Jan. 25, 2013
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. --- Georgia's track and field teams notched four victories, set a school record and picked up two national-leading marks during day one of two at the Razorback Invitational in Fayetteville, Ark., on Friday.
Sophomore Morgann Leleux flirted with the collegiate record while taking over the national lead in the pole vault while freshman Chanice Porter soared to the country's longest jump of the year on her opening attempt. Those results teamed with sophomore Hilenn James shattering the school shot put record highlighted Friday's action for Georgia.
UGA returns to action on Saturday with the men's weight throw beginning at noon ET.
"We had a lot of performances today that kind of put us on the map for the year," said Bulldog head coach Wayne Norton. "Our better people did what we expect them to do and what we need them to do in order for us to have success in the postseason. If it's possible to have an outstanding meet in January, I would say this was it for us."
Leleux blasted her way to the top of the national ranks with a personal-best performance in the pole vault. Leleux went over the bar at 14 feet, 9 inches on her second attempt, coming within a half an inch of the school record. This mark shot past her previous career best of 14-5.25 set while taking second at the 2012 NCAA Championships.
Leleux made three tries at setting a new national collegiate record, but was unable to clear the bar at 14-11.75.
"Morgann finally got 14-9, something she tried so hard to get all year long last year," said Norton. "Now I think this will give her a chance to relax a little and keep going beyond that mark."
In her first attempt of the year, James shattered a 13-year-old school record in the shot put with an effort of 55-1.50. James' toss bettered Rhonda Hackett's mark of 54-1 that had stood No. 1 on Georgia's all-time list since 2000.
"Hilenn's throw is another example of some of these performances that are popping up for us early in the indoor season that usually don't happen for us until the outdoor season, which is a great sign," Norton said.
Following up a performance that earned her the Southeastern Conference Freshman of the Week award, Porter won her second consecutive meet in the long jump with a season-best mark of 21-0.50, which moves her to No. 1 on the national performance list. Porter's first jump is the fourth best in school history and the longest for the Lady Bulldogs since Hyleas Fountain broke the school record in 2004.
"This was an outstanding performance by Chanice, but not surprising," said Norton. "We are expecting her to be a threat at the SEC and national levels."
Senior Lucie Ondraschkova scored the most points in her Lady Bulldog career (4,072) thanks in part of three career-best marks to take second in the pentathlon.
The Czech Republic native improved her No. 3 spot in the school record books with the third-highest score in the nation this year. Ondraschkova is returning to indoor action after suffering a season-ending elbow injury during the 2012 opener.
"Lucie was another person (Friday) who showed what type of potential she has this season and it's exciting to see her back out there competing," said Norton.
To conclude her five events, Ondraschkova earned runner-up honors in the 800-meter run after finishing her laps in a personal-best 2:16.66 (869 points). This topped her 2:17.84 clocked at the 2011 SEC Championships.
In the long jump, Ondraschkova made the middle of her three attempts the best of her career to grab another second-place finish. She recorded a mark of 19-6.75 inches to top 10 competitors and add on 837 more points to her total.
Ondraschkova opened the competition by winning the second heat and taking fourth overall in the 60 hurdles. She clocked a personal-best time of 8.88 (935), besting her 8.91 set at the 2011 NCAA meet.
During the pentathlon high jump, Ondraschkova cleared five heights to reach her best mark since the national meet two years ago. She went over the bar at 5-7.25 on her second attempt for third place to add 867 points to her total.
Battling in his second meet for the Bulldogs after transferring from Virginia, sophomore Nick Vena tallied the longest shot put throw of his career to take second. Vena, who won last week's Auburn Invitational, launched his second attempt 62-6.75 to move to No. 4 on Georgia's all-time list with the longest throw since 2007.
His junior teammate Caleb Whitener posted a nine-inch personal best of 59-11.25 to take third in the competition.
