BLACKSBURG, Va. – The VCU Men's & Women's Track & Field headed to the 2012 Virginia Tech Challenge and saw a number of positive performances from both sides.

Senior Nicole Walters impressed in the 800 meters, finishing in second place in the event while taking down her own school record in the event. The Orange, Va., native crossed the finish line in 2:12.26,  besting her previous school record time of 2:13.84 set back in 2011. "It's really good to see Nicole do so well," said VCU Head Coach Jon Riley. "I think she has the ability to better that record breaking performance, so I am excited to see how well she will do at the ECAC Championships in two weeks.  

After finishing in third place in the preliminaries of the women's 60 meter dash at 7.64 seconds, junior Dionna Hayes turned it up a notch in the finals to shave some time and move up a spot in the winner's circle. Hayes crossed in 7.51, earning second place honors.

"I was pleased with Dionna's performance," added Riley. "She is beginning to get in to form. I can see improvements, but we still need to fine tune some things prior to ECACs."  

Freshman sprinter Darius Vaughn continued his hot streak, placing fifth in the 200 meter dash with a time of 22.05 seconds. "I like the way Darius finished his race," commented Riley. "He improved on his IC4A qualifying time with a personal record today. If he stays focused and cleans up a few things in training, he may surprise himself the next time he steps on the track."

Freshman Kiara Porter set a school record in Blacksburg, with performance in the 400 meter dash. Porter ran a time of 54.35 seconds, giving her second place honors and breaking Shaunette Davey's school record from 2004 (54.77 seconds). "Kiara executed the acceleration phase the way we planned and ran the rest of the race with heart and determination," said Riley. "She put in the work at practice and it's the main reason why we have seen solid performances at the meets."

Freshman thrower Ryan Coles had what Coach Riley called a career changing day, becoming just the third thrower in VCU history to ever break the 16 meter mark missing out on 53 feet by a mere fraction of an inch. Coles' heave landed 16.14 meters and earned him third place honors. "This is a testament to all his hard work, dedication and ability to execute," added Riley. "This is what we have come to expect from our young throwers and we continually find ourselves excited by the direction they are headed in."

Senior Jazlynn Finney literally jumped into second place in the long jump, as she landed 5.76 meters.

Junior Alex Hinton turned in a solid performance in 1000 meters, placing eighth and qualifying for IC4As with a time of 2.28.75 seconds. "Alex ran a hard race and looked good while doing it," said Riley.

The Rams saw a number of student-athletes set personal records, including Andrew Shipp (triple jump – 14.11 meters), Kyle Sipple (600 meters – 1:21.69) and George Moore (400 meters – 49.45).

The Black & Gold had two athletes claim personal records in the same event, coming in the 1000 meters, in Niema Eaves (3:03.13) and Erin Geraghty (3:04.66).

The Rams will compete in the Mason Last Chance meet on Sunday, Feb. 26; it marks the last indoor meet that athletes have to qualify for either ECACs or IC4A Championships.