Georgia’s track and field teams finished day two of the Florida Relays with a flurry of exceptional performances in Gainesville, Fla., on Friday.
“Today was a great day for UGA track and field as we are proving that we are becoming a more complete team,” said Bulldog head coach Petros Kyprianou. “I am very pleased with the effort and early season results from all groups, sprints, throws and distances as the jumps and multis are idle this weekend.
“The highlight of the day belongs to our men’s team as they show that they want a piece of the success that our women had indoors. I am very proud of Maurice Freeman and Raytez Jenkins in the 200m as they show the hard work they have been putting in with Coach (Ken) Harnden and Coach (Devin) West. The two hammer throwers, Alex Poursanidis and Denzel Comenentia, continue to prove their consistency and value at the highest level of the NCAA. The three guys in the 800m also opened their season with a nice, smooth race in blazing fast fashion.
“As I have mentioned earlier, this is a testament of this new era of excitement and hard work. These young men and women hold each other accountable on a daily basis. There is no room for excuses, just plain hard work. I am looking forward to watching them develop and peak at the NCAA Championships in June.”
While Georgia swept the hammer throw at the 2015 Florida Relays, the Bulldog men posted two performances this year that were equally impressive. Junior Alex Poursanidis matched his career-long throw of 229 feet, 11 inches from last year’s meet to be the top collegiate finisher (second overall) in 2016 and stay in the nation’s top 10. His sixth throw not only topped former Bulldog and 2012 Olympian Kibwe Johnson in the competition, but it also kept Poursanidis in the top five nationally.
True freshman Denzel Comenentia also left the confines of the Percy Beard Track with a personal record in the hammer. The Amsterdam native started his series with a mark of 227-9, which gave him third place in the collegiate competition (fifth overall), put him at No. 8 in the school record books and kept Comenentia in the country’s top 10.
Fresh off of his scorching 45.77 in the 400-meter dash last week, junior Maurice Freeman shot to No. 9 on the school’s all-time top-10 list in the 200m with a career-best time of 20.64 on Friday. This moves the Arnoldsville, Ga., native into the top 10 nationally in his second event and gave him a third-place finish in the Invite race.
Sophomore Raytez Jenkins also mimicked his level of performance from last weekend. He was not far behind Freeman with a personal-best and nationally competitive time of 20.81 for eighth in the 200m.
The Bulldog middle distance runners also put themselves into the national mix with two times of 1:48. Senior Kisean Smith recorded a personal-record 800m time of 1:48.61 for 11th place, which moved him into the No. 7 spot in the school record books. His senior training partner Christian Harrison ran with Smith in his heat and clocked a 1:48.65 for 12th place.
Also in the 800m, true freshman Jeramey Hampton made his outdoor debut in the event and finished 25th overall with a 1:50.43.
Overcoming two fouls to open the competition, senior Shelby Ashe finished her six hammer throws off with a season-best toss of 203-6 for eighth place in the Invite. This moves the Stone Mountain, Ga., native into the top 15 nationally.
Senior Ashley Henry came within .03 seconds off her career-best time in the 400m to take 11th. Henry clocked a 53.34 as she steadily drops her 2016 times.
The women’s hammer and discus both started at 12 p.m. on Friday and junior Asianna Covington bounced back and forth between events. She reached 191 feet for the third time this season in the hammer (191-4) for seventh place and was 14th in the discus (149-5).
Action begins again at the Florida Relays at 11 a.m. on Saturday with the men’s discus Invite.