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March 13, 2014

Tech men and women take fifth at ACC indoor track meet

By: Jimmy Robertson

Two men and two women capture individual titles in their respective events

Grant Pollock, a junior from Richmond, Va., won his first ACC indoor title by claiming gold in the one-mile race at the ACC Indoor Track and Field Championships.

The Virginia Tech men’s and women’s track and field teams recorded fifth-place finishes at the 2014 ACC Indoor Track and Field Championships held Feb. 27-March 1 in Clemson, S.C.

The men’s team, paced by individual winners Torben Laidig and Grant Pollock, scored 65 points to finish two points behind fourth-place Duke in the team standings. Florida State, which amassed 96 points, claimed the overall title for the 10th time. The Hokies won the title a year ago.

On the women’s side, Tech amassed 52 points, just 10 points behind fourth-place Miami, and improved its finish by four spots from last year’s ninth-place showing. Florida State won the women’s title as well, finishing with 96.5 points. It marked the Seminoles’ second indoor title.

Laidig, a freshman from Schwaebisch Hall, Germany, soared to new heights in the men’s pole vault. He set a personal best en route to a first-place finish. Laidig’s mark of 17 feet, 10.5 inches (5.45 meters) was the highest jump set by an ACC competitor this season and the fourth-highest vault in Tech history.

Behind Laidig, the Hokies claimed four of the top six spots in the men’s pole vault. Laidig’s teammate, Chris Uhle, finished second, while Hokies’ Stephan Munz and Jared Allison claimed fourth and sixth, respectively.

Pollock, a junior from Richmond, won the one-mile race in a time of 4 minutes, 9.3 seconds. It marked his first ACC indoor title.

Tihut Degfae and Tomas Kruzliak claimed bronze medals in their respective events. Degfae, a senior from Alexandria, Va., finished third in the 800-meter race in a time of 1:51.44, while teammate Martin Dally claimed seventh. Kruzliak, the defending national champion in the hammer throw during the outdoor season, claimed third in the weight throw with a toss of 64 feet, 8 inches (19.71 meters). The sophomore from Nitra, Slovakia, finished second in the event at last year’s meet.

Other notable performances from the men included a sixth-place finish from Tadashi Pinder in the 60-meter dash and a sixth-place finish from Lee Degfae in the 3,000-meter race. Pinder, a sophomore from Locust Grove, Ga., ran his race in a time of 6.78 seconds. Degfae, a redshirt senior from Alexandria, Va., finished the 3,000 in a time of 8:21.05.

Also, the men’s distance medley relay team of Juan Campos, Dante Price, Dally and Lee Degfae finished in fourth place with a time of 9:50.28. They were just nine-hundredths of a second from making it to the podium.

On the women’s side, Tech’s Martina Schultze continued her domination in the pole vault, winning her fourth straight ACC pole vault crown. She swept the event at both the ACC meets (indoor and outdoor) a year ago and won the event at the 2012 league outdoor meet.

This time, the junior from Uhingen, Germany, won with a mark of 14 feet, 5.25 inches, which is her highest vault this season. She edged out Duke’s Megan Clark, who hit the same height, but fell to second based on misses.

Tech’s Amanda Smith, a junior from Chesapeake, Va., won her first ACC title, claiming first in the 800 and winning in a time of 2:06.69. Teammate Hanna Green, a freshman from Latrobe, Pa., claimed second with a time of 2:08.20, while Frances Dowd, a senior from Fairfax, Va., was fourth with a time of 2:08.49.

Other notable performances from the women came from Sarah Rapp, a junior from Raleigh, N.C., who finished second in the 3,000-meter race in a time of 9:21.03, and Jasmine Mitchell, a freshman from Amelia Court House, Va., who claimed seventh in the 400-meter race. Courtney Dobbs, a redshirt junior from Glen Allen, Va., who finished fifth in the 5,000-meter race. Dobbs ran the race in a time of 16:21.30 – a personal best at that distance.

Also, the women’s distance medley relay team of Shannon Morton, Mitchell, Katarina Smiljanec and Rapp finished in fourth with a time of 11:19.21.

Both Tech teams now will await the conclusion of the rest of the conference championships throughout the nation to see which of its athletes qualified for the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships. That event will be held March 14-15 in Albuquerque, N.M.