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Feb. 22, 2013
BLACKSBURG, Va. - Alexander Ziegler gave the home crowd quite the show - make that the throw - as the 2013 Atlantic Coast Conference Indoor Track and Field Championships swung into full action on Friday.
And before the competition wound to a close early in the evening, the Florida State women's distance medley team had blazed its way into the books with an ACC-record setting performance.
Ziegler, Virginia Tech's senior weight-thrower, shattered the ACC Championship record with a toss of 77-8 ¾ (23.69 meters) to capture his third career gold medal in the event at Rector Field House.
Ziegler's throw on his second attempt broke the previous Championship mark of 75-9 ½ set by Virginia Tech's Spyridon Julien in 2005. Of Ziegler's five no-fault throws on Friday, three surpassed Julien's previous mark. Ziegler's top throw, which bounced off the door at the west end of the field house, was nearly four feet greater than this year's previous NCAA high of 73-11 ¾ (22.55 m) set by Indiana State's Brandon Pounds on Feb. 2.
The gargantuan toss led a weight-throw medal sweep by Virginia Tech and helped push the Hokies into the team points lead heading into Saturday's final day of competition.
Meanwhile, the Florida State women's distance relay team of Amanda Winslow, Sage Watson, Georgia Peel and Colleen Quigley delivered a dominating performance that left the remainder of the field playing chase from the start.
The Seminoles' eye-popping time of 10:57.41 bettered North Carolina's ACC mark of 10:59.76 that had stood since 2002. It easily broke the year-old ACC Championship time of 11:08.17, set by the Seminoles in the 2012 meet at Roxbury, Mass. The 4,000-meter time was the second-best in the NCAA this season and the 12th-best in NCAA history.
Ziegler was one of two weight-throwers to establish an ACC Championship record on Friday, as Clemson's Brittney Waller set the standard on the women's side. Virginia Tech's women also received a Championship record-breaking performance from Martina Schultze, who established a new mark in the pole vault. Clemson's Brianna Rollins set a Championship mark during qualifying for the women's 60-meter hurdles, and Florida State's James Harris tied the record for men's high jump while taking home the gold medal in that event.
Virginia Tech's men finished the day in first place with 66 points, followed by defending champion Florida State with 44 and Duke with 34. North Carolina held fourth place with 28, followed by NC State 21, Virginia 13, Clemson 10, Miami 9, Boston College 4, Georgia Tech 3 and Wake Forest 2.
A total of 7 ½ points separated the top six women's teams at the end of Friday's competition. Duke lead with 39, followed by Maryland 38, Florida State 34, NC State 32.5, North Carolina 32 and three-time defending champion Clemson 31.5. Virginia Tech held seventh place with 20, followed by Wake Forest 13, Boston College 11, Miami 9, Virginia 9 and Wake Forest 4.
In addition to the Ziegler's record-setting weight throw, five other events were completed on Friday.
In the heptathlon, Duke's Ian Rock used a strong second-day showing to post a gold medal total of 5,323 points. The sophomore became the second straight Blue Devil to win the event and edged North Carolina's Joe Hutchinson (5,226 points), who claimed the silver medal for the second straight year.
Florida State's Harris' winning high jump was measured at 7-3 ¾, tying the ACC Championship record set by NC State's Kris Kornegay-Gober last year. Kornegay-Gober and Virginia Tech's Ronnie Black tied for second place on Friday at 7-2 ½.
Virginia Tech picked up 10 more first-place points in the long jump, where senior Jeff Artis-Gray measured 25-10 to take the gold. And Michael Curtin capped a big night for the Hokies by running to victory in the 5,000-meters in a school-record time of 14:01.65, breaking his own mark of 14:02 flat. The Virginia Tech distance medley relay team followed up yet another gold medal, running to victory in (9:45.23).
Seven women's events have been completed heading into Saturday's finale, and the record book has already been rewritten.
Clemson's Waller, who set a school record and ranked second in the NCAA with her regular-season weight throw on Feb. 8, lived up to her billing in capturing her third consecutive ACC championship. The senior registered an ACC Championship meet record distance of 70-10 ½ (21.60 meters) on her second attempt, and the effort held up for the three-time defending champion Tigers' first gold medal of this year's event. Waller bested the eight-year-old mark of 70-3 ¾ set by North Carolina's Laura Gerraughty.
Virginia Tech's Schultze also staked her claim in the pole vault, clearing 14-7 ¼ (4.45 meters) to set the new ACC Championship mark and post the second highest mark in the NCAA this season. Schultze broke her school record of 4.38 meters, which she set on Feb. 8.
NC State's Karimah Shepherd captured the long jump, posting a winning leap of 21-2 (6.45 meters). The women's high jump saw Maryland's Amber Melville clear 5-10 on her first attempt to claim the gold. Melville became the second Terrapin - and the first since 1987 - to claim the high jump championship.
The 5,000-meter run saw Juliet Bottorff become the second straight Duke runner to win the ACC Championship. The Newark, Del., native led the field with a time of 16:15.83.
Another ACC Championship record fell in the qualifying for the 60-meter hurdles, as defending champion Rollins of Clemson registered a time of 7.92 to lead the field for Saturday's finals. Rollins, who set the NCAA record with a time of 7.78 during the regular season, broke the previous mark of 7.94 set by Virginia Tech's Queen Harrison in 2010.
Live coverage of the Championship's third and final day will be carried Saturday on theACC.com from noon until 4:00 pm. Please see the link below for the full remainder of the Championships schedule, as well as links to live stats and Saturday's webcast coverage: http://theacc.co/ITFChamps