Track and Field: Clemson Invitational Begins Today

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Track and Field: Clemson Invitational Begins Today

Georgia’s track and field teams make the short trip to Clemson, S.C., for their second of six 2019 indoor regular season meets with the Clemson Invitational arriving on Friday and Saturday.

The fifth-ranked Bulldogs and the eighth-ranked Georgia women will join meet host Clemson, Florida, Kentucky, Georgia Tech, Duke, Texas, UCF and Harvard at the meet.  UGA will return to Clemson for the Bob Pollock Invitational on Jan. 25-26 when many of the multi-event team members will open.

Live Results: For live results to this weekend’s meet, please visit:http://gado.gs/15x.

Kyprianou’s Comments: “This weekend will serve as what I will call our true opener against some great competition in a world-class facility that has seen some fast times and performances,” said head coach Petros Kyprianou.  “As we continue to develop a plethora of youngsters to be NCAA scorers, this meet will serve as a true test of where we are and knowing where we stand against national caliber competition.  It is also great that it is a very short trip to access a state of the art indoor facility.  Clemson has done a terrific job with its facility and with the way the staff runs its meets.  Both meets this week and next week at Clemson will show us where this team is headed and how we can get ready for the meet that matters the most, NCAA Championships.”

Who’s Competing & When: Ten Georgia team members are slated to begin competition at 2:30 p.m. on Friday.  Freshmen Titiana Marsh and Sterling Lester will join sophomore transfer Aliyah Whisby in the women’s long jump a week after Marsh won her debut in Birmingham, Ala., in the event.  Whisby was the high jump winner in her Lady Bulldog debut.  Senior Denzel Comenentia, who stands No. 2 on the current national performance list in the weight throw, opens in the men’s shot put alongside multi-eventers Johannes Erm, a sophomore, and Kyle Garland, a freshman.  Comenentia won the shot at the 2018 NCAA outdoor meet and was the runner-up at last year’s Nationals.

Junior Kayla Smith, sophomore transfer Carson Dingler and freshman Courtney Long will begin in the women’s pole vault at that time as well.  Smith moved up to No. 8 on the school’s all-time top-10 list with her performance last week.  On the track, freshman Imani Carothers will compete in the 60-meter hurdles at the same time.

Others competing this weekend for the Georgia women are: senior Mary Terry, juniors Micaiah Ransby, Katie Jackson, Amber Tanner, Makenzi Kopp, Chelsea Zoller, sophomores Lynna Irby, Skyla Beal, Halle McClintock and freshmen Sakari Famous, Emma Rose Bagwell and Anna Marian Block.

For the men, seniors Michael Nicholls, Jonathan Raines, Daniel Navarro, Raytez Jenkins, Keenon Laine, juniors Darius Carbin, Tyler Jones, sophomores Antonios Merlos, Michael Hans, Justes Nance and freshmen Ziggy Zoller, Elija Godwin and Clay Pender are expected to suit up for the Bulldogs.

FLASHBACK – Bulldogs Thrive At 2018 Clemson Invite: There were a number of exceptional performances when Georgia competed at the Clemson Invitational last year:

  • Keturah Orji, who most recently won The Bowerman for being the NCAA’s most elite track and field student-athlete, set American, collegiate, Georgia and facility records to win the triple jump (47 feet, 8 inches) en route to her third national indoor crown in the event.
  • Comenentia swept the weight (73-6.75) and the shot (65-11) in his season opener for both events.  The SEC Field Athlete of the Week following those performances went on to earn First Team All-America honors in both last year.
  • Carbin soared over the high jump bar at 7-3 to win his opener in the event before taking seventh at Nationals.
  • Mady Fagan also cleared a season-best height of 6-0.75 to take third in the high jump.

A Glimpse At The Bulldogs’ Last Meet: The Bulldog men opened their season with four top collegiate finishes, including the nation’s second-best weight throw this season, at the UAB Blazer Invitational on Jan. 11.  Comenentia launched the second-best effort of his career in the weight of 77-2 to be the top collegiate finisher (second overall) and move to No. 2 on the current national list.  He worked up to his top mark on his fifth throw and this effort only trails his winning throw at the 2018 SEC meet.  Nicholls trimmed .09 off his time from the 2018 season opener and won the 60m hurdle final.  He clocked a 7.77 in the prelims, which matched the second-fastest time of his career and stands sixth nationally, to finish .16 ahead of the nearest competitor.  Nicholls won the finals with a 7.80. 

A true freshman racing in his first meet also brought top honors back to Athens.  Godwin took off for a 33.54 to win the 300m and was one of only two competitors to break 34 seconds in the 37-main field.  Also making his Bulldog debut was junior transfer Taylor Scarbrough, who led a string of seven straight finishers in the 5000m with a 14:54.51.  Carbin was the runner-up in the high jump, topping seven feet at 7-0.50 to move into the top 11 nationally for 2019.  In addition, Garland clocked an 8.02 in the 60m hurdles, which positioned him in the ninth spot in the school record books and bumped former Bulldog and NFL All Pro running back Todd Gurley (8.12, 2013) down to 10th on the list. 

The Georgia women joined the Bulldogs in Birmingham and had three victories during their first outing.  Whisby, a heptathlete transfer, cleared 5-10.75 on her third try to win the high jump with an SEC leading mark during her first meet as a Lady Bulldog.  She also took fourth in the 60mH final after dropping her time from 8.63 to 8.46 from the prelims to the final.  Marsh soared 19-9 on her fifth of six attempts to win the long jump over teammate Imani Carothers (19-4).  Marsh ranks second nationally among freshmen and is third overall competitor on the national list from the SEC. 

Ansley Heavern rounded out the Lady Bulldog winners after completing her 5000m laps in 17:38.95.  Smith reached 13-3.50 on her second attempt in the pole vault to take second and take over the No. 8 spot on the school’s all-time top-10 list.  In addition, Lester was second in the 60m hurdles with an 8.43 and Carothers clocked an 8.44 for third place.  Carothers also finished second in the long jump with an effort of 19-4.  Also of note, Irby blistered the rest of her heat with a 37.14 to take second overall in the 300m. 

Where Does The Indoor Season Take The Dogs: While the Boston Opener featuring only Jessica Drop from UGA in December was the first official indoor meet of the year, many more of Georgia’s team members opened last weekend at the UAB meet or will open this weekend. 

Between the first meet in Birmingham and the NCAA Championships there in March, there are regular season trips to Clemson, Lincoln, Neb., Fayetteville, Ark., and Ames, Iowa.  The Bulldogs start their postseason at the SEC Championships in Fayetteville on Feb. 22-23.

How To Keep Up With The Dogs: Updates from Georgia’s track and field and cross country teams can always be found on Twitter/Instagram (UGATrack) and Snapchat (ugatrack).

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