Two program records fall for track & field at VMI

Maddie Van Aken prepares to run down the vaulting lane

Lexington, Va. -- University of Lynchburg's indoor track & field teams enjoyed a record-setting weekend at the VMI Winter Relays in Lexington, Va.

Senior Madeline Van Aken (Blacksburg, Va.) highlighted the weekend with a new program record in the pole vault Friday. She cleared 11-11 ¾ to break the record by more than 5 inches. That mark ranks 20th in Division III and tops among Old Dominion Athletic Conference vaulters this season, and she won the event, besting several scholarship vaulters.

Sophomore Kaitlyn Johnson (Spotsylvania, Va.) continued to add to her collection of school records, breaking the previous 3,000-meter run mark with a 10:17.57 jaunt. That mark put her sixth in the event and ranks second among ODAC races at that distance this season.

Junior Reid Sharkey (Fairfax, Va.) highlighted the Hornet men's performances on the weekend with a new ODAC top time in the 1-mile. His personal-best 4:18.31 mark put him third in the race and ranks fifth among Lynchburg's all-time leaderboard.

Senior Tristan Lucy-Speidel (Fort Valley, Va.) also had a solid showing, checking into fourth on the ODAC leaderboard and fifth on Lynchburg's all-time list with an 8:45.07 race in the 3,000m. He finished 13th.

Back with the women, senior Endasia Mitchell (Perry Hall, Md.) had a productive weekend. She posted top ODAC times in the 400-meter dash (58.79) -- a mark that also checks in 43rd nationally this season and ranks fourth all-time at Lynchburg -- and the 800-meter run (2:20.1). That race jumped Mitchell to fifth on Lynchburg's all-time leaderboard, with teammate junior Michela Cholak (Ocean Township, N.J.) (2:20.29) sixth on the all-time list in the event.

Two Lynchburg women -- sophomore Stephanie Burnett (Midlothian, Va.) and freshman Zoe Scales (Danville, Va.) -- posted all-time second-place performances in events. Scales ran a 9.37-second 60-meter hurdles in the preliminary round to mark a program runner-up time and also the ODAC's second-best mark this year.

Burnett's 18:21.71 5,000-meter race also ranks second all-time for Lynchburg, trailing only Johnson's performance earlier this season. Burnett ranks fifth in the ODAC with that time.

Two more Hornet freshmen broke into the league's top five on the weekend.

Donzailya Berg's (Stephens City, Va.) 16-3 ¾ long jump put her fourth on the league's list this season, and Bailey Casto (Evington, Va.) also cracked the ODAC's top five in the pole vault, topping out at 10-6 to rank fourth in the conference.

Lynchburg's indoor track & field teams will head to Blacksburg, Va., for the Virginia Tech Challenge next weekend before gearing up for the ODAC championship meet the following Sunday, Feb. 24.