Junior Denzel Comenentia unleashed the country’s longest shot put toss this year to highlight the Clemson Invitational on Friday.
The second-ranked Bulldog men and the third-ranked Georgia women posted a series of season and personal bests on the track and in the field at the Clemson University Indoor Track on the meet’s first day.
“This is a meet where our groups are training through and I was very pleased with the results so far, keeping that in mind,” said Bulldog head coach Petros Kyprianou. “I think these performances set the tone for Saturday. Clemson has done a great job hosting and I’m glad we scheduled three meets there this season. Hopefully someone does something on Saturday to give us another couple NCAA qualifiers.”
Opening with an effort of 64 feet, 4 inches, Comenentia followed with a personal record of 65-11 to win and take control of the national lead. His effort is the best for the Bulldogs since Ashinia Miller, who was second to Comenentia on Friday, set the school record of 66-7.75 in 2015. Comenentia stands fifth on the 2018 world list, trailing Miller, who is fourth, and former Bulldog All-American Nick Vena, who has the world’s longest throw this year.
“I thought that was a nice personal record for Denzel and a mark that he can build on for the rest of the year,” Kyprianou said.
True freshman Tara Davis improved her collegiate personal best to 8.20 in the 60-meter hurdle final to take fourth. This is the third-best time in school history and propels her into the top 10 nationally. Davis was third in the qualifying round after clocking an 8.36.
“I am really proud of Tara’s effort in just her second collegiate meet,” said Kyprianou. “She was competing versus a talented field, including the national champion, and I think this performance showed Tara can qualify for Nationals in a second event.”
The Bulldog short sprinters left the track with first and second-place honors in the 60m. Junior Kendal Williams sped to a 6.67 for the second time this year to win and senior Cejhae Greene was second at 6.68. Williams also won the first round with a 6.68 while Greene was third checking in a 6.76.
“Another of our highlights was the guys finishing first and second in the 60,” said Kyprianou. “They are slowly improving. Hopefully those times can continue to drop closer to times that will qualify for NCAAs.”
Junior Kate Hall won her second consecutive meet of the year in the 60m by equaling her personal best with a 7.28, which is in the top three nationally. Hall managed a 7.32 for fifth place in the 60m qualifying round.
Repeating his third-place finish at Clemson two weeks ago, junior transfer Michael Nicholls bettered his top time in the 60mH to 7.83 to also improve his No. 3 time on the school’s all-time list. In the qualifying round, Nicholls was fourth with a 7.88.
“Kate was pretty tired and was still able to hit her (personal record),” Kyprianou said. “Nicholls proved with his time in the 60 hurdles that he is a serious contender and that is encouraging.”
Senior Emily Savage put her name on the school’s all-time top-10 list two weeks ago and then registered a better mark on Friday to take fourth in the pole vault. Savage cleared 13-2.25, which is eighth in the UGA record books, on her second attempt.
A pair of junior Lady Bulldogs went 2-3 in the 5000m with personal-best times. Grace Tavani completed her laps in 17:03.78 while Addy Lippitt ran a 17:07.09 in their first action since helping to lead UGA to a 17th-place finish at the 2017 NCAA Cross Country Championships.
Senior Henry Dwyer finished with a personal record in the mile (4:10.83) for fourth place in the men’s 5000m.
Senior Jon Moses ran a 5000m time of 14:47.28 in the men’s race to take second to lead the Bulldogs. Led by freshman Michael Hans taking third with a 14:52.42, Georgia also finished third through ninth in the event.
The Bulldogs crank back up on Saturday at 11 a.m. with the women’s high jump (juniors Bailey Weiland and Mary Terry, senior Mady Fagan). The Clemson Invitational concludes with the men’s 4x400m relay at 3 p.m. and freshman Ryne Bevan, Greene, Williams and junior Jeramey Hampton are expected to pass the baton for UGA.