TRACK & FIELD: Kendell Williams Makes History at Razorback Invitational

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TRACK & FIELD: Kendell Williams Makes History at Razorback Invitational

Kendell Williams
Photo: Georgia Sports Communications
[su_spacer size=”40″] Georgia junior Kendell Williams tallied the eighth-best collegiate pentathlon score in history to lead the Bulldog track and field teams during the opening day of the Razorback Invitational on Friday.
[su_spacer size=”40″] Williams, who has won the last two NCAA pentathlon titles and set a collegiate record in the event during both her freshman and sophomore seasons, scored 4,558 points to shoot to second on this year’s national performance list. Her showing included a clearance of 6 feet, 1 ½ inches to win the high jump and take over a share of the national lead in that event.
[su_spacer size=”40″] The open events were highlighted by senior Chanice Porter tying the school record to win the long jump. Her sophomore teammate Keturah Orji also finished third with a mark that also ranks in the top 10 nationally this year.
[su_spacer size=”40″] During the first four events of the heptathlon, senior Garrett Scantling led the way for Georgia to take control of first, second and third place thanks to his 3,369 points. This point total is one more than where he was going into day two of the 2015 NCAA Championships when he finished second with a school-record total of 6,068.
[su_spacer size=”40″] “Everything is clicking for us right now,” said Bulldog head coach Petros Kyprianou, who coaches the multi-events and jumps. “I feel like everyone is coming together and holding each other accountable. The sprinters and throwers are responding, and the multi-event crew is right where we need them to be. I feel like this is the best we have been in January, and the bottom line is that we are getting better and getting more people to Nationals. We were pretty successful across the board, and I am hoping for more on Saturday.”
[su_spacer size=”40″] Day two of the Razorback Invite will make television history. It will be the first televised regular season collegiate track and field meet. The meet will be broadcast live Saturday, starting with the 400-meter dash Invitational, on the SEC Network from 1:30 p.m. ET to approximately 5:30 p.m. Coverage will also include the 200, distance medley relay, high jump, long jump and pole vault from the Friday evening session.
[su_spacer size=”40″] Dwight Stones will do play by play alongside analysts Dan O’Brien and Jill Montgomery on the SEC Network broadcast.
[su_spacer size=”40″] On Saturday, the heptathlon’s final three events (60 hurdles, pole vault, 1000) will begin at 12 p.m. with a start time coming for the open events at 12:15 p.m.
[su_spacer size=”40″] Kendell Williams’ seventh collegiate pentathlon produced her fourth score on the sport’s all-time top-10 list. Also, graduate student Xenia Rahn competed in her first pentathlon for Georgia and moved to No. 5 in the Georgia record books with 4,212 points for fourth place on Friday.
[su_spacer size=”40″] Williams highlighted the competition by winning the high jump with her mark of 6 feet, 1 ½ inches. This scored her 1,067 points and was her top effort since setting her personal best of 6-2 at the 2014 NCAA Championships. Williams tried once at 6-2.75 at the Razorback meet but then pulled out to get ready for the next event.
[su_spacer size=”40″] Following a second attempt foul, Williams let go of only her second 41-foot toss in the shot put during her pentathlon career and finished third. Her throw of 41-0.50 was a season best in the event by two feet and scored her 695 points.
[su_spacer size=”40″] Posting a top effort of 20-0.25 through her first two jumps, Williams responded with a winning mark of 20-11.25 on her third and final try in the long jump to add 969 points to her total.
[su_spacer size=”40″] Williams opened with a third-place finish in the 60 hurdles. She clocked an 8.26 for 1,070 points, which was her first time running the event in the combined events since setting a collegiate record of 8.10 at last year’s NCAA Championships.
[su_spacer size=”40″] The Marietta, Ga., native concluded her five events by running a 2:24.96 (757) in the 800 for fifth place.
[su_spacer size=”40″] Rahn, a three-time combined events First Team All-American at North Carolina before transferring to Georgia for graduate school, topped all of the competition in the shot put. The Dormagen, Germany, native launched the ball 42-8.75 on her second attempt for 729 points.
[su_spacer size=”40″] Rahn established a Georgia personal best in the high jump with a clearance of 5-7.75. This was good for 879 points and third place in the event.
[su_spacer size=”40″] With all three of her jumps measuring longer than 19-4, Rahn earned 856 points with a fair attempt of 19-9 in the long jump to finish third.
[su_spacer size=”40″] Rahn started the competition with an 8.60 in the 60 hurdles and was seventh with 995 points.
[su_spacer size=”40″] In the 800, Rahn followed behind Williams and crossed the finish line in 2:25.26 for sixth place and 753 points.
[su_spacer size=”40″] Porter punctuated one of the final open events of the day by matching former Lady Bulldog Hyleas Fountain’s school record mark of 21-7.25 set at the 2004 NCAA Championships. Porter had four jumps that measured longer than 21 feet and her top effort put her No. 3 on this year’s national list.
