Feb. 23, 2013
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. --- Georgia track and field had three champions and set two school records to highlight the second day of the Southeastern Conference Indoor Championships in Fayetteville, Ark., on Saturday.
Junior Hilenn James (women's shot put), freshman Chanice Porter (women's long jump) and sophomore Garrett Scantling (heptathlon) secured their spot in Bulldog history by winning SEC titles in the meet's second of three days.
While Scantling secured his conference crown with the most points in UGA history, true freshman Shaunae Miller also topped her own school record in the 400-meter dash to win her heat and advance to Sunday's finals.
In the team standings, the Georgia women are in second with 28 points while Arkansas (37) is leading. Florida (27.50), Kentucky (15) and LSU (13.50) round out the top five in the current standings.
Arkansas is winning on the men's side as well with 52 points. The Bulldogs are in third (27) as Florida (34) is holding onto second and Alabama (17) is fourth.
"When you stand back and look at today, I think we can call it a very successful one," said Bulldog head coach Wayne Norton. "Anytime we win individual conference titles, we have to accept them and celebrate them. We did not qualify as many people as we wanted in the running events, but I thought we did well in our event finals today. We really have to make our events (on Sunday) that we're in count to finish where we have been targeting."
James, a native of Trinidad and Tobago, saved her top shot put throw of 55 feet, ¾ inches for her sixth and final throw to top Missouri sophomore Jill Rushin. James, who set the school record earlier this year with a mark of 55-1.50 in the same facility at the Razorback Invitational, and Rushin both had second throws measuring 54-8.25. But Rushin was in position to win until the final round because her second-best throw was longer than James' second best.
James becomes the first Lady Bulldog to win an SEC indoor shot put title since 1999 (Rhonda Hackett) and only the second in school history.
"Hilenn has always said, `Well, discus is my main event and shot put is second on my list'," said Norton. "Well, now she has managed to set a school record and win an SEC title in what she thinks is her No. 2 event. It was unbelievable to win this on her last throw. I think she is starting to mature and realize that she can be exceptional in both of her events."
Porter, a native of Prattville, Jamaica, improved on her second, third and fourth long jump attempts as her fourth jump measured 21-0.50 to lock down the win. Equaling her collegiate personal best, Porter managed to top the second-place competitor by more than seven inches.
This is the first SEC indoor long jump title for the Georgia women since Olympic silver medalist Hyleas Fountain captured the long and high jumps as well as the pentathlon championships at the 2004 SEC meet.
"Chanice has just done an incredibly good job for us all season long," Norton said. "To come in and win every meet that she has jumped in is about unprecedented for our program. Now, we have to try and do it one more time at the NCAA Championships.
"I have to give her credit for coming in here and taking care of business. I asked her this fall, `Do you know what a warrior is?' and she said, `Yes.' I then asked her, `Are you a warrior?' and she again said, `Yes.' So far, she is proving to be true in her self assessment."
The Bulldogs went first, second and fourth in the heptathlon to up Georgia's point total by 23 points. Scantling brought home top honors as freshman Maicel Uibo (5,693) finished second and his freshman teammate Devon Williams (5,494) took fourth.
Scantling, a native of Jacksonville, Fla., set two personal bests and equaled another career-best effort on Saturday to win the SEC heptathlon championship with a school record score of 5,889 points. Scantling capped his title run by clocking a 2:50.41 in the 1000-meter run. His final score moved former Bulldog Cory Holman to No. 2 on the UGA all-time list after Holman scored 5,873 at last year's NCAA Championships.
Scantling is only the second Bulldog in school history to win an SEC heptathlon title. Tommy Barrineau won in 2010 with a then school record score of 5,700 points.
"The finishes in the heptathlon were great for a couple of reasons," said Norton. "First, we got some needed points from all three guys in an event. Second, we competed hard and finished at the top of the standings going first, second and fourth. The thing I like about this finish is what I have been saying about our teams. Our newcomers and freshmen and sophomores are scoring and doing good things which shows we are making progress."
In the competition's seventh and final event, Scantling trimmed a second off his career best in the 1000 to clinch his victory. He finished seventh in the race for761 points, increasing his lead to nearly 200 points over Uibo.
Boasting three first attempt clearances, Scantling matched his best performance in the pole vault with a mark of 16-0.75 to tie for the win in the pole vault. He notched another 880 points with his outing in the vault.
Scantling shot out to a quick start on the second day after clocking the fastest 60 hurdles time of his career. He finished second overall in the event with a mark of 8.15, which trailed only Williams (8.06). Scantling added 944 points with his finish.
Uibo went stride for stride with Scantling in the pole vault to tie for the victory. He reached 16-0.75 on his first attempt, which was good for 880 points as well.
Uibo retained second place after the fifth event (60 hurdles), but only scored 848 points after taking fourth in the event with an 8.55.
The Estonia native wrapped up his second collegiate heptathlon by taking sixth in the 1000 (2:49.80, 768 pts.).
