Virginia Tech Men, Miami Women Claim ACC Indoor Track & Field Championships
Strong push on final day carries the Hokies and Hurricanes to 2017 titles
SOUTH BEND, Ind. (theACC.com) – The team titles were up for grabs as the 2017 Atlantic Coast Conference Track and Field Championships entered their final day, and Virginia Tech’s men and Miami’s women held on tight.
The Hokies used their familiar formula – standout performances in middle distances, pole vault and other field events – to fend off rival Virginia for their fourth men’s team title – all of which have come since 2011 under head coach Dave Cianelli.
“It never easy,” Cianelli said. “This conference is so good, and it’s getting better every year. “To bring a group together and be able to perform and win a championship is special. Whether it’s your first or your 10th, it doesn’t really matter. Every and every one is very special.”
With Shakima Wimbley shattering three league records and getting plenty of help from her fellow runners and pentathlon champion Michelle Atherley – Miami repeated as ACC women’s champion and claimed their fourth title under head coach Amy Deem since joining the conference in 2004. Deem’s four ACC women’s coaching titles are second all-time behind former North Carolina head coach Dennis Craddock’s 15.
Virginia Tech’s men led with 109 points, 11 ahead of the Cavaliers, who finished strong to place second. Florida State (86), Clemson (76) and Louisville (47) and Syracuse (47) rounded out the top six.
NC State placed seventh with 39 points, followed by Notre Dame (33), North Carolina (29), Georgia Tech (28), Miami (24), Pitt (21), Duke (14) and Wake Forest (11). Boston College did not score.
“I told our team not to worry about where we were in the standings, because I knew Saturday would be a good day for us,” said Cianelli, whose team stood in sixth place after the conclusion of Friday’s session. I said, ‘Each of you has a job to do. Don’t worry about what is happening around you. Just take care of your business.’ “
Miami’s women finished with 113 points to withstand a strong challenge from second-place Clemson (98). Florida State (74) placed third, followed by Louisville (57.5) and host Notre Dame (48).
Duke placed sixth at 44.5, followed by North Carolina (44), Virginia Tech (41), NC State (35), Virginia (31), Wake Forest (24), Pitt (19), Georgia Tech (14), Syracuse (12) and Boston College (7).
“It’s an awesome feeling,” Deem said. “We went in not knowing how we might do in some places (in the lineup). But our team was on a mission the minute we walked in. Starting with the pentathlon, and going on from there, it was just a total team effort.”
Wimbley repeated as the ACC Championship Women’s Track MVP, while Syracuse’s Justyn Knight and Florida State’s Darryl Haraway shared Men’s Track MVP accolades. Louisville swept Field MVP honors, with jumper Damar Robinson repeating on the men’s side and thrower Emmonnie Henderson earning women’s honors.
Wimbley became the first woman in ACC history to win a running event four years in a row when she captured the 200 on Saturday. The Fort Lauderdale, Florida, native set an ACC overall record in the 400 meters and a meet record in the 200. She also anchored the Hurricanes’ winning 4x400 relay team.
“I’m just happy for our team, that we took it step by step and did what we had to do … That’s all I’m feeling right now,” Wimbley said. “Maybe later on when I get back to the hotel or something, all that other stuff will hit me. But right now, I just am enjoying celebrating another ACC championship with my team.”
Next up for ACC teams and student-athletes are the 2017 NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships, which are scheduled for March 10-11.
CHECKING THE RECORD BOOK
In addition to the meet records that were set on Saturday, a number of other marks fell during this year’s ACC Indoor Championships.
It began on Thursday, when the Virginia Tech men’s DMR squad (Daniel Jaskowak, Brandon Thomas, Kevin Cianfarini and Neil Gourley) post a blazing gold medal time of 9:31.05, which shattered the previous Championship mark of 9:36.27 set by Virginia last season. Louisville senior Dolly Nyemah broke her own ACC Championship record in the women’s weight throw with a mark of 22.01 meters (72-2.5), and Miami sophomore Michelle Atherley claimed the pentathlon with an ACC Championship-record 4,281 points.
Syracuse’s Justyn Knight made his mark during Friday’s session, closing the day with a 5,000-meters run of 3:50.22 that broke the meet record held by former Syracuse teammate Martin Hehir by more than seven seconds. And earlier in the day, Miami’s Wimbley ran a women’s 200 qualifying mark of 22.88 that broke her own mark of 23.08 set in 2015.
Syracuse senior Freddie Crittenden III followed suit the men’s 60 meter hurdles with a record time of 7.65, which he equaled in Saturday’s finals.
Clemson closed out with the final gold medal and final record of the 2017 ACC Indoor Track and Field Championships. The Tigers took the gold medal with a winning time of 3:07.91, which beat the previous meet record of 3:08.48 set by Georgia Tech in 1998.
