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March 15, 2012

Tech men's track and field squad just misses on another ACC crown

By: Jimmy Robertson

The Virginia Tech men’s track and field team came up just a little short of defending its ACC crown, as Florida State edged out the Hokies at the ACC Indoor Track and Field Championships held at the Reggie Lewis Track Center in Boston in late February.

The Hokies accumulated 95.5 points, which was 27.5 points behind the Seminoles in the standings. FSU won its ninth team title in the past 10 years, with the lone exception being their loss to the Hokies a year ago.

“I thought that the men had an okay meet,” said Dave Cianelli, Tech’s director of track and field and cross country. “We felt like we could contend coming in, but we had too many hiccups to really challenge for the title. Hopefully we can come back outdoors, regroup, and try to win the ACC Championship.”

Two Tech team members won individual crowns. Marcel Lomnicky and Ryan Witt both won their second ACC titles, with Lomnicky taking home gold in the weight throw and Witt winning the 800-meter run.

Lomnicky, a past national champion in the hammer throw (an outdoor event), led the Hokies as Tech swept the top three spots in the weight throw. His throw of 71 feet, 9.5 inches, edged teammate Alexander Ziegler, who tossed the weight 69 feet, 11.5 inches. Denis Mahmic came in third with a throw of 64 feet, 0.5 inches.

Lomnicky, a native of Nitra, Slovakia, won the ACC title in the weight throw in 2009 and earned All-America honors at the NCAA meet after finishing eighth there. He finished second behind Ziegler at last year’s ACC indoor meet and claimed 14th place at the NCAA’s, earning his second All-America nod.

Witt, a redshirt senior from Winchester, Va., ran the 800 in a school-record time of 1:48.76. Like Lomnicky, he won his first ACC title in 2009. A year ago, he finished fourth in the 800.

The men’s team also got a lot of points from Hasheem Halim, a junior from Lilburn, Ga. Halim finished second in the triple jump with a school-record leap of 52 feet, 10.75 inches, and he came in seventh in the long jump. He has finished second in the triple jump for three consecutive years now.

Other fine performances came from Chris Walizer, who finished second in the mile run, Luka Mustafic, who finished third in the weight throw, and Jeff Artis-Gray and Ronnie Black, who came in fourth in the long jump and high jump, respectively.

The Tech women’s team finished in fifth place with 53 points. Clemson won its third straight ACC indoor title, amassing 166 points.

Freshman Victoria von Eynatten, from Leinfelden, Germany, took home gold in the pole vault for the Hokies, pacing a sweep of that event for Tech. She and teammate Martina Schultze actually tied with vaults of 14 feet, 1.75 inches, but von Eynatten won on fewer misses. Kristen Brown came in third for Tech.

Brown, a sophomore from Owings Hills, Md., added points for Tech by finishing sixth in the hurdles as well. Frances Dowd took home bronze in the 800 with a time of 2:10.41, while teammates Yvonne Amegashie and Aunye Boone came in fifth and eighth, respectively, in the 400. Also, the distance medley relay team of Paige Kvartunas, Natalie Woodford, Amanda Smith and Sammy Down finished fourth.

The NCAA Indoor Championships were held March 9-10 in Nampa, Idaho.