"(Vena) went out last week and had a good performance and then responded with an even better outing at this meet," said Norton. "I think he and Caleb are establishing themselves as a powerful duo in the shot that can score points at any level."
Senior Saniel Atkinson-Grier returned to start her final campaign and finished third in the high jump. Atkinson-Grier had a clearance on her third attempt at 5-11.25 to open nearly two inches higher than she did in 2012.
"I thought this was a great start for Saniel since she is coming off an illness and this was her first meet of the year," said Norton. "Normally, her height would be near the top of the national list this early on. But there are already some people going over 6-2. Saniel will be fine and will be at the top of the list with those competitors soon."
Carly Hamilton, Shaunae Miller, Stella Christoforou and Kristie Krueger combined to leave the Randal Tyson Track with the school's sixth-fastest distance medley relay time (11:39.68) in history. The quartet earned second-place honors at the meet.
The men's distance medley team, which consisted of Daniel Grass, Corey Ashbourne, Kisean Smith and Matt Cleaver, finished sixth with a time of 10:01.44. This finish is the 10th best in school history.
The Lady Bulldogs managed a 1st- and 3rd-place finish in the 5000. Senior Leslie Boozer picked up a three-second win after crossing the finish line in 17:10.02. Fellow senior Morgan VanGorder was third in the race with the fastest time of her career (17:16.04).
Sophomore Garrett Scantling completed the first day of the heptathlon in second place with a day one personal-best score of 3,222 points. He is 102 points ahead of the pace when he scored the fourth-most points (5,481) in school history at last year's conference meet.
"(Scantling's) performance should carry over into Saturday's competition so we are excited to see what he and the two freshmen can do," said Norton
Scantling had three of the best performances of his career to highlight the opening day of the Razorback Invitational. In the first event, he sped to the fastest time of his career (7.10) in the 60 for third place and 847 early points. This mark trimmed .03 seconds off of his 7.13 that was set at last year's Razorback meet.
Scantling returned to post a personal-best mark in the long jump (23 feet) on his opening attempt for 816 points. He finished third in the event behind a pair of Razorbacks.
The Jacksonville, Fla., native's third career-best effort came as he took third in the shot put. Scantling watched his third attempt travel 43-11.25 for 691 points. All three of his throws in the series would have been the best of his collegiate career.
He wrapped up the fourth of seven events by taking second in the high jump (6-9.50, 868 points).
A duo of Bulldog true freshmen ended the first day in third and fifth place. Maicel Uibo won the high jump to wrap up competition and scored 3,176 points, which is 46 points behind Scantling. Devon Williams scored 2,946 points and is currently in fifth.
A native of Polva, Estonia, Uibo reached the top high jump mark of his life (6-11.75) to end Friday with 925 points. He also bolted to second place in the shot put after he pushed his opening throw 44-2.75 (697). Only leader Kevin Lazas (Arkansas) had a better toss after reaching 48-6.25.
Williams recorded the best long jump mark of his life to take fourth in the event. The Marietta native bounced back from an opening foul to travel 22-11.75 on his second attempt for 814 points.
A combined seven Georgia sprinters advanced to the semifinal round of the 60. On the women's side, freshman Myasia Jacobs opened her career by finishing with the 10th-best time in school history (7.51) to take seventh. Sophomore Tynia Gaither was ninth in the prelims after finishing in 7.52.
The next two Georgia women to qualify were freshmen Briana Vaughn and Shaunae Miller, who were both wearing their red and black uniforms for the first time. Vaughn was 10th (7.54) while Miller was 14th (7.59).
Sophomore Justin Scott-Wesley returned to the track on Friday after spending the fall as one of the Bulldog receivers. Scott-Wesley tied the third-fastest time in school history of 6.75 to win his heat and have the No. 4 time in the prelims.
"Justin is not always going to run a super fast time, but he proves how good he is by consistently beating really good people, like he did today," said Norton.
Full results from the first day of the Razorback Invitational and a recap from the meet will be found at georgiadogs.com.