The University of Georgia track and field teams wrapped up their regular season with 16 top collegiate finishes and a flurry of top-10 national performances at the Georgia Invitational in Athens on Saturday.
Stalled twice with weather delays, the Bulldogs honored 21 seniors during the meet and finished strong in their final tune-up before the coming Southeastern Conference Championships.
“I thought it was a good day, can’t complain,” said Bulldog head coach Petros Kyprianou. “Overall, I am pretty happy with how we managed our composure in these conditions. We still had a bunch of people train through this meet as we ready for the postseason and I think they got the most out of this meet. We will try and be as efficient as we can at SECs with our mind always on NCAAs and the Olympic Trials.
“Individually today, I am proud of Shelby Ashe for steadily improving as we get ready for the conference meet. I’m excited about the development of our sprints, especially with Reggie Glover’s performance in the 400. Keturah Orji had a strong opener in the long jump, as did Chanice Porter as they both got Regional qualifying marks. That’s exactly what we wanted from those two from this meet.”
One of those seniors honored, Shelby Ashe, launched two separate marks that would count as collegiate personal records to grab the top collegiate finish and take second overall. Following a second throw of 215 feet, 11 inches, Ashe moved to 216-8 on her next toss to take over the No. 3 spot on the national list and improve her No. 4 spot in the school record books.
Sixth place in the hammer went to Bulldog junior Asianna Covington, who also posted the longest throw of her career. Covington went 195-8 on her fourth try, which bettered her No. 7 place on the Lady Bulldogs’ all-time top-10 list set in 2014.
After taking control of the national lead in the triple jump last week, sophomore Keturah Orji matched the country’s fourth-best mark in the long jump to win despite rain coming down during the competition. Her second attempt measured 21-6, which was three inches shorter than her school record mark last year at this meet.
Another pair of Georgia women also went 3-4 in the long jump with jumps longer than 20-10. Senior Chanice Porter took only two jumps and finished with a top effort of 21-1.50 to move into the nation’s top 11. Junior Kendell Williams had her top performance on her third try and finished fourth at 20-10.50 as she trains for the heptathlon.
Also of note, Williams finished third in the shot put with a mark of 43-6. This is her third personal best in an open event in two weeks.
Sophomore Devon Artis managed her second personal best of the year in the 800-meter run, finishing with the eighth-best time in school history. Artis, who primarily ran the 400m as a freshman, was the fastest collegiate finisher and second overall after completing two laps in 2:07.70.
Another career-best effort for the Lady Bulldogs came in the pole vault. Junior Georgia Stefanidi was second overall (top collegiate finisher) after soaring over the bar at 13-2.50 on her first try. This improved her No. 8 spot in the school record books.
Sophomore Emily Savage took over the 10th spot on Georgia’s all-time top-10 list with a third attempt clearance at 12-10.75 for sixth place in the vault.
The competition in the men’s shot put featured the 2004 Olympic gold medalist in Adam Nelson and the 2012 bronze medalist in Reese Hoffa and the results did not disappoint. Eight throwers surpassed 60 feet with the top five all passing 64 feet. Senior Ashinia Miller had the best finish for a collegian after his opening throw traveled 64-5.25 to give him fifth place.
While the unattached Steven Mozia won the shot at 67-5.25, Nelson finished second (67-2.25) and Hoffa was third (65-10.25).
Junior Reggie Glover departed the Spec Towns Track with a personal record of 46.77 to be second overall and the fastest collegian in the 400m. In addition, senior Christian Harrison clocked a 47.61 and freshman Jeramey Hampton ran a 47.91 as they trained for the 800m.
Saving his top toss for his sixth and final attempt, freshman Denzel Comenentia reached 218-9 to win his second meet of the year on the Spec Towns Track. Comenentia also finished seventh in the shot put with a fourth throw of 61-7.50.
During his final home meet, senior Jimmy Hicks ran a 9:27.34 to win the 3000m steeplechase as his senior teammate Steven Spevacek paced him through the first laps.
Another runner completing her final meet for Georgia was senior Brooke Koblitz, who earned the victory in the 1500m. Koblitz ran a 4:31.72 to win by six seconds.
Senior Leontia Kallenou used her final chance at the Spec Towns Track as a collegian to win with a clearance of 5-8.75 on her first try.
Jon Okoye, Jamario Calhoun, Glover and Maurice Freeman combined to finish with top collegiate honors (second overall) in the 4x100m relay after completing their lap in 39.96.
Freeman returned to the track in the 200m and was third overall (top collegiate finisher) after running a 20.90.
Sophomore Addy Lippitt won the meet’s first event after completing her 12 laps of the 5000m in 18:02.01, marking her second collegiate victory. Sophomore Laurel Sumner finished with runner-up honors thanks to her 18:05.16.
After running a career-best time of 11.44 earlier this year in Athens, sophomore Katie Stone was the top collegiate finisher (second overall) with an 11.60 in the 100m on Saturday. The Macon, Ga., native also finished with the outright 200m title after being the only runner under 24 seconds (23.94).
Also in the sprints, senior Ashley Henry was honored at the finish line and then crossed it as the top collegian in the 400m hours later. Taking third overall, Henry ran a 54.24 in her final home meet.
Sophomore Karl Saluri, who leads the nation in the decathlon, was second overall and the top collegiate finisher in the open long jump at 24-1. His training partner and teammate Maicel Uibo took fourth (23-8.25) as both continue their postseason training. Uibo completed his day taking seventh in the discus with an effort of 153-5. Also, junior Devon Williams took second in the 110m hurdles after crossing the line in 14.21.
The Bulldogs will return to action for the SEC Championships in Tuscaloosa, Ala., on May 12-14.
Full results from the Georgia Invitational will be posted at georgiadogs.com.
Updates from Georgia’s track and field and cross country program can always be found on Twitter/Instagram (@UGATrack) and on Snapchat (ugatrack).