TRACK & FIELD: Five Bulldogs Punch Tickets to NCAA Championships

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TRACK & FIELD: Five Bulldogs Punch Tickets to NCAA Championships

UGA track and field – Alex Larsson
Alex Larsson during the Georgia Relays at the Spec Towns Track Complex on Friday, March 20, 2015 in Athens, Ga.
(Photo by John Kelley)
[su_spacer size=”20″] Five Georgia track & field athletes qualified for the NCAA Championships during the opening day of the NCAA East Prelims in Jacksonville, Fla., on Thursday. Three more Bulldogs also advanced to the quarterfinal rounds of their respective events at the East Prelims.
[su_spacer size=”40″] Senior Brandon Lord (10,000 m), sophomore Alex Poursanidis (hammer), sophomore Alex Larsson (hammer), junior Freya Jones (javelin) and graduate student Jenna Wargo (javelin) all finished within the top 12 of their event to secure a spot in the NCAA Championships in Eugene, Ore., from June 10-13.
[su_spacer size=”40″] The top 12 finishers in each event from both the East and West (Austin, Texas) regions advance to the finals of the NCAA Championships.  Maicel Uibo and Garrett Scantling (decathlon) along with Quintunya Chapman and Kendell Williams (heptathlon) have already qualified for Nationals.
[su_spacer size=”40″] Jones and Wargo each turned in season-best marks in the javelin on Thursday to advance to Eugene, finishing third and sixth, respectively. Jones recorded a toss of 177-0, and Wargo threw her farthest mark while at Georgia, 165-4, in order to move up one spot to seventh place on the all-time school record list.
[su_spacer size=”40″] On the men’s side, Lord turned in a second-place finish in the 10,000 meters with a time of 29:52.97 to solidify his spot at the NCAA Championships.
[su_spacer size=”40″] SEC Champion Poursanidis qualified for Nationals with a fourth-place finish in the hammer throw (219-2), while Larrson placed eighth with a personal-best mark of 216-0 to qualify for his second straight NCAA Championships. Larsson’s previous best mark of 215-5 came earlier this season at the Georgia Invite.
[su_spacer size=”40″] “It’s been a really good day for us, with several qualifiers to NCAAs and the next round,” said Georgia head coach Wayne Norton. “For the most part, we looked and were complete. We were productive except we did not get the job done in long jump and pole vault. We are a good team but not good enough to have any more of those let downs. We must execute better than that to be successful. Brandon Lord finished the night for us in grand fashion, as we started great and ended great.”
[su_spacer size=”40″] Freshman Ashley Henry turned in the best performance of her Bulldog career thus far in the 400 meters, finishing in a time of 53.31 to place 22nd overall and qualify for the quarterfinals on Friday. Henry’s time improved upon her previous personal best of 53.56 from earlier this season at the Georgia Tech Invite and moved her to sixth all-time in school history in the event.
[su_spacer size=”40″] Senior Drew Branch qualified for the quarterfinals in his signature event, the 400 meter hurdles, with a first-place finish in his heat and seventh overall at 51.13. Branch will compete tomorrow evening at 7:45 pm in the quarterfinals, with the top 12 finishers advancing to the NCAA Championships.
[su_spacer size=”40″] Fellow senior Charles Grethen joins Branch in the quarterfinals, as Grethen advanced in the 800 meters with a second-place finish in his heat and 16th overall in 1:48.67.
[su_spacer size=”40″] Junior Kisean Smith and junior Christian Harrison also competed for the Bulldogs in the 800 meters, finishing 27th and 28th overall, respectively. Jamario Calhoun represented Georgia in the long jump, while senior Luke Baker rounded out his career at Georgia by competing in the 10,000 meters on the evening.
[su_spacer size=”40″] Junior Morgann Leleux competed in the pole vault on the women’s side, just narrowly missing qualifying for the NCAA Championships by finishing in a tie for 13th place.
[su_spacer size=”40″] On Friday, sophomore Asianna Covington (women’s discus) and junior Braydon Anderson (men’s javelin) will start the day for Georgia at 12 p.m.  The first event on the track for the Bulldogs will be Henry in the quarterfinals of the women’s 400 meters at 6 p.m.
[su_spacer size=”40″] Bulldog Qualifiers For NCAA Championships

Brandon Lord – 10,000m – 29:52.97 (2nd)

Freya Jones – Javelin – 177-0 (3rd)

Alex Poursanidis – Hammer Throw – 219-2 (4th)

Jenna Wargo – Javelin – 165-4 (6th)

Alex Larsson – Hammer Throw – 216-0 (8th)
[su_spacer size=”40″] Bulldog Qualifiers For NCAA East Prelims Quarterfinals

Drew Branch – 400m hurdles – 51.13 (7th)

Charles Grethen – 800m – 1:48.67 (16th)

Ashley Henry – 400m – 53.31 (22nd)

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