Jan. 18, 2014
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. --- Georgia's track and field teams posted a series of the nation's top marks to highlight the season-opening Auburn Indoor Invitational in Birmingham, Ala., on Saturday.
Bulldog head coach Wayne Norton was encouraged with his teams' first action, but is hoping their development continues next weekend.
"This was an O.K. start to the season because we had several encouraging results, but not the big ones I was hoping for," said Norton. "We had a young group who found how challenging collegiate indoor track and field can be and will be. Having said that, we survived the `baptism.'"
Freshman Leontia Kallenou surged into the No. 2 spot on this year's national list and No. 3 in the school record books by being the top collegiate finisher in the high jump. Kallenou cleared 6 feet, 2 inches on her first attempt, which is the top mark for Georgia since Levern Spencerset the school record at 6-2.75 in 2008.
On Saturday, Spencer competed unattached and was the overall winner with a height of 6-3.25, which is fourth on this year's world's list. Kallenou redshirted the 2013 indoor season before taking fourth at last year's NCAA Outdoor Championships in the high jump.
"Kallenou was spectacular in the high jump and we got a nice showing from the veterans in (Megan) Malasarte and (Carly) Hamilton and I thought the men's sprints group did a good job," Norton said. "It was encouraging to see (Morgann) Leleux and Maicel Uibo get their seasons underway. Starting the season O.K. is O.K. as long as we follow up next week with a much better week."
In the pole vault, Morgann Leleux opened her third year by winning with a meet record mark of 13-11.25 on her first try. This is the best effort in the SEC this year and is tied for No. 3 on the national list.
Junior Carly Hamilton picked up where she left off last indoor season by taking second in the 3000-meter run. Her time of 9:21.88 was just one second off her school record set in 2013 and not only leads the SEC, but is also No. 6 on the national list.
On the men's side, sophomore Brendan Hoban was third in the 3000 with a personal-best time of 8:31.70.
Primarily an 800 runner, senior Megan Malasarte trained in the mile at the Auburn Invitational and was second with a time of 4:47.80. Malasarte's time is the eighth-best in school history, giving the Lady Bulldogs' four of the all-time top-10 marks in the last two years.
Freshman heptathlete Kendell Williams made her Lady Bulldog debut and quickly earned a spot in the school record books. Williams was second in the 60 hurdle prelims with the fourth-best time in UGA history (8.39) and the fastest since 2007. The Marietta native finished third in the finals with an 8.40.
Later in the high jump, Williams tied fellow Georgia freshman Tatiana Gusin for ninth place with a clearance of 5-7.75.
Other multi-event team members also opened their season in Birmingham. A First Team All-American both indoors and outdoors in 2013, sophomore Maicel Uibo posted a personal best in the shot put by nearly two feet. He reached 46-6.75 on his third attempt after two fouls to take 15th. In the pole vault, Uibo tied for fifth on a third attempt clearance of 16-0.75.
Senior Lucie Ondraschkova was the fourth collegiate finisher (fifth overall) in the long jump with a mark of 19-3.25 after passing on her final three jumps. Also an indoor and outdoor scorer at the 2013 NCAA Championships, Ondraschkova clocked an 8.87 in the 60 hurdle prelims before taking eighth in the finals.
Junior Quintunya Chapman started her multi career by opening with a long jump mark of 17-5.25 to take 14th and running a 9.40 for 11th in the 60 hurdle prelims.
Another first was sophomore jumper Chanice Porter running in her first event on the track. Porter was fourth in the 60 after finishing in 7.60. The 2013 SEC indoor long jump champion finished ninth in the long jump with a mark of 18-5 and passed on her last three tries.
Also on the track, redshirt freshman Rashan Browntook fourth in the 200 with the seventh-best time in school history (24.10).
In the final event of the day, three freshmen, Reggie Glover, Ayrian Evans and Derrick White, joined sophomore Maurice Freeman to take fourth in the 4x400 relay. The foursome recorded a 3:12.31 to trim nearly four seconds off of Georgia's top time at the meet last year.
Georgia will go in a pair of directions for its next meets. Some team members will travel to the site of this year's NCAA Indoor Championships in Albuquerque, N.M., for the Cherry and Silver Collegiate Invitational. Others will go to Nashville, Tenn., to compete in the Commodores' brand new indoor facility for the Vanderbilt Indoor Invitational.
Full results and a recap will be posted at georgiadogs.com.