Bulldog sophomore Keturah Orji (Keh-TUR-uh OR-gee, sounds like the letter ‘G’) sailed past her own NCAA leading mark in the triple jump to highlight the Samford Invitational in Birmingham, Ala., on Friday.
Orji, who had a previous NCAA No. 1 mark of 44 feet, 5 ½ inches this season, traveled 45-2.50 on her third attempt to set a meet and facility record on the CrossPlex runway. Also posting a mark of 44-11.50 in her series, Orji now leads the country by nearly a foot and a half. Orji’s effort on Friday night measured a quarter inch longer than her second-place jump at the 2015 NCAA Indoor Championships.
A number of other Georgia competitors are competing at the Samford Open, which is also in Birmingham, and at the Husky Classic in Seattle, Wash.
“I thought this was a good training day for us with the highlight coming from Keturah,” said Bulldog head coach Petros Kyprianou. “We adjusted her run a little bit and it worked today so I am pleased about the mark she put up. Georgia (Stefanidi) having a (personal record) in the pole vault was also nice and I was proud of the way our women’s weight throwers showed up. I am excited to see what they can do at SECs, especially with how consistent Shelby (Ashe) has been. This meet is our last tune-up and our final opportunity to put up NCAA qualifying performances so we are hoping for the best on Saturday.”
Georgia will start day two of the Samford Open on Saturday morning at 10 a.m. ET with the women’s weight throw, men and women’s long jump and men’s 60-meter hurdle prelims.
The second day of events at the Husky Classic will begin on Saturday. The gun will fire at noon with four more Bulldogs scheduled to run. Several of the events at these meets will be run later Friday night.
Sprints coach Ken Harnden will watch his sprinters run in the 4×400 relay in Nashville, Tenn., at the Music City Challenge on Saturday at 6:10 p.m.
Also in the jumps, the Lady Bulldogs went 1-2 in the high jump with matching 5-10 marks. Junior Leontia Kallenou, who is a three-time NCAA champion in the event, cleared the height on her first try to clinch the win. Sophomore Mady Fagan, who reached 6 feet in the facility earlier this year, took second after clearing 5-10 on her second try.
Junior Georgia Stefanidi came through with two third-attempt clearances in the pole vault to finish second with a new personal-best effort. She improved her No. 6 spot in the school record books after going over the bar at 13-7.25.
A second meet record for Georgia came from true freshman Denzel Comenentia in the shot put. Comenentia worked up to a fourth throw of 61-4.75 to lock down his first collegiate victory.
Senior Shelby Ashe shot three and a half feet past her previous season best to take second in the weight throw. Lifting her fifth throw 65-7.75, Ashe moved to third on this year’s Southeastern Conference list and 21st on the national list.
Her junior teammate, Asianna Covington, finished one spot behind Ashe with a season-best performance of her own. Covington also had her best effort on her fifth try and reached 65-0.50 to have the fourth-best throw in the league this year.
With two weeks before he knocks out his second heptathlon of the year at the SEC Championships, senior Garrett Scantling was making a statement in the 60 hurdles. The Jacksonville, Fla., native sped to the fastest time of his career (7.93) to finish second in the open event. Scantling boosted himself from sixth to fifth on the Bulldog all-time top-10 list with his performance.
Scantling also posted three first-attempt clearances in the pole vault and finished fourth after going over the bar at 16-2.75.
One of Scantling’s training partners, sophomore Karl Saluri, also managed a season-best time in the 60 hurdles of 8.47.
Junior Kendell Williams and graduate student Xenia Rahn continued their training for their second pentathlon of the year. In the open 60 hurdles, Williams ran an 8.35 in the prelims and finals and was the top collegiate finisher (second overall) while Rahn matched her season best with an 8.55 for fourth in the finals.
Williams also improved on her second and third attempts in the long jump to a distance of 19-7.50 before passing on her last three tries and taking third.
In the sprints, junior Reggie Glover recorded his first win of the year in the 200 with a season-best time of 21.59.
Senior Brooke Koblitz tallied a career-best time in the mile of 4:54.69 to finish fourth in the 38-woman field.
Sticking to the distances, sophomore Hailey Branch (9:58.58) and junior Morgan Green (10:01.22) both picked up personal-best times in the 3000 to cross the line in seventh and eighth place.
OnAnd to have to the men’s side, senior Jimmy Hicks ran the fastest time of his career in the 3000 at 8:20.65 for fifth place.
Senior Ashley Henry finished third in the 400 after clocking her second consecutive 54-second finish with a time of 54.54.
Also on the track, sophomore Katie Stone was just .01 off her personal best in the 60 with a 7.59 in the prelims before taking fifth in the finals with a 7.66.