Cordell Lamb, Michael Cheeks, Terrell Jackson and Jeffrey Green formed the winning combination for the Tigers, who took the gold medal for the second consecutive year. North Carolina finished as runner-up in the event for the second year in a row.
Men's Triple Jump
Virginia freshman Jordan Scott met the challenge in the men’s triple jump, posting a gold medal mark of 16.11m (52-10.25) to place ahead of Louisville veteran Damar Robinson. Robinson took the silver with a mark of 15.99m (52-5.5). Bronze medalist Montel Nevers of Florida State checked in at 15.88m (52-1.25).
Miami Captures Women's 4x400 Relay
The Miami women used the final event of the day to put an exclamation point on their stellar closing session. The foursome of Brittny Ellis, Emily Ford, Aiyanna Stiverne and Shakima Wimbley lived up to their No. 6 national ranking with a gold medal time of 3:34.77. Duke placed second at 3:36.25 and Clemson third at 3:36.61.
Knight Does it Again
Syracuse’s Justyn Knight came up a double-winner in the distance races for the second consecutive year. After repeating as the men’s 5,000 meters for the second consecutive year in record time on Friday night, the Orange sophomore came back to take the 3,000 on Saturday with a winning time of 8:05.05. Knight placed ahead of silver medalist Daniel Jaskowak of Virginia Tech (8:05.96) and Henry Wynne of Virginia (8:06.20).
Virginia Tech’s depth throughout of the event allowed the Hokies to push their lead over second-place UVA to 27 points (107-80) with only two events remaining to be scored.
Three-Peat for UVA's Mihaljevic
Chalk up another gold medal for Virginia junior All-American Filip Mihlajevic, who made it three straight in the men’s shot put on Saturday.
Mihaljevic delivered a first-place throw of 19.97 meters (65-6.25) to outdistance Florida State’s Austin Droogsma’s silver medal effort of 19.14m (62-9.50). Virginia’s Oghenakpobo’s throw of 19.13m (62-9.50) netted third place.
Virginia moved up to second place in the men’s team scoring with 73 points, 18 behind first-place Virginia Tech
Women's 3000 Meters
NC State junior Erika Kemp slipped in front of the field on the final lap and motored home for the gold medal with a winning time of 9:19.79. Clemson’s Grace Barnett took the silver medal at 9:21.34. Notre Dame’s Anna Rohrer – who took the gold medal in the 5000 meters race on Friday night and the silver medal in this event last year – claimed the bronze on Saturday with a time of 9:22.09.
Two Golds for Haraway
After grabbing the gold earlier in the men’s 60-meter dash, Florida State sophomore Darryl Haraway followed suit in the men’s 200 with a first-place time of 21.07. Clemson’s Cordell Lamb took the silver medal at 21.19, and Virginia Tech’s Gregory Chiles claimed the bronze at 21.25.
Laidig Sets Mark as Hokies Keep Moving
Buoyed by Torben Laidig’s meet record pole vault of 5.55m (18-2.50), Virginia Tech continued to open up a substantial lead in the men’s team scoring.
Laidig, last year’s silver medalist, broke the previous mark of 5.52m set by the Hokies’ Chris Uhle in 2015. Virginia Tech’s Deakin Volz – who last week set the all-time ACC mark with his vault of 5.66m – took the silver on Saturday at 18-0.50. Notre Dame senior Nate Richartz – last year’s champion – claimed third place at 5.30m (17-4.50).
Virginia Tech now leads the men’s field with 91 team points, while Clemson is second with 66. Four events remain to be completed.
Historic First for Wimbley
Miami’s Shakima Wimbley set yet another conference record on Saturday with a gold medal time of 22.83 in the women’s 200 – and it was almost a footnote as the Hurricane All-American continues to add to her collegiate legacy.
Wimbley became the first woman in conference history to claim four ACC gold medals a single running event. Three women have previously done so in field events, the most recent being Florida State Olympian Kim Williams with four consecutive medals in the triple jump from 2008 through 2011. Three male student-athletes have accomplished the feat.
Wimbley broke her own 200 meet mark of 22.88, which lasted less than 24 hours after she set it in qualifying on Friday. Clemson’s Sabria Hadley took the silver medal with a time of 23.36, and Virginia Tech’s Courtney Blanden placed third at 23.60.
Miami continues to lead the women’s team scoring with 103 points, 19 ahead of second-place Clemson.
VT’s Joseph Sets Men's 800 Record
Minutes after Virginia Tech established a new ACC Championship Indoor 800 record on the women’s side, the Hokies followed suit in the men’s race with Patrick Joseph taking the gold medal with a new event mark of 1:46.23. Joseph finished ahead of teammate Drew Piazza (1:46.42) and Wake Forest sophomore Robert Heppenstall (1:46.71). All three runners bettered the previous meet record of 1:47.35 Heppenstall set last season.
Virginia Tech has now moved to the top of the men’s leaderboard with 54 points, four ahead of second-place Clemson. The Hokies are assured of at least 18 points upon the completion of the pole vault and have a number of contenders in the other remaining of the events.
