ATHENS, Ga. — The No. 5 Lady Bulldogs and No. 6 Georgia men’s track and field team finished their final outdoor regular season meet of the year with a number of top-10 national marks at the second annual Torrin Lawrence Memorial on Saturday in Athens.
This marked the last meet before the Southeastern Conference Championships arrive next week in Knoxville, Tenn., on May 11-13.
The Bulldogs also honored the late, great Torrin Lawrence and recognized the program’s 17 seniors who are said farewell to their time in Athens. On Friday, a number of the seniors graduated at Sanford Stadium.
“This was an ideal situation for a low-key, laid-back tune-up for our postseason starting next week,” said head coach Petros Kyprianou. “Our teams are geared towards having success at NCAAs but we have to go through SECs to get there, which is going to be a great preview. This one gave our teams the opportunity to compete in an environment where there was some good competition, especially in the women’s long jump. Hopefully, this sharpens up their skills and focus going into the SEC Championships.”
Lawrence, who was the 2013 NCAA indoor 400-meter dash champion and who still owns of the top-10 fastest indoor 400m times in history, was honored with a video soon after the seniors were recognized on Saturday.
“This meet is solely dedicated to the late Torrin Lawrence,” Kyprianou said. “He’s one of the most impressive personalities I’ve met during my time and one of the most tremendous athletes of all time. His mother, Mrs. Davis, honored us with her presence and I think this is one of those things at the University of Georgia that we take very seriously. When we have any of our student-athletes who pass at such a young age after accomplishing so much on the track and getting a degree, we think it’s necessary to continue holding strong to that memory.”
Junior Denzel Comenentia matched his spot in the hammer throw on the 2018 national list with his performance in the shot put on Saturday. Posting three throws of at least 66 feet, 4 inches, Comenentia erupted for a fifth throw of 67-8 to win by 11 feet and shoot him from seventh to second on the NCAA list. His latest performance also puts him No. 2 in the school record books with the longest effort since 1995 (Brent Noon, 70-5.25).
Comenentia vaulted to second in the UGA record books in a third event after winning the discus by more than 35 feet. Following a second throw of 185-1, he improved to a personal-best mark of 192-11 on his fifth attempt, which stands 12th on the national list and is the best for the Bulldogs since 1996.
The national leader in the women’s high jump, Lady Bulldog senior Tatiana Gusin, celebrated her graduation on Friday by being the top collegiate finisher (second overall) in her event. She reached 6-1.25 (which would stand third on the national list) on her second attempt and was only edged by former South Carolina All-American Jeannelle Scheper (6-2.25).
Also in the high jump, junior Mary Terry pulled off a third attempt clearance at a career-best height of 5-9.25 to clinch third place.
In a women’s long jump competition that featured three over 19-10, sophomore Kate Hall hit a season-best mark of 21-9, which ties her with teammate Tara Davis at fourth on the national list, to be the top collegiate finisher and third overall. Former Lady Bulldog NCAA champion Chanice Porter won the event on her second attempt of 22-1.75, which topped a 10-year-old stadium record (former UGA All-American Patty Sylvester, 22-1) and moved her to No. 5 on the 2018 world list. Unattached Bianca Stuart slid into second overall with a sixth and final attempt of 21-10.25.
Already having a 44.05 in the 4x100m relay under their belt on the same track from the Spec Towns Invitational, Hall, freshman Lynna Irby, sophomore Micaiah Ransby and Davis combined for a 44.02 to pick up a two-second victory. This ties the third-fastest time in Georgia history and gives the Lady Bulldogs’ two top-three times this season.
Ransby returned in the 200m to win with the fastest time of her career. She sprinted to a 23.47 to take over the No. 9 spot on the school’s all-time top-10 list.
Freshman Justes Nance was second overall (top collegiate finisher) in the men’s 200m thanks to his career-best time of 20.94.
Junior Kendal Williams shot across the 100m finish line in 10.22 to be the top collegiate finisher (second overall) while senior Cejhae Greene clocked a 10.28 for third.
Junior Jeramey Hampton will be running the 800m when the postseason arrives next week. But on Saturday, he ran a lap in a career-best 47.24 to edge the nearest competitor.
Despite four fouls in the triple jump, senior Aliyah Johnson wrapped up her Bulldog home career by being the top collegiate finisher (third overall) with a mark of 41-3.25.
Senior Henry Dwyer did run the 800m at the meet and won with a 1:50.25 following the first sub-1:50 800m a month ago on the Spec Towns Track.
Sophomore Tairyn Montgomery opened with a javelin toss of 163-8 and won by nearly 40 feet. This marked Montgomery’s second-best performance of this season.
On the men’s side, junior Joe Kimura Smith also started with his best throw in the javelin and picked up a 30-foot victory with a mark of 182-5.
Georgia completed a 1-2-3 finish in the men’s 1500 as redshirt freshman Michael Hans ran a personal record of 3:55.73. Redshirt sophomore Jonathan Pelham was one second behind with a 3:56.64 while Davis Stockwell ran a 4:02.72 took third.
Senior Alex Larsson began the day by grabbing the top collegiate finish (second overall) in the men’s hammer. A day after graduating, Larsson reached 202-7 on his sixth and final attempt. Two-time SEC champion and former Bulldog All-American Alex Poursanidis won with a last throw of 227-11.
Also a graduating senior, Emily Savage finished first in the pole vault after clearing 13-1.50 on her third and final attempt.
Senior Anna Machovec completed her last home meet by winning the shot put with a top effort of 48-1.75 on her sixth try.
Sophomore Yanely Gomez also finished third overall (second collegiate finisher) in the 1500m after completing her laps in 4:31.40.