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Jeff Nations

Cavs' Smith just misses NCAA finals

Former Handley High School and University of Virginia All-America track athlete Ayla Smith came up just short in her bid to qualify for finals the 400-meter hurdles during Wednesday night's preliminary round at the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships in Des Moines, Iowa.

Smith, a senior, earned second-team All-America honors with her 10th-place finish. Smith's time of 56.54 seconds set a new school record, surpassing Erin Crawford's 2006 mark of 56.87. It was Smith's first appearance in the NCAA Outdoor Championships.

Smith finishes her collegiate career as Virginia's all-time leader in all three hurdle events -- the 100-meter and 400-meter hurdles during the outdoor season, and the 60-meter hurdles during the indoor season. Her 100 hurdles time of 13.51 (set in 2009) and 60 hurdles time (8.39) both stand as school records in those events, giving Smith three school marks in all.

She also holds the indoor and outdoor school records in the distance medley relay, plus the ACC meet record in the pentathlon 60-meter hurdles (8.39). She ranks third at Virginia with a pentathlon score of 3,879.

Smith earned her first All-America honor during the indoor season as the 400-meter leg of the Cavaliers' distance medley relay team that finished third at the NCAA Indoor Championships.

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