UVA Track and Field welcomes Class of 2023
UVA interim track and field and cross country head coach Jason Dunn announced the addition of seven incoming student-athletes this week, as the programs welcomed Natalie Bardach (Vienna, Va.) and Maya Maloney (Boise, Idaho) to the women’s team and Bryson Crites (Trabuco Canyon, Calif.), Jacob Hunter (Leesburg, Va.), Kyle Mosteller (Amherst County, Va.), Claudio Romero (Santiago, Chile) and Derek Pekar (Ventura, Calif.) to the men’s roster.
The incoming athletes join Ariel Arbiv (Atlanta, Ga.), Riley Larsen (Point Pleasant, N.J.), Jacob Lemmon (Sanibel, Fla.), Justin Diehl (Saint Leonard, Md.), Emma Myer (Branchville, N.J.), Elby Omohundro (Midlothian, Va.), Alahna Sabbakhan (Washington D.C.) and Jada Seaman (Pikesville, Md.), who signed in the winter of 2018.
“We are thrilled to welcome our signees as members of the University of Virginia class of 2023,” Dunn said. “Key additions were made on both the men’s and women’s side to further strengthen our teams and position us to contend for the ACC and NCAA Championships. As always, one of the key areas of focus for our program is cross country and in the distance events. Accordingly, we were able to add some very talented depth to our men’s and women’s distance squads.”
After graduating three-time All-American honoree Bridget Guy (Greensburg, Pa.) and two-time All-American honoree Kelly McKee, the women’s program will look to replace the depth in its field events.
“Coach Mario Wilson did a great job of bringing in a very strong group of pole vaulters to significantly reload and enhance that event area,” Dunn said. “The women’s class overall is highlighted by Jada Seaman, who will not only provide an immediate impact in the field where she won a national title in the long jump, but also on the track with her versatile sprint capabilities. Alahna Sabbakhan, also a versatile athlete, seems poised to contribute immediately in relays as well as in the middle-distance events.”
The men’s team graduated three All-American honorees in three-time All-American distance runner Brent Demarest (Charleston, S.C.), three-time All-American and four-time ACC champion in the hammer Hilmar Jonsson (Reyjavik, Iceland) and five-time shot put All-American Oghenakpobo Efekoro (Brooklyn, N.Y.).
“On the men’s side, Claudio Romero should make an immediate impact for us in the discus as one of the top junior aged throwers in the world,” said Dunn. “Along with fellow discus specialist Jacob Lemmon, we have added two elite recruits to a throws group that has continually thrived under Coach Martin Maric’s guidance.
“An area of focus for our program going forward will be the multi-events and we have made significant strides to this end with the addition of Elby Omohundro from nearby Richmond and Derek Pekar, one of the top decathletes in California high school history.”
The Cavaliers will open the 2019-20 season with a combined 15 incoming student-athletes, who will look to build upon last year’s success. Virginia recorded 13 All-America honors during the year and an individual national title from Jordan Scott (Portmore, Jamaica) in the men’s indoor triple jump. The men’s team captured its fourth top-20 finish in five years at the NCAA Outdoor Championships, while the women’s program recorded its best NCAA finish at the outdoor meet since 2011.
The Cavaliers will open the 2019-20 campaign at the Liberty Challenge in Lynchburg, Va., on August 30.