With Bulldog legends Herschel Walker and Gwen Torrence in attendance, Georgia’s track and field teams put on a show at the Spec Towns Invite in Athens on a windy Saturday.
“I thought we had some great performances and that our whole group showed consistency and excitement at our biggest home meet of the year,” said Bulldog head coach Petros Kyprianou. “Mady (Fagan) was our highlight today by making huge improvements from last outdoor season. She is eager to make it to the NCAA Championships, score and help this team reach its goals. Aliyah Johnson also did well in her first triple jump outdoors for us and I though the sprinters got better at this meet. Katie (Stone) and Jon (Okoye) both left with personal bests and that’s a testament to what we are trying to accomplish.
“Having Gwen and Herschel come to this meet was a huge energy boost to our team and I cannot thank them enough for coming back to the Spec Towns Track. Distinguished alumni like those two are outstanding to have and we hope to keep including them and the many other alumni in our program. We want to continue to promote this program by bringing in the best competition available and involving the alumni and I think we accomplished that this weekend.”
Sophomore Mady Fagan shot up 8.5 inches on her 2015 outdoor career best to be the top collegiate finisher in a highly contested high jump. Fagan reached 6 feet for the first time outdoors on her second attempt before also successfully reaching 6-1.25 also on her second attempt to be third overall. This moved her up to No. 5 on the school’s all-time top-10 list and into a tie for third on the national performance list.
Former Lady Bulldog Levern Spencer took over the No. 5 spot on the world’s high jump list for 2016 with her second attempt clearance at 6-3.50. Spencer outlasted former Gamecock All-American Jeannelle Scheper (6-2.25) for the overall victory.
Sophomore Katie Stone had twice hit a personal-best time of 11.82 in the 100-meter dash earlier this season. On Saturday, the Macon, Ga., native slashed that record with an 11.44 to finish fifth. Stone moved into a tie with former Georgia sprinter Sherita King, who coincidentally ran the same time at the 2003 Spec Towns meet, with the best time for the Lady Bulldogs since 2013.
Stone returned to the track in the 200m and chalked up another personal record. She was the second collegiate finisher (third overall) thanks to a 23.67, which came within .05 seconds of the UGA all-time top-10 list.
In the men’s 200m, senior Jon Okoye finished with top collegiate honors with a personal-best time. Okoye shot across the line in 20.91 to be second overall.
Okoye also missed second place in the 100m by just .04 seconds and finished third at 10.51.
Taking a break from his 800m competitions, true freshman Jeramey Hampton earned runner-up honors in the 400m with a time of 48.17. One spot behind Hampton was sophomore Derrick White with a season-best time of 48.32.
Morgan Ainslie finished with another second-place finish in Georgia after running a season-best time of 4:39.52. Also of note, true freshman Kingsley Green was sixth after running a 4:44.15.
A career best came from Bulldog Henry Dwyer in the men’s 1500m as he took third in one of the day’s final races. Dwyer, who was racing in his hometown, clocked a 3:58.14.
On a day when former Bulldog and 2012 Olympic bronze medalist Reese Hoffa won by four feet with a mark of 64-9.75, freshman Denzel Comenentia (60-2.50) and senior Ashinia Miller (60-2.50) finished 3-4 in their home ring during the shot put.
Freshman Aliyah Johnson, who redshirted outdoors in 2015, made her debut in the triple jump and finished fourth at 41-9.75 thanks to her sixth and final try.
In addition, junior Georgia Stefanidi took advantage of a second attempt clearance at 12-9.50 to finish fifth in the women’s pole vault. This was a season-best mark for the Lady Bulldog.
The Bulldogs return to action at the Mt. SAC Relays on April 14-15 in Walnut, Calif.
Full stats and recaps from the Spec Towns Invitational will be posted at georgiadogs.com.
Updates from Georgia’s track and field and cross country program can always be found on Twitter/Instagram (@UGATrack).