Bulldog Track & Field Travels To Texas Relays, Yellow Jacket Invite

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Bulldog Track & Field Travels To Texas Relays, Yellow Jacket Invite

UGA track and field – Asianna Covington
Asianna Covington
(Photo by John Kelley)
[su_spacer size=”20″] Georgia’s track and field teams will travel this week to Austin for the 88th-annual Nike Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays and to Atlanta for the yearly Yellow Jacket Invitational.
[su_spacer size=”40″] These meets come a week after the Bulldogs opened their outdoor season at home with the Georgia Relays last weekend.
[su_spacer size=”40″] Nine throwers traveled on Wednesday for the Texas Relays and will compete Thursday through Saturday in a meet featuring more than 7,000 collegiate and high school competitors. Forty-seven Bulldogs will also make the short trip to Atlanta for Georgia Tech’s first home meet of the year.
[su_spacer size=”40″] Action for Georgia at the Relays starts with junior Shelby Ashe and sophomore Asianna Covington in the women’s hammer at 1:30 p.m. ET on Thursday and continues on Friday and Saturday. A group of Bulldog distance runners will start the Yellow Jacket meet in the 5000 meters on Friday night at 8:30 p.m. and the rest will compete for most of the day on Saturday.
[su_spacer size=”40″] The Lady Bulldogs open the year sixth in the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) preseason poll while the Georgia men are ranked eighth nationally. The Georgia women finished third at the 2015 NCAA indoor meet and the Bulldog men tied for 15th.
[su_spacer size=”40″] “Our first meet is designed for many of the people who normally don’t travel and compete to do so and I think we took advantage of that opportunity,” said Bulldog head coach Wayne Norton. “A lot of our team from the Atlanta is excited about competing even closer to home and hopefully this will continue to establish the start of the season for many of those competing, especially for the group who didn’t compete indoors. Opportunities are limited and weather is unpredictable so we have to make the most of them. The weather is cooperating right now and hopefully our payoff starts coming in four to five weeks.”
[su_spacer size=”40″] Who is making the trip for Georgia?
Georgia is traveling Ashe, Covington, graduate student Jenna Wargo, seniors Burke McCarty and Nick Vena, juniors Braydon Anderson and Ashinia Miller and sophomores Alex Larsson and Alex Poursanidis to meet the field at Texas’ facility.
[su_spacer size=”40″] The Bulldogs have 30 women scheduled to make the bus trip to Atlanta, including 2015 indoor First Team All-Americans Quintunya Chapman, Chanice Porter and Kendell Williams who will be making their outdoor season debuts. Devon Artis, Natalie Bordes, Hailey Branch, Allie Castro, Victoria Coppage, Sara Dort, Rachael Doverspike, Holly Ebbets, Mady Jean Fagan, Anna Gandolfo, Sarah Gardner, Morgan Green, Ashley Henry, Lauren Hovis, Courtney Howley, Marrion Kalafut, Lauren Kelly, Brooke Koblitz, Addy Lippitt, Anna Machovec, Bret McDaniel, Kate Northrop, Ashley Powell, Erika Ramsey, Katie Stone, Laurel Sumner and Lara Way are the other Georgia women scheduled to compete.
[su_spacer size=”40″] On the men’s side, junior Garrett Scantling and sophomore Devon Williams, who both scored in the heptathlon at the 2015 NCAA Indoor Championships, join Drew Branch, Jamario Calhoun, Henry Dwyer, Caleb Ebbets, Ayrian Evans, Charles Grethen, Christian Harrison, Jimmy Hicks, Raytez Jenkins, Bryan Kamau, Jon Okoye, Zack Sims, Kisean Smith, Maicel Uibo and Derrick White in the Yellow Jacket field.
[su_spacer size=”40″] Fast Start
[su_spacer size=”10″] A number of Bulldogs wasted little time surging to the top of the national ranks in their respective events following the season opener last weekend (Georgia Relays in Athens).
● Shelby Ashe made her outdoor debut for Georgia after transferring from California and surged to second on this year’s performance list with the sixth-best hammer throw (202 feet, 8 inches) in school history.
● Drew Branch opened his final outdoor season with a personal-best 400 time of 46.78 to move atop the 2015 SEC list and fourth on the national list.
● Branch also ran a leg on the Bulldog 4×400 relay team that clocked a 3:09.10, which is currently tied for third nationally.
● Nick Vena bounced back from his indoor finale to launch the nation’s second-best shot put throw this year at 63-4 to finish only behind 2012 Olympic bronze medalist and former Bulldog Reese Hoffa (67-4).
● Ashinia Miller stands fourth on the national shot put list after he finished one spot behind Vena at the Bulldogs’ opener with a toss of 61-11.50.
● A First Team All-American as a true freshman in 2014, Alex Poursanidis quickly shot to this year’s No. 3 spot on the national performance list after winning the hammer throw with an effort of 219-10.
● Alex Larsson, who joined Poursanidis at last year’s NCAAs as a true freshman, is sixth on the national list after he reached a career-best distance of 215-4 in the hammer on his second try of the meet.
[su_spacer size=”40″] Opening Up Outdoors
[su_spacer size=”10″] Quintunya Chapman, Chanice Porter, Kendell Williams, Garrett Scantling, Maicel Uibo and Devon Williams, among others, are competing for the first time outdoors this year at the Yellow Jacket Invite. Here is how this group fared the last time out:
● Chapman last competed at the NCAA indoor meet and was sixth in the pentathlon. The Hinesville, Ga., native was also sixth in the heptathlon the last time she competed outdoors at the 2014 NCAA outdoor meet.
● Porter scored for the second time in a row at the 2015 NCAA Indoor Championships in the long jump and was fifth at last year’s outdoor Nationals.
● Kendell Williams has won the last two NCAA pentathlon crowns indoors with collegiate records and captured the heptathlon title at the 2014 NCAA outdoor meet.
● Scantling finished second in the heptathlon at the 2015 NCAA Indoor Championships by just two points and was fourth in the decathlon at last year’s NCAA outdoor meet.
● Uibo opens his outdoor season after sustaining a hamstring injury during the first event of the heptathlon to start the 2015 NCAA Indoor Championships. He wrapped up his 2014 outdoor season by winning the NCAA decathlon title.
● Devon Williams took fifth in the heptathlon at this year’s indoor Nationals after redshirting last year’s indoor and outdoor seasons.

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Greg is closing in on 15 years writing about and photographing UGA sports. While often wrong and/or out of focus, it has been a long, strange trip full of fun and new friends.