[su_spacer size=”40″] Orji improved her No. 5 spot in the school record books with the nation’s fifth-best long jump this year (21-4.25) to take third.
[su_spacer size=”40″] Georgia had a variety of competitors in the open events as well. The Bulldogs added a pair of entries to its 200 record books to give the current team four runners on the all-time top-10 list. Sophomore Raytez Jenkins ran a 21.35 for fourth place, which moves him to No. 9 on the list. Junior Maurice Freeman also sped to a 21.39 to tie for the 10th-best finish in school history.
[su_spacer size=”40″] The UGA women also managed to go 1-2 in the high jump. Junior Leontia Kallenou cleared 5-9.25 to win her first meet of the year and sophomore Mady Fagan cleared the same height for second place.
[su_spacer size=”40″] Junior Georgia Stefanidi reached 13-4.50 for the second week in a row in the pole vault and finished fifth.
[su_spacer size=”40″] The Lady Bulldogs also had a pair of season bests in the weight throw. Sophomore Asianna Covington finished third after hitting 64-4. Senior Shelby Ashe also had her first fair performance of the year with a throw of 62-1.25.
[su_spacer size=”40″] During the men’s weight, junior Alex Poursanidis improved his season best to 66-1 for fourth place.
[su_spacer size=”40″] On the track, sophomore Hailey Branch finished third in her first indoor 5000 after completing her laps in 17:49.79.
[su_spacer size=”40″] In the heptathlon, Scantling’s 3,369 points led Maicel Uibo (3,305) and Devon Williams (3,235) in the first three spots while Karl Saluri (3,133) is in sixth going into day two.
[su_spacer size=”40″] Scantling erupted for a career-best throw of 51 feet in the shot put on his first attempt to set the tone on Friday. This performance earned him 823 points and was his best showing since winning the event at the 2015 NCAA meet.
[su_spacer size=”40″] Scantling notched another 822 points in the high jump after a 6-7.50 clearance in the high jump.
[su_spacer size=”40″] Matching what he ran at the 2015 SEC Championships on his way to his second league heptathlon title, Scantling crossed the 60 finish line in 6.99 for 886 to finish third.
[su_spacer size=”40″] Scantling came within two inches of his personal best in the long jump and soared 23-3.50 for his next 838 points.
[su_spacer size=”40″] Uibo was one of two Bulldogs to have a 24-footer in the long jump. Uibo traveled 24-0.25 for 891 points on his third attempt for third place. This was his best attempt since reaching 24-2.25 at the 2014 NCAA meet.
[su_spacer size=”40″] Sandwiching his top mark between two 45-foot throws, Uibo posted a heptathlon personal best of 47-8 to earn runner-up honors in the shot put.
[su_spacer size=”40″] Uibo bested his 60 times from last year’s SEC and NCAA meets and took 12th at the Randal Tyson facility with a 7.31. This finish earned him 775 points in the competition.
[su_spacer size=”40″] Winning the high jump to give each of the Bulldogs a win during the day’s four events, Uibo scored 878 points in the high jump after clearing 6-9.75 in the high jump.
[su_spacer size=”40″] Following a personal best in the 60, Devon Williams exploded for a career-best effort of 24-10 in the long jump to win and earn 952 points. This shot him to No. 7 on Georgia’s all-time top-10 list with the best mark for a Bulldog since 12-time NFL Pro Bowler Champ Bailey set the school record (25-10.75) mark at the 1998 SEC Championships. Williams is tied for 18th nationally with his jump.
[su_spacer size=”40″] Williams started the day with the fastest time of his career in the heptathlon 60 to finish fourth. Williams scored 882 with a time of 7.00, topping his 7.04 from last year’s NCAA Championships.
[su_spacer size=”40″] Williams had only one fair mark in the shot put to take sixth. He lifted his first throw 43-8.50 for 687 points.
[su_spacer size=”40″] In the final event of day one, Williams reached 6-2.75 (714) to finish eighth in the high jump.
[su_spacer size=”40″] Saluri opened the first event of his heptathlon debut for the Bulldogs with a win in the 60. He clocked a 6.91 to edge Oklahoma’s Steven Jazdyk (6.92) and score 915 points.
[su_spacer size=”40″] A friend of Uibo’s while the two were growing up in Estonia, Saluri scored 854 points with an effort of 23-6.25 to finish fifth in the long jump.
[su_spacer size=”40″] Saluri posted another Georgia personal best in the shot put to take third. His third throw measured 45-10.75 to give him an additional 728 points. Saluri completed his first day with a clearance of 5-11.25 for 636 in the high jump.
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Greg is closing in on 11 years writing about and photographing UGA sports. While often wrong and/or out of focus, it has been a long, strange trip full of fun and new friends.