Atherley Leads Heptathlon After Day 1 of ACC Outdoors
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – Michelle Atherley of the University of Miami track and field program won all four heptathlon events Thursday on the opening day of the ACC Outdoor Championships at Lannigan Field in Charlottesville, Va.
The 2019 NCAA and ACC Indoor Pentathlon champion started the day right where she left off indoor season – winning. Atherley began the day capturing the women’s 100m hurdles, running a season-best time of 13.14 seconds. The North Port, Fla., native continued to separate herself from Erin Marsh of Duke in second place after winning the high jump with a mark of 1.72m.
Atherley added another season-best mark to her name, winning the shot put at 12.61m. The ACC Indoor Field Performer of the Year finished the day with a first-place finish in the women’s 200m dash with a time of 24.19. Atherley totaled 3,647 points after the first four events and is 145 points ahead of Marsh.
“I thought Michelle was very solid and went into the competition wanting to do well in multiple events,” director of track and field/cross country Amy Deem said. “Her performances today really bode well for her going into tomorrow’s events as well as setting her up for the NCAA Championships in three weeks.”
Senior Andreas Christodoulou currently sits fifth after the first five events of the men’s decathlon. The ACC Indoor silver medalist in the heptathlon, he began the day running an 11.48 in the men’s 100m. The Cyprus native followed with a first-place finish in the long jump with a mark of 6.99m and a third-place finish in the shot put with a mark of 11.97m.
Christodoulou finished the day with a high jump mark of 1.84m and a time of 52.86 in the 400m dash. He finished the day with 3,522 points.
Four Canes advanced to Saturday’s 400m hurdles final as Samantha Gonzalez and Anna Runia advanced to the women’s final as the two seniors finished fourth and sixth, respectively. McKinly Brown finished third in the men’s 400 hurdles with a time of 52.13 and Thomas Burns finished fifth with a time of 52.72 to advance to the finals.
“I think both groups did what we needed to do and advance, which is the most important thing to do,” Deem said. “I wasn’t pleased with any of them on how they executed their race plans. They need to start trusting their race plans and running with more confidence.”
Senior Brittny Ellis was the lone Cane to advance to women’s 200m final, finishing fifth with a time of 23.57 seconds. Alfreda Steele and Symone Mason ran 23.89 and 24.01, respectively.
“I told the team this week to be fearless in their competition, especially with the girls and I think that’s where they weren’t today,” Deem said. “The only one who was fearless today was Brittny. She went out there with nothing to lose in the 200m and ended up in the middle of the track for the final.”
Freshman Hannah-Sophia Hall competed in the women’s javelin for the first time this season and threw a mark of 34.74m to close out the first day of the outdoor championships.
Christodoulou is set to finish the final five events of the decathlon starting with the 110m hurdles at 11 a.m., while Atherley will close out the final three events beginning with the long jump set for 1 p.m. Tiara McMinn and Atherley will compete in Friday’s first track event in the women’s 100m hurdles scheduled for 6 p.m.