BLACKSBURG, Va. – Alexander Ziegler became Tech’s fourth individual to win a national championship, earning the crown in the men’s hammer throw on his final attempt. He beat teammate and national-leader Marcel Lomnicky at the very end, and their one-two finish provided the men’s team with 18 valuable points to put the men’s team in first place through four events.
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It looked as if national leader and 2009 national champion Marcel Lomnicky was going to win the event, but Ziegler saved his best for last, throwing a season-best 238-6 (72.69m) on his final attempt to push Lomnicky (237-4, 72.35m) into second place. Ziegler is the fourth individual to win an NCAA Championship at Tech, joining Lomnicky, Queen Harrison and Spyridon Jullien. Virginia Tech has now won nine NCAA Championships, all of which have come from track and field. Four of these titles have come in the men’s hammer throw, which is tied for third-best in all-time NCAA history.
“Alex and Marcel had a great battle today for the national title,” said Tech throws coach Greg Jack, who has now coached three different Hokie throwers to NCAA titles since 2005. “It was a great moment as their coach to watch them represent Virginia Tech.”
Lomnicky’s second-place finish gives him his fifth career All-America honor at Tech. Denis Mahmic did not advance past the trial flights, but still placed 14th (208-3, 63.49m) to earn second team All-America honors, his first career national honor. The Hokies have now had at least one participant earn All-America status in the men’s hammer throw eight of the last nine years.
Michael Hammond finished sixth in his heat, 14th overall, in the 1,500 meters (3:49.45) earning him second-team All-America honors but unfortunately, not a bid to Saturday’s finals. Jeff Artis-Gray finished 18th in the men’s long jump with his best distance of 24-5.5 (7.45m) coming on his third attempt. Sammy Dow also competed in the women’s 3,000-meter steeplechase, placing 22nd in 10:38.91.