No. 12 Hokies earn men's DMR title at NCAA Indoor Championships

  • NCAA Indoor Championships

NCAA Indoor Championships Results

COLLEGE STATION, Texas – Picking up the 17th national title in Virginia Tech’s storied history in track and field, the men’s distance medley relay of Vincent Ciattei, Greg Chiles, Patrick Joseph and Neil Gourley put together a first-place finish with a time of 9 minutes, 30.76 seconds at the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships held inside Gilliam Indoor Stadium on the campus of Texas A&M on Friday night.

The national title in the DMR marked the first championship in distance running for Tech.

“A legendary performance from my senior guys,” distance coach Ben Thomas shared. “They have meant so much to our program. To qualify three guys to the final of the mile at NCAAs and then come back less than three hours later and win a national title – that’s never been done before. Looking forward to their mile final tomorrow!”

Despite three of the Hokies’ runners on the DMR running a mile three hours prior, the redshirt seniors found some energy to turn right back around.

Ciattei began the relay with a 2:57.47 split in the 1,200 meters and handed off to Chiles in the mix at the front. Chiles, the 400-meter dash record holder at Tech, clocked a time of 48.44 in his split, handing off to Joseph in the middle of the pack.

Joseph began the first part of the 800 chipping away at the front, but in the last 100 meters, the Leesburg, Virginia native hit another gear and got out into first place by more than 10 meters in a time of 1:46.23, giving Gourley a lead he would not relinquish heading into the final 1,600 meters.

The Scotland native once again ran a textbook anchor – he ran anchor on the ACC Champion DMR team two weeks ago at Clemson – and posted a 3:58.64 split to garner gold.

On the women’s side in the DMR, the quartet of Katie Kennedy, Courtney Blanden, Laurie Barton and Sarah Edwards registered a school-record time of 10:53.62 to earn bronze. The third-place finish was the highest finish in program history.

“Our girls ran one of the top-10 times of all time," Thomas said. "Great effort against great competition. So proud of them and looking forward to seeing what they can do in outdoors!”

Kicking off the night with the men’s mile preliminaries, all three Hokies competed in heat 2. The trio had to run better than 4:05 to qualify for finals, and Joseph (4:02.06), Gourley (4:02.25) and Ciattei (4:02.27) accomplished just that.

Joseph placed second, Gourley fourth, and Ciattei fifth. Josh Kerr, the defending national champion from New Mexico, barely edged out Joseph with a time of 4:02.03 to place first in the prelim.

In the pole vault, junior Deakin Volz earned a bronze medal for the second time in his career, vaulting a season-best height of 5.60 meters (18 feet, 4.5 inches). The Indiana native took home bronze his freshman indoor season in 2016.

Redshirt senior Torben Laidig placed 13th with a mark of 5.30 meters (17 feet, 4.5 inches), earning second-team All-America honors. It marked the third time that the Germany native has picked up indoor All-America status in the pole vault.

“I was really proud of how the guys competed,” pole vault coach Bob Phillips mentioned. “Torben is still working through an injury and was a game-time decision. Deakin has been having great practices the last two weeks, so we knew he was ready to compete for a medal spot. But you still have to do it, and he did a fantastic job, putting together a great series of jumps.”

Crossing the finish line in 2:04:74, junior Rachel Pocratsky earned seventh place in the 800 to qualify for the finals Saturday.

The No. 12 Tech men's squad leads in the team standings at the end of the first day, owning 16 points with No. 6 Texas A&M behind in second with 15.5 and No. 8 Alabama with 11. The Tech women, who also own the No. 12 ranking, are tied with No. 17 Mississippi State in 13th place with six points.

Sat. | NCAAs | 11 a.m. ET | Live Results | Live Stream


• The Hokies were just the second men’s program in NCAA history to have three finalists in the mile. Oregon was the first to do it, accomplishing the feat in 2015.



• Next up for Tech will be Day 2 of the NCAA Indoor Championships at Texas A&M, starting at 11 a.m. ET with the heptathlon. Ciattei, Gourley, Joseph (mile) and Pocratsky (800) will run in the finals, while the pole vault event will see freshmen Rachel Baxter and Lisa Gunnarsson compete at NCAAs for the first time in their careers.

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