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June 23, 2014

Schultze finishes third at NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships

By: Jimmy Robertson

Martina Schultze became an All-American for the sixth time in her career after a bronze medal performance in the pole vault at the NCAA outdoor meet.

Martina Schultze’s amazing season ended in style, as she finished in third place in the pole vault event at the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships held in Eugene, Oregon, on June 11-14.

Schultze, a native of Uhingen, Germany, earned All-America recognition for the sixth time in her career. That leaves her tied for second with former track standouts Queen Harrison and Brittany Pryor on Tech’s all-time list, just one back of Kristi Castlin, who was a seven-time All-American during her career from 2006-09.

Schultze cleared 14 feet, 3.25 inches (4.35 meters), but could not clear 14 feet, 5.25 inches to advance. Annika Roloff of Akron won the event, with a vault of 14 feet, 5.25 inches, while Indiana’s Kelsie Ahbe finished second.

Behind Schultze, the Tech women’s team finished in 32nd position at the meet. In addition to Schultze, two other Tech women’s track and field athletes – Sabine Kopplin and Eva Vivod – earned All-America honors.

Kopplin, a sophomore from Filderstadt, Germany, earned first-team All-America honors after finishing seventh in the javelin with a toss of 173 feet, 4 inches (52.84 meters). Kopplin, a transfer from Nevada, was competing in her second NCAA Championships. She finished in 17th place at the 2011 NCAA outdoor meet.

Vivod earned second-team All-America honors in the javelin. The Maribor, Slovenia, native finished in 11th place with a throw of 160 feet, 11 inches (49.06 meters).

Shannon Morton, Sarah Rapp and Hanna Green also competed for the Hokies. Morton, a sophomore from Chesapeake, Virginia, was 20th in the 1,500-meter race with a time of 4 minutes, 25.42 seconds, while Rapp, a junior from Raleigh, North Carolina, came in 21st in the 10,000-meter race with a time of 34:10.96. Green placed 13th in the preliminaries of the 800-meter run with a time of 2:05.45 and did not qualify for the finals.

On the men’s side, the Hokies finished 34th, with four athletes earning All-America honors.

Tomas Kruzliak, the defending national champion in the hammer throw, came in fifth this time, but still earned All-America honors. The sophomore from Nitra, Slovakia, recorded his best attempt on his first throw, one in which he tossed the hammer 227 feet, 11 inches (69.47 meters). His second attempt went 226 feet, 7 inches. After faulting on his third attempt, he threw his fourth try 223 feet, 3 inches. He faulted on his fifth attempt, and recorded a throw of 219 feet, 1 inch on his final toss.

Tomas Kruzliak finished in fifth place in the hammer throw at the NCAA outdoor meet to earn All-America honors for the third time in his career.

Matthias Tayala of Kent State won the hammer throw in surprising fashion. On his final throw, Tayala uncorked a toss of 241 feet, 4 inches to edge second-place finisher Nick Miller of Oklahoma State by nearly four feet.

Grant Pollock, a junior from Richmond, Virginia, also earned All-America honors after finishing sixth in the 1,500-meter race. He ran the race in a time of 3:40.41, coming just 1.33 seconds from being the gold medalist. Still, his finish enabled him to earn All-America honors for the second time this season. He was part of the distance medley relay team that earned All-America recognition at the NCAA indoor meet.

Torben Laidig and Stephan Munz both claimed second-team All-America status for the Hokies after finishing 15th and 16th in the pole vault. Both cleared 17 feet, 8.5 inches (5.40 meters) on their second attempt, but were unable to advance any further. Laidig, a freshman from Schwabisch Hall, Germany, earned his second All-America honor this season, as he finished in sixth place at the NCAA Indoor Championships. Munz, a native of Goppingen, Germany, won the ACC title during the outdoor season and is an All-American for the first time.

Jared Berman, Darrell Wesh and Lee Degfae also competed for the Tech men’s team. Berman, a redshirt junior from Fairfax, Virginia, finished in 16th place in the 3,000-meter race with a time of 8:53.72. Wesh, a senior from Virginia Beach, Virginia, finished 11th in the semifinals of the 100-meter dash with a time of 10.21 seconds and failed to qualify for the finals. Degfae, a redshirt senior from Alexandria, Virginia, came in 19th in the 5,000-meter race with a time of 14:13.17. He missed out on All-America honors by 10 seconds.

Tech’s seven All-Americans during the outdoor season equaled the number of All-Americans it had during the indoor season.