Men’s 200

Greg Chiles qualified for the finals of the 200, winning his heat in a school-record time of 21.04 seconds. Chiles broke the previous mark of 21.08 set by Jonathan McCants in 2013. He was fourth fastest of the finals qualifiers.

Men’s mile

Tech saw three of its men’s runners qualify for Saturday’s finals. Vincent Ciattei won his heat in a time of 4:05.08 – a time that was the fastest of all qualifiers. Daniel Jaskowak came in third in the same heat with a time of 4:05.77, which marked the fourth-fastest time of the qualifiers, and Diego Zarate qualified by virtue of finishing second in his heat. Zarate ran the mile in a time of 4:11.88.

Women’s mile

Katie Kennedy qualified for the finals in the mile run, winning her heat with a time of 4:48.76. Her time also was the best among all the qualifiers for Saturday’s finals.

Women’s 800

Rachel Pocratsky, who entered the ACC Championships with the top time in this event, and Laurie Barton both qualified for the finals by winning their respective heats. Pocratsky won easily won her heat in a time of 2:07.07, while Barton finished second in her heat with a time of 2:07.41.

Men’s 800

In the men’s 800, both Patrick Joseph and Neil Gourley qualified for the finals. Joseph won his heat in a time of 1:49.83, while Gourley finished second in his heat with a time of 1:51.12. Joseph’s time was the second-fastest among the finals qualifiers, while Gourley’s was seventh.

The final day of action at the ACC Championships starts Saturday at 10:30 a.m., with the men’s triple jump. The Hokies start the day at noon with the men’s pole vault.


W 60

Caitlan Tate (7.38)

Kennedy Dennis (7.40)

W 200

Caitlan Tate (23.94)

Kennedy Dennis (23.91)

W Long Jump

Eszter Bajnok (6.06 meters; 19 feet, 10.75 inches)

W Pole Vault

Rachel Baxter (4.30 meters; 14 feet, 3.25 inches)

M 60 Hurdles

Keishaun Limehouse (7.88)

M 200

Greg Chiles (21.04)

Jared Bane (21.37)

Keishaun Limehouse (21.85)

M 400

Jack Strollo

M Heptathlon

Mackenzie Muldoon (5,246 points)

Jaelyn Demory (5,049 points)

Matthew Manilli (4,939 points)

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