T&F: Aliyah Whisby Sets NCCA Mark at Torrin Lawrence Memorial, Meet Continues Today

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T&F: Aliyah Whisby Sets NCCA Mark at Torrin Lawrence Memorial, Meet Continues Today

Georgia's Aliyah Whisby during the Torrin Lawrence Memorial track meet in Athens, Ga., on Friday, Apr. 26, 2019. (Photo by Kristin M. Bradshaw)
Georgia’s Aliyah Whisby during the Torrin Lawrence Memorial track meet in Athens, Ga., on Friday, Apr. 26, 2019. (Photo by Kristin M. Bradshaw)

Led by sophomore Aliyah Whisby’s NCAA leading mark in the long jump, Georgia’s track and field teams posted a handful of highlights during the opening day of the Torrin Lawrence Memorial in Athens, Ga., on Friday.

A week after tying for the long jump national lead at 21 feet, 8 inches at the Mt. SAC Relays, Whisby took off for another personal record on her first attempt on Friday. The Newnan, Ga., native soared 22-2.25 with a wind legal 0.6 meter/second to take sole control of the NCAA lead, move to No. 2 on the all-time UGA list and third on the 2019 world list.  

Whisby’s second-place mark overtook the facility record of 22-1.75 set by former Lady Bulldog NCAA champion Chanice Porter at this meet in 2018.  However, Chantel Malone of the British Virgin Islands traveled 22-7.75 on her fifth attempt on Friday to reset the facility record. Malone’s mark is the 2019 world leader.

In one of the deeper long jumps around, freshmen Titiana Marsh and Imani Carothers both went 19-8 and tied for 11thin the competition.

The meet’s second day kicks off with junior Kayla Smith and freshman Courtney Long in the women’s pole vault and sophomore Skyla Beal in the women’s shot put at 11 a.m. on Saturday.  Track events begin with the women’s 4×100-meter relay at 12:50 p.m.

The Bulldogs will honor the late, great Torrin Lawrence and recognize the program’s seniors who are saying farewell to their time in Athens at 12:30 p.m.  

Georgia's Marie-Therese Obst during the Torrin Lawrence Memorial track meet in Athens, Ga., on Friday, Apr. 26, 2019. (Photo by Kristin M. Bradshaw)
Georgia’s Marie-Therese Obst during the Torrin Lawrence Memorial track meet in Athens, Ga., on Friday, Apr. 26, 2019. (Photo by Kristin M. Bradshaw)

The first 100 fans on Saturday will receive free T-shirts, there will be a raffle featuring Bulldog gear and Apple AirPods and there will be a Kids Zone, including a bounce house and face painting.  In addition, fans can participate in a sack race at 2:30 p.m. to try and win a Nintendo Switch.

Also on Saturday, Bulldog legend Keturah Orji will open in the triple jump.  Already sporting one of the world’s best long jump marks this year (21-11.50) from Georgia’s first home meet at the Spec Towns Invitational, Orji will be making her season debut in her featured event on Saturday at 1:30 p.m.  The seven-time NCAA champion in the event finished as the indoor and outdoor collegiate record holder in the triple jump and was fourth at the 2016 Olympics.

Live results for the Torrin Lawrence Memorial are located at: gado.gs/2gj

“It was a good today because we had some high-level marks with Aliyah Whisby being the highlight,” said head coach Petros Kyprianou.  “Her jump set the tone and helped continue our tradition in the jumps. Elija (Godwin’s) performance in the 200m was a very nice surprise, especially since we are still training pretty heavily right now.  I’m very pleased with how everyone competed today and with the effort.  Johannes Erm also had his best open long jump of his career.

“We are looking forward to Saturday and seeing how we finish.  We are having amazingly great weather, probably the best conditions of anywhere in the country so we are happy to be competing at home.”

Training for his postseason in the decathlon, sophomore Johannes Erm took advantage of a 3.2 m/s wind on his first try in the long jump to win with a season-best mark of 25-2.  While any mark of 2.0 m/s or higher is considered wind-aided in the open events, combined event athletes reap the benefit of no wind readings during their full competitions.

Freshman Elija Godwin continued to watch his career best in the 200m drop as he won his fourth straight race at the distance.  Godwin clocked a 20.59 to move to No. 9 on UGA’s all-time top-10 list. Senior Michael Nicholls, who is training for the 110m hurdles, ran a 21.06 to take fourth.

Georgia's Johannes Erm during the Torrin Lawrence Memorial track meet in Athens, Ga., on Friday, Apr. 26, 2019. (Photo by Kristin M. Bradshaw)
Georgia’s Johannes Erm during the Torrin Lawrence Memorial track meet in Athens, Ga., on Friday, Apr. 26, 2019. (Photo by Kristin M. Bradshaw)

Junior Marie-Therese Obst reached her top distance of the day of 157-2 on her third attempt to win the second meet of 2019 in the javelin.  With only two competitors in the event, Obst claimed her victory by more than 50 feet.

Also of note, junior Micaiah Ransby ran a season-best time of 23.70 to be the top collegiate finisher and came within .02 of winning the 200m. Sophomore Chelsea Zoller ran a 1:01.68 to take third in the 400m hurdles a week after setting a personal record of 1:01.58.

Results and recaps from the Torrin Lawrence Memorial will be found at georgiadogs.com.  News and updates from Georgia’s track and field and cross country teams are always located on Twitter/Instagram at@UGATrack.

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Greg is closing in on 11 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.