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April 21, 2012
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – The Virginia Tech men and Clemson women left Lannigan Field as the 2012 Atlantic Coast Conference Outdoor Track and Field champions on Saturday.
For the Hokies, it is their first ever ACC men’s title, while the Tigers have now won three straight championships.
Clemson, powered by a strong last day with eight victories and 13 podium positions, grabbed the lead for good by sweeping the top four spots in the 100-meter hurdles and did not relinquish the lead for the rest of competition. The championship is the fifth for the program and third for head coach Lawrence Johnson, and is the largest margin of victory in the ACC Women’s Outdoor Track & Field Championship since 1994.
“What a wonderful weekend for us,” said Johnson. “It feels absolutely wonderful to come here and defend our ACC title from a year ago. Our student-athletes fought really hard, it showed in the results and I couldn’t be happier for the group.”
Entering the 4x400, the last event of the championship, the Virginia Tech men led Florida State by 6.5 points. The Seminoles, ranked second in that nation in the latest poll, were the defending champion and had won all but one ACC Outdoor Men’s Championship since 2002. The Hokie team of Jonathan McCants, Jeff Artis-Gray, Eric Hoepker, and Keith Ricks crossed the line in fifth to clinch the championship.
“I was so nervous,” said head coach Dave Cianelli. “I didn’t watch the race but I was listening to the announcer so I could tell where we were positioned. I knew we had a little bit of a cushion and then I looked over at my assistant coach and he was jumping up and down so at that point I knew we were able to pull it off.”
Florida State’s Maurice Mitchell earned Men’s Outdoor Most Valuable Track Performer honors, the third of his career and sixth overall combined with indoor competition. He won gold in the 200-meter dash, finished in second in the 100 meters, and ran on Florida State’s victorious 4x100-meter relay team.
Clemson swept the Most Valuable Performer honors for the women, as Marlena Wesh won the track title and April Sinkler won her third career outdoor field award. Wesh, a junior from Virginia Beach, Va., earned four All-ACC honors, winning the 400-meter dash in ACC Championship record time and helping the Tigers sweep the two relay events. Sinkler won her gold in the high jump for the third time in her career and finished second in the triple jump and the long jump.
Nick Vena, a freshman for the Virginia Cavaliers, was named the Most Valuable Field Performer for the men. He won two gold medals, setting a new facility record in the shot put and winning the discus in his first ACC Outdoor Championship.
Four ACC Championship records fell in the last day of competition at Lannigan Field, with the Clemson women setting three of their own. In the 4x100-meter relay, the team of Bridgette Owens, Wesh, Dezerea Bryant, and Jasmine Edgerson finished in 43.58 to set the new meet record. In the 400 meters, Wesh set a new national-best for the year with 51.43, and Bryant crossed the line in 11.29 to set the conference record.
Miami’s Devon Hill broke the ACC Championship record in the 110-meter hurdles with a time of 13.35, and now ranks No. 1 in the nation in the event.
For more on the ACC Outdoor Track & Field Championship, visit http://www.theacc.com/championships/12-outdoor-track-field-championships.html.