MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. - Felix Kitur won both the 800 and 1,500-meters for the second straight year, leading the VMI men’s track and field team on the final day of the Big South Outdoor Track and Field Championships, contested Saturday in Myrtle Beach, S.C. The Keydets wound up a tie for fourth place at the meet, on the strength of 78 total points.
In his trademark event, the 800-meters, Kitur dominated and won easily, clocking in at 1:48.79. The time was a new meet record, eclipsing the mark he set last year, and also set a new facility mark for Doug Shaw Stadium. It was Kitur’s fifth Big South outdoor 800-meter crown, and with the win, he becomes the first conference track and field athlete to ever win five titles in a single event.
Meanwhile, in the 1,500-meters, Kitur (3:50.80) edged out teammate Andrey Dmitriev (3:50.92) to claim the 800/1500 double for the second straight year. By doing so, Kitur becomes the first Big South athlete since 2003-04 to execute that double successfully in back to back years, and only the second ever to do so, joining Goran Nava of Radford. The times for both Kitur and Dmitriev were IC4A qualifying efforts as well.
Dmitriev was not done, however, as he returned for the 5,000-meters after a weather delay of nearly five hours. The Keydet standout would finish fourth in 14:47.78, and would lead three Keydets to points in the 5K, as Cabell Willis finished sixth (14:49.90) and Noah Hagos followed up his third-place run in the 10K Thursday with a seventh-place finish Saturday night (14:53.47). To put the times in perspective, only two Keydets had clocked in under 15 minutes in the 5,000-meters since at least 2003, with each coming over the past two seasons. Three accomplished the feat Saturday.
Dean Gonsalves also had a strong day, scoring in both the 800 and 1,500-meters. In the longer distance, he crossed the stripe eighth in a personal best time of 3:58.20, while his sixth-place effort in the 800 required a time of 1:55.44.
In addition, Ademola Titcombe wrapped up his conference career with a 14.03 meter triple jump (46’0 ½”), while Sean Connolly was fifth in the pole vault (3.95 meters/12’11 ½”).
All told, the Keydets finished in a tie with Charleston Southern, which logged 78 markers as well. Liberty captured the team title with 213 points, easily defeating second place Coastal Carolina and the Chanticleers’ 135-point total. High Point finished third with 98 markers, while Radford was sixth (57 pts.). Winthrop (55), Gardner-Webb (49.5), Campbell (31) and UNC Asheville (20) rounded out this year’s team standings.
“I was very proud of the way our team competed this weekend,” said VMI head coach Darrin Webb. “We fought for every point, and delivered a lot of great performances. Felix had a great finish to his conference career, and Andrey had two great races. Dean Gonsalves scored in two events as well, including a 1,500-meter personal best, and Dada Titcombe fought through injury to score in the triple. It was, very simply, a gritty, talent-based performance by our team, and I’m very pleased.”
VMI track and field will return to action next weekend, taking part in the Radford Last Chance meet.
The post-meet honors, including Most Outstanding Track Performer, Most Outstanding Field Performer, Coach of the Year, Freshman of the Year and the All-Academic Team will be announced Monday. The honors were not voted on immediately following the meet due to time constraints following the rain delay.