Jan. 27, 2012
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. --- Powered by a pair of personal-best efforts, Georgia senior Cory Holman put himself in second place in the heptathlon during the first day of the Razorback Invitational in Fayetteville, Ark., on Friday.
Holman recorded the best performances of his career in the long jump and shot put to finish with 3,316 points with three events remaining. Arkansas freshman Gunnar Nixon is leading the competition with 3,460 points following the first four events.
Freshman Bulldog Garrett Scantling checked in with three collegiate personal bests and is in seventh place with 3,102 points in his first heptathlon with UGA. Senior Michael Ayers, who was the 2009 SEC heptathlon champion before transferring from Tennessee, is in 10th place with 3,046 points.
The Arkansas meet continues on Saturday starting with the heptathlon's fifth event, the 60-meter hurdles, and the women's weight throw at 1 p.m. ET. The heptathletes also have the pole vault, which is Ayers' top event, and 1000-meter run left during the second day.
In addition, 31 Georgia team members will open competition at the Mark Colligan Memorial in Lincoln, Neb., starting with the women's weight throw at 1:30 p.m. followed by the 60 hurdle prelims as the first running event at 2 p.m.
At the 2010 Razorback Invitational, Holman, a native of Huber Heights, Ohio, tallied 3,229 points on the first day before finishing second overall with the most points of his career (5,527), which is No. 3 in the Bulldog record books.
While Holman was finishing third at the 2010 SEC Indoor Championships later that season, his teammate Tommy Barrineau captured Georgia's first conference crown in the event with a school record 5,700 points. Barrineau's No. 1 mark on the school's top-10 list came after he scored 3,035 points during the first day.
"I thought Cory did a good job hitting a day one (personal best) and hopefully setting himself to automatically qualify for NCAAs," said Bulldog multi-events coach Petros Kyprianou. "He could have gone higher in the high jump, but hopefully he will be able to make up for it (on Saturday). The pleasant surprise was Garrett. He had an impressive outing and showed that he can be competitive and have fun in what is the first full heptathlon of his life."
Holman jumped out to an early lead with 918 points after winning the 60 with a season-best time of 6.90. This was the fastest time for him since he clocked a 6.87 in 2010.
Holman took off for a career-best effort of 24 feet, 3 ½ inches on his third and final attempt in the long jump to finish second with 910 points. His mark passes his previous personal-best jump of 23-10, which won him the long jump during the heptathlon at the 2010 Razorback meet.
He notched another personal best in the shot put, but a pair of Razorbacks passed him in the overall standings after three events. Holman launched a top effort of 40-7.50 on his third attempt after also recording what would have been career-best throws on his first and second attempts.
Arkansas sophomore Kevin Lazas, who won the shot put (47-1) and is in third place overall, and Nixon, who was third in the shot put, moved into second and first place overall, respectively, going into the fourth event.
Holman cleared 6-9 in the high jump to wrap up his first four events. While this assured him 859 more points, Holman has already cleared 7-0.25 in the open high jump this season and 7-1.75 in his career.
Scantling, who won the second heat of the 60, was the only finisher in the top eight not to be in the opening heat after his first collegiate time in the event was 7.13.
Scantling picked up a sizable collegiate personal best in the shot put to take 10th. The Jacksonville, Fla., native had a top mark of 41-6 on his second throw after only reaching 36-11.75 in the season opener.
Scantling's third personal best of the day came in the high jump after he matched Holman and went over the bar at 6-9.
Ayers was fourth overall in his first 60 of the year for 858 points after crossing the finish line in 7.07. Despite fouling on his first two tries, Ayers soared to 23-4 on his final attempt to finish eighth in the long jump.
After taking 13th in the shot put (40-4.75), Ayers hit a mark of 6-3.25 in the high jump to finish the first day in 10th. He has three of his strongest events to come on Saturday.
In a women's pole vault field suited for the NCAA Championships, freshman Morgann Leleux held her own with an indoor personal best. Leleux, who is the national high school record holder outdoors, reached a height of 13-8.50 to take fifth overall, besting her personal best by a quarter of an inch.
Arkansas' Tina Sutej, who set a new collegiate outdoor record at last year's SEC Championships in Athens and is the defending NCAA indoor champion, Stanford's Katerina Stefanidi, who was second at last year's indoor nationals, and Arkansas' Tara Diebold, who was sixth at the 2011 NCAA Indoor Championships, were the only collegiate competitors to top Leleux.
"Morgann went with a full approach and a 14-foot pole and cleared the height easily," Kyprianou said. "She was competing against three of the top girls in the country and did very well. She has been very consistent for a freshman and I think great things are to come."
SATURDAY'S ACTION: The Bulldogs will continue to compete at the Razorback Invitational on Saturday, but a majority of both squads will begin competition at the Mark Colligan Memorial as well. This one-day meet will have Georgia, Nebraska, Akron, Illinois and the Michigan women competing.
The meet will use NCAA scoring, which means five-team scoring will be used for the women and the top-six finishers in each event will earn points for their team. First place will earn 10 points, while the next five finishers will earn 8-6-4-2-1, respectively. The men will used four-team scoring, with the top-eight finishers in each event earning points for their team. First place will earn 9 points, while the next seven finishers will earn 7-6-5-4-3-2-1, respectively.
Live results from Saturday's action as well as full results from Friday and recaps from both days will be located at georgiadogs.com.