UGA Adds Three More Titles At SEC Indoor Track & Field Championships

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UGA Adds Three More Titles At SEC Indoor Track & Field Championships

UGA track and field – Quintunya Chapman
Quintunya Chapman
[break] Georgia registered another trio of individual titles during the final day of the SEC Indoor Track & Field Championships in Lexington, Ky., on Saturday.

The second-ranked Lady Bulldogs finished sixth (50 points) while Arkansas (130), Florida (86) and Texas A&M (81.90) rounded out the top three on the women’s side.

The seventh-ranked Georgia men scored 46 points for eighth place.  Florida (114), Arkansas (89) and Texas A&M (87) were the top three after the two-day meet.

“Overall, we had a situation where our better people really competed well and did a nice job of winning some events and placing high,” said Bulldog head coach Wayne Norton.  “Our second-level people tried extremely hard but at this level meet, those who are not at the top level have a hard time scoring points.  I think we competed hard, did our best and finished with many personal bests.  But the competition was there in every single event.

“We finished up nicely with the titles in the women’s high jump and triple jump and in the heptathlon.  Ashinia Miller in the shot put also did a really nice job and the men’s distance medley relay ran as tough a race as they could.  Now, we need to reevaluate as far as getting ready for Nationals.  We are not in that top five at this meet, but I still think we are in position to finish in the top 10 when it comes times for the NCAA Championships in two weeks.”

Following Georgia’s first and third-place finishes in the pentathlon on Friday, the Bulldog men highlighted day two by going 1-2-3 in the heptathlon on Saturday.  Junior Garrett Scantling topped a 10-year-old meet record by a single point to improve his national leading score (6,036).

The Lady Bulldogs also responded to Kendell Williams’ championship in the pentathlon during the first day with another pair of titles on Saturday.  Sophomore Leontia Kallenou tied her meet and school records by clearing 6 feet, 2 ¾ inches in the high jump.  True freshman Keturah Orji also scored 10 points after re-taking the lead on her fifth effort in the triple jump.

Led by Scantling’s performance, Georgia became the only program to ever sweep the three medal stand spots in the heptathlon at the SEC meet.  Junior Maicel Uibo moved into the country’s No. 2 spot with a final score of 5,909.  Sophomore Devon Williams surged into the fifth spot on Georgia’s all-time top-10 list after scoring a career-best total of 5,601 for third place.  Williams started Saturday in sixth place in the competition.

This marks Scantling’s second SEC heptathlon title after also capturing the 2013 crown.  Scantling’s score on Saturday of 6,036 edged the mark of 6,035 set by Auburn’s Maurice Smith in 2005.  While he redshirted last year, Uibo kept the Bulldog tradition alive by winning the 2014 championship.  Georgia has won four out of the last six SEC indoor multi-event titles and the last two league decathlon championships outdoors.

Scantling earned runner-up honors and 974 points in the 60 hurdles to start his secondday.  He ran an 8.03, which stands as his second-fastest time clocked in the multis.

Needing a 2:48 to top Uibo’s school record in the heptathlon, Scantling finished sixth in the 1000 with a 2:49.08 for his final 775 points.  He also sandwiched a mark of 16-2.75 in the pole vault to finish second in the event and earn 895 points.

Uibo sole personal best of the day came with a 16-10.75 clearance in the pole vault.  He was able to tally 957 points thanks to reaching his top height on his first try.

In the 1000, Uibo finished fourth overall for 800 points after completing his laps in 2:47.15.  This was a season-best time for the native of Polva, Estonia.  Uibo started Saturday by finishing fifth in the 60 hurdles with a time of 8.46.  This finish earned him 869 points going into one of his top events, the pole vault.

Williams kicked off day two by winning the 60 hurdles with a heptathlon personal-best time of 7.90 for 1,007 points.

Working to hold on to third place, Williams followed just behind Uibo and took fifth with a 2:47.15.  Williams scored 796 points and held off South Carolina’s Markus Leemet, who finished 142 points behind the Georgia sophomore at 5,459.  Williams added 775 points to his total after going over the pole vault bar at 14-11 on his only try at the height.

Kallenou, who was the defending SEC and NCAA indoor and outdoor champion in the high jump, cleared her first four heights on her first try before matching her SEC Championships meet record set last year.  Kallenou soared over the bar at 6-2.75 on her second attempt to edge sophomore teammate Tatiana Gusin for the title.

Gusin, who tied for sixth at the 2014 SEC indoor meet with a clearance of 5-8, set a personal record after going over the high jump bar at 6-0.50 on her third attempt.  Then, Gusin edged out Florida’s Taylor Burke for second place with a second attempt clearance of 6-1.50.

Orji clinched her first SEC title on her fifth of six attempts in the triple jump.  Florida senior Ciarra Brewer took a half-inch lead after the second round with a mark of 44-5.25.  However, Orji answered with a jump of 45-0.25 on her fifth jump, followed by an effort of 44-10.75 on her final attempt.

This marked Georgia’s first SEC indoor triple jump title since Colleen Felix went back-to-back in 2011-12.  Orji’s finish also have her 16 points in the meet after finishing third in the long jump on Friday.  She has won five out of six meets in the combined triple and long jumps since arriving in Athens.

Back to the men’s side, junior Ashinia Miller lifted his second throw in the shot put 63-6 to earn runner-up honors.  Miller stands fourth nationally going into the NCAA Championships.  Also of note, senior Nick Vena, who stands fifth on the national list, opened the SEC meet with two fouls and did not qualify for the finals with a third throw that measured 54-9.25.

Ayrian Evans, Drew Branch, Derrick White and Reggie Glover ran in the final event of the meet for the Bulldogs and took sixth.  The UGA quartet clocked a 3:09.57 to finish second in their heat and score the team’s final points.

The Bulldog distance medley relay team finished seventh with the third-best time in school history.  Senior Charles Grethen, freshman Raytez Jenkins, junior Kisean Smith and senior Brandon Lord ran a 9:48.48, besting another Georgia foursome’s time of 9:51.85 set earlier this year.  Each Bulldog leg held the lead temporarily and ended up dropping one spot from their sixth-place finish at the 2014 meet (school record time of 9:47.53).

In one of the few events for Georgia on the track Saturday, sophomore Sid Vaughn and junior Brendan Hoban clocked the sixth and seventh-best times in school history in the 5000.  Vaughn finished ninth, one spot out of scoring, after running a 14:20.12.  Shortly after Vaughn crossed, Hoban took 10th with a time of 14:20.59 for 10th place.

The SEC Indoor Track & Field Championships will also air as part of a 90-minute show on ESPNU on Monday, March 9, beginning at 7:30 p.m.  The broadcast talent includes Dwight Stones (play-by-play), Larry Rawson (analyst) and Jill Montgomery (sideline reporter).

This marks the final action for Georgia until the NCAA Indoor Championships arrive in Fayetteville, Ark., on March 13-14.

Full results and a recap from the SEC Indoor Track & Field Championships will be located at  Updates from this meet and throughout the season will be posted on Twitter at @UGA_XCTF.

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