Track & Field: Florida Relays Begin Today

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Track & Field: Florida Relays Begin Today

Teammate Kendall Williams congratulates Quintunya Chapman
(Photo by John Kelley)

The sixth-ranked Georgia women’s track and field team and the 11th-ranked Bulldog men travel to Gainesville, Fla., this week to compete in the annual Florida Relays from Thursday through Saturday.


The men’s javelin is slated to begin on Thursday at 7 p.m. with the men’s 5000-meter run starting at 9 p.m.  The gun for the women’s 5000m will come at 9:45 p.m. on the first day.  Georgia has six runners signed up to run in the 5000m races.


Friday’s action begins with the women’s hammer at 12 p.m.  On the meet’s third and final day, the men’s discus invite is scheduled for 11 a.m. on Saturday.


Florida Relays Coverage: SEC Network + (via Watch ESPN) will stream the meet online from 12 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. on Friday and from 2:30 p.m. until the conclusion of the meet on Saturday.


Who Is Traveling?: Katie Stone, Natalie Bordes, Ashley Henry, Devon Artis, Ruthie Powell, Kate Northrop, Brooke Koblitz, Anna Gandolfo, Kingsley Green, Hailey Branch, Lauren Hovis, Hayden Merrick, Shelby Ashe, Asianna Covington, Morgan Ainslie and Dorie Faber will represent the Lady Bulldogs.


Jon Okoye, Raytez Jenkins, Maurice Freeman, Ayrian Evans, Reggie Glover, Derrick White Jr., Kisean Smith, Christian Harrison, Bryan Kamau, Jeramey Hampton, Zack Sims, Steven Spevacek, Sid Vaughn, Morgan Malanoski, Jimmy Hicks, Daniel Navarro, Jon Moses, Ashinia Miller, Denzel Comenentia and Alex Poursanidis, are inked in to compete for the Bulldog men.


Who Is The Competition?: The Bulldogs will be joined by meet host Florida, Alabama, Kentucky, Mississippi State, Missouri, South Carolina, Tennessee and Vanderbilt from the Southeastern Conference and are part of 92 teams converging in Gainesville.


Kyprianou’s Comments: “As the name of this meet suggests, this is a great opportunity for our relay teams to go down there and put up some good marks on a fast track,” said Georgia head coach Petros Kyprianou.  “Hopefully the weather cooperates and we get a shot at setting the school record in the 4×4.  Those guys have been working hard all year and they finally putting it together with the help from Coach Ken (Harnden).  We can’t wait to see what they can accomplish over there running against good competition.”


Georgia has a pair of home meets left on its schedule, starting with next week’s Bulldog Decathlon/Heptathlon on April 6-7 and the Spec Towns Invitational on April 8-9.  The postseason begins with the SEC Championships in Tuscaloosa, Ala., during the second week of May.  The season culminates with the NCAA Championships in Eugene, Ore., on June 8-11.


“Our goal for this meet remains the same,” said Kyprianou.  “We want to get as many qualifiers for the NCAA Prelims as we can.  I’m excited to see what our throwers, both men and women, can put up and see where they can place themselves on the national list.  It’s still early in the outdoor season.  As big as this meet is, our NCAA competitors and scorers from indoors won’t open up until the following weekend.  But every time we get one of our own in the top eight on the national list, that’s promising for the season so that is our goal this weekend.”


Last Weekend: Georgia had its second outdoor meet of the year at the Yellow Jacket Invitational last weekend in Atlanta.  The Bulldogs combined for four victories as Shelby Ashe (hammer), Maurice Freeman (400m), Ashinia Miller (shot put) and Alex Poursanidis (hammer) all finished first in their respective events.  Freeman vaulted to third on the national list with his personal-best lap time of 45.77.  Poursanidis, who is the two-time defending SEC champion, rocketed to fourth on the national list thanks to his winning mark of 225 feet, 9 inches.


FLASHBACK – 2015 Florida Relays: Similar to this season, Georgia traveled mostly runners and throwers to last year’s Florida Relays.  Ashe won the hammer with a personal-best mark of 211-8, which moved her to No. 4 in the Lady Bulldog history books.  Poursanidis completed the Georgia sweep in the hammer with a career-long toss of 229-11, which ranks sixth on the Bulldog all-time top-10 list.  A pair of Bulldog shot putters also reached at least 60-8 to finish in the top seven as departed senior Nick Vena was fourth with his second-best performance of the season (64-8.75).


Grand Debut At Home: The Bulldogs qualified a combined 11 men and women for this year’s NCAA Indoor Championships, and only two of those have competed in the first two outdoor meets. Miller and Comenentia battled at the Georgia Relays in Athens and returned to action on Georgia Tech’s track.


Maicel Uibo (heptathlon), Karl Saluri (heptathlon), Chanice Porter (long jump, high jump) and Mady Fagan (high jump) last competed at Nationals in Birmingham, Ala., and will return to action later at next week’s home meet, the Bulldog Decathlon/Heptathlon and Spec Towns Invitational.  Tatiana Gusin (high jump) is redshirting the outdoor season while Garrett Scantling (heptathlon) and Xenia Rahn (pentathlon) used their final season of eligibility indoors.


Kendell Williams and Keturah Orji, who both won NCAA indoor titles, continued their indoor competition at the World Indoor Championships in Portland, Ore., the week after the NCAA indoor meet.  They are both slated to open in Athens next week.

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