Bajnok wins long jump on Day 2 at ACC Outdoor Championships

  • ACC Outdoor Championships


CORAL GABLES, Fla. – Eszter Bajnok broke the school record in the long jump on her way to a gold medal, the men’s pole vault group racked up 21.5 points and the 3,000-meter steeplechase saw a Hokie earn bronze on both sides for Virginia Tech track and field on Friday at the ACC Outdoor Track and Field Championships at Cobb Stadium.

The women once again have the most points, owning 53 after Day 2, while the men are in fourth place with 37.5 points.

“Eszter absolutely winning the long jump was the highlight, but we had some other great performances today,” director of track and field and cross country Dave Cianelli said. “The vault group as a whole vaulted extremely well. We didn’t get the win but did place four guys in the top six, which really helps us.

Fitsum Seyoum had a fantastic race in the steeplechase, getting third and ran about a 10-second PR – that was a great race. We also qualified pretty much all the people in the 800s that we expected to get through. So, that will be a big race for us tomorrow.

“I’m looking forward to Saturday. We will keep fighting and we will see how it will end up at the end of the day tomorrow.”

Bajnok, who was tied with April Byrd for the best long jump in program history coming into the meet, reset the record with a top jump of 6.17 meters (20 feet, 3 inches). It marked Bajnok’s second gold medal this year, as the sophomore took home the triple jump title at the ACC Indoor Championships on Feb. 24 at Clemson.

“Eszter really had a great competition tonight,” jumps coach Paul Zalewski shared. “I could not be more proud of her. To do what she did, ranked seventh coming into the meet and then go beat a good field, was really a testament to her competitiveness.

“We talked all week about the fact that what’s happened this season so far doesn’t matter. Just beat the girl next to you – and she did that. She jumped out to a lead on her first attempt and never looked back. That was a huge 10 points for the team. I couldn’t have asked for more as a coach.”

The pole vault group on the men’s side showed up big yet again, going 2-3-4-6. Torben Laidig earned silver, his fifth silver at an ACC meet in his storied career, and Deakin Volz got bronze, the second of his career. Both student-athletes cleared a season-best height of 5.60 meters (18 feet, 4.5 inches).

Freshman Joel Leon Benitez just missed the cut for the podium, which would have been the second of his career, with a fourth-place finish on a mark of 5.30 meters (17 feet, 4.5 inches). Redshirt senior James Steck competed for the first time in 2018 and tied for sixth, vaulting a height of 4.75 meters (15 feet, 7 inches).

“Tremendous effort by the Hokie vaulters again tonight with season bests by Torben and Deakin,” pole vault coach Bob Phillips mentioned. “And I really appreciated James being out there and grabbing sixth after being out a year with a hip injury.”

The distance group once again qualified the majority of its runners in the preliminaries, as well as adding six points to each side in the 3,000-meter steeplechase. Seyoum, who finished seventh in the steeple at ACCs last year in Atlanta, got to the podium his sophomore year with a third-place finish in a time of 8 minutes, 49.26 seconds.

Fellow sophomore Sarah Edwards did the same in the steeple, turning in a time of 10:08.14. Both Ben Fleming and Kayla Richardson placed 10th in the event, respectively.

The 800-meter run preliminaries took place and the Hokies got two on the women’s side and three on the men’s side to qualify for the finals. Laurie Barton won her heat with a time of 2:05.60 and Rachel Pocratsky did the same in the final heat in 2:06.43.

Redshirt senior Vincent Ciattei took first in his heat with a time of 1:49.22 and sophomore Owen Buck (1:50.06) and freshman Bashir Mosavel-Lo (1:50.20) qualified with each owning one of the best four remaining times.

Lawrence Harris, who was competing in his first Power Five conference meet after transferring from Virginia State (Division II), executed in the 100-meter dash with a time of 10.52 to qualify for the finals.

Saturday’s action will begin at 11 a.m. ET with the men’s javelin. ACC Network Extra will bring the live action on the final day, airing from 5-9 p.m.

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

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