Green Betters Women's 800 Mark
Virginia Tech senior Hanna Green secured her spot as one of the conference’s all-time elite performers in the 800, capturing her third consecutive gold medal and establishing a new meet record of 2:02.28. Green broke her own mark of 2:03.43, which she set in 2015.
Duke senior Madeline Kopp claimed the silver medal at 2:04.60, and Virginia Tech’s Rachel Pocratsky took the bronze with a time of 2:04.96.
Men's 60 Meters
Florida State sophomore Darryl Haraway edged NC State freshman Cravont Charleston at the finish to post a gold medal time of 6.66. Haraway, ranked third nationally, took first place following a silver medal finish last season. Miami sophomore Myles Valentine emerged as this year’s bronze medal winner at 6.75, placing ahead of Syracuse’s Winston Lee by a thousandth-of-a-second.
Women's 60 Meters
Clemson continued its strong final day push as freshman Rebekah Smith raced to a first-place time of 7.31, and junior Torie Robinson placed second with a time of 7.32. Miami’s Kristina Knott took the bronze with a time of 7.35 to thwart at Tiger sweep.
Miami continues to lead the women’s team scoring with 84 points, and Clemson now holds second place with 69.
For the second year in a row, Clemson made a clean sweep of this event, claiming the top three podium spots. Sophomore Jeffrey Green raced to his second consecutive first-place finish of 46.27, while Cordell Lamb had a silver medal time of 46.68 and Michael Cheeks took the bronze medal at 46.71. Cheeks took the silver last season, while Lamb took the bronze.
The sweep sent the Tigers vaulting up the men’s leaderboard. Clemson now has 46 team points, two behind first-place Virginia.
Women's Triple Jump
Last season, Clemson’s Iana Amsterdam took second place in the women’s triple jump, while the Tigers’ Anasterasia Terrell finished third. Each moved up a spot Saturday, with Amsterdam claiming the gold medal with a mark of 13.34 meters (43-9.25) and Terrell the silver at 12.73m (41-9.25). Virginia’s Mia Barron claimed third at 12.71m (41-8.5).
Wimbley Rolls On
Miami senior All-American Shakima Wimbley bettered her ACC overall record and nation leading time in convincing fashion with a torched-earth time of 51.20. Wimbley topped her previous record best of 51.28 and set her second record of this ACC Championship after establishing a new Championship mark of 22.88 during 200 qualifying on Saturday.
Wimbley’s Hurricane teammate Brittny Ellis took the silver medal with a time of 52.19 that ranks among the nation’s top six, and Syracuse sophomore Kadejhia Sellers was the bronze medalist at 52.97. Miami moved to the top of the women’s leaderboard in team scoring with 78 points, 15 ahead of second-place Florida State.
Virginia Tech junior Vincent Ciattei – who entered the race with the eighth-best time among ACC milers this season – bested defending NCAA champion Henry Wynne of Virginia on the closing half-lap to claim the gold medal with a time of 4:01.04. Wynne claimed the silver at 4:01.26, and Virginia freshman Diego Zarate took the silver at 4:02.72 to complete the solid race for the Hokies.
Virginia continues to lead the men’s scoring with 48 points, while Louisville holds second at 39. Virginia Tech is now up to 34 points and shares third place in the team standings with Florida State.
Notre Dame’s Jessica Harris held off Clemson’s Grace Barnett down the stretch and posted an ACC-record time of 4:33.80. She finished just ahead of Barnett, who made a lunging try at the finish line for a mark of 4:33.86. NC State’s Megan Moye had a bronze medal time of 4:36.76, following up on her silver medal finish of last year.
Harris bettered the previous record of 4:34.11, set by Florida State’s Susan Kuijken at Blacksburg in 2009.
Women's Shot Put
Louisville junior Emmonnie Henderson claimed her second consecutive gold medal with her leading throw of 16.95 meters (55-7.5). North Carolina senior Sarah Howard took the silver with a toss of 16.62m (54-6.5), and Florida State junior Gleneve Grange was third at 16.54m (54-3.25). UNC’s Howard took the bronze medal in the event last year in Boston.
Men's 60 Meter Hurdles
On Friday, Syracuse senior Freddie Crittenden III set a meet record with a qualifying time of 7.65. Not to be outdone, Crittenden proceeded to post the same time on Saturday to earn a gold medal and solidify his place in the record book. Clemson’s Kirk Lewis followed at 7.87, and Pitt’s Desmond Palmer was the bronze medalist at 8.00.
Women's 60 Meter Hurdles
Miami senior Ebony Morrison delivered a season-best time of 8.12 to claim the gold medal in the first event of Saturday’s session. Florida States Peta-Gay Williams took the silver medal with the time of 8.16, and Seminoles teammate Cortney Jones had a bronze medal finish of 8.18.