Like Scantling, Williams posted a personal best in the 1000 to close out the competition. He managed a fourth-place finish when his laps were complete after recording a time of 2:47.98 (787 pts.)
Williams cruised to a victory in the 60 hurdles with an 8.06 as only Scantling challenged him. This gained the Marietta, Ga., native 967 points and boosted him to third place to start the day.
The second school record of the day came in the women's 400 prelims. Miller jumped out in front of the pack and never trailed as she clocked a 52.91 to finish first in her heat and fourth overall. Her time trimmed five hundredths of a second off her previous school record of 52.96 set at the Akron Invitational earlier this season.
Miller will line up in the 400 finals at 2:45 p.m. Sunday.
In his second to last collegiate race, senior Matt Cleaver sped to the fastest finish of his career in the 3000 for sixth place. Cleaver's time of 8:07.78 bettered his No. 4 mark in the Bulldog record books and gave Georgia another three points in the team race.
Despite hitting a mark that was four inches below his personal best, freshman Maurice Freeman managed to score a point for the Bulldogs in the high jump. The 6-foot-8 native of Arnoldsville, Ga., cleared 6-6 on his second try to edge out Kentucky's Ryan Ratliff, who did not clear the same height until his third try.
Sophomore Carly Hamilton, who owns the school record in both the mile and 3000, appeared to have grabbed the top overall finish in the mile prelims after winning her heat with the second-fastest time of her career (4:42.86). But it was ruled shortly after the race that she broke out of her lane and into single file too early and she was disqualified.
Hamilton's middle distance teammate, junior Stella Christoforou, initially finished fifth in the same heat and 11th overall with a 4:48.91. Because of Hamilton's disqualification, Christoforou took over the 10th and final qualifying spot. She will race at 2:25 p.m. on Sunday.
Sophomore Tynia Gaither flew to a victory in her 200 prelims heat to lock down a spot in the finals. Gaither clocked a career-best time of 23.66, which improves her No. 5 spot in the school record books, to take seventh overall.
Gaither will now meet the field in the finals at 4:05 p.m. Sunday.
Georgia locked down a pair of finals qualifiers in the men's and women's 800. Sophomore Megan Malasarte, who was a 2012 outdoor All-American in the event, had the fourth-fastest qualifying time (2:07.50) and will race on Sunday at 3:45 p.m.
During the men's showdown, sophomore newcomer Charles Grethen snuck in as the eighth and final qualifier in the 800. He finished his laps in 1:50.62 and will compete in the finals at 3:35 p.m.
Grethen's teammate Daniel Grass was the first competitor out of the finals after running a 1:51.33.
Junior Johnathan Smith took over the No. 5 spot in the school record books after clocking a 21.14 in the 200 prelims. Smith finished 11th overall, three spots from advancing to Sunday's finals.
Freshman Briana Vaughn trimmed two hundredths of a second off her personal best in the 60 prelims to finish in 7.41. This ties for the third-best time in school history and is the fastest for the Lady Bulldogs since 2003. Vaughn was third in her heat (by a thousandth of a second) and overall, failing to make the finals by just two places.
A trio of freshmen Bulldogs finished with the fastest times of their careers in the men's mile. Wade Voyles was fourth in the third heat with a 4:12.15, Zane Coburn opened by taking sixth in the first heat (4:13.72) and Zack Sims managed a seventh-place finish in the second heat with a 4:14.52. Voyles was two spots from advancing to the finals.
Leslie Boozer also cut 12 seconds off her career best in the 3000 (9:43.89) to take 10th and finish just two spots out of the scoring ranks. She won the opening heat by five seconds before all of the scorers emerged in the final heat.
Also of note, sophomore Justin Scott-Wesley finished a hundredth of a second slower than his personal best to be 14th in the prelims. His time of 6.76 put the two-sport student-athlete six spots out of qualifying for the finals.
Junior Elizabeth Tepe starts the action on Sunday in the women's weight throw at 11 a.m. ET. The first event on the track for the Bulldogs is the women's mile finals at 2:25 p.m.
Results and recaps after each day's action at the SEC Championships will be found at georgiadogs.com.
Georgia's SEC Scorers Through Two Days
Name Event Mark/Place
Hilenn James Shot Put 1st/55 ft., ¾ in.
Chanice Porter Long Jump 1st/*21-0.50
Lucie Ondraschkova Pentathlon 2nd/*4,208 points
Garrett Scantling Heptathlon 1st/#5,889 points
Maicel Uibo Heptathlon 2nd/5,693 points
Devon Williams Heptathlon 4th/5,494 points
Matt Cleaver 3000m 6th/*8:07.78
Maurice Freeman High Jump 8th/6-6
Georgia's Finals Qualifiers
Name Event Mark/Place
Shaunae Miller 400m #52.91/4th
Megan Malasarte 800m 2:07.50/4th
Tynia Gaither 200m *23.66/7th
Stella Christoforou Mile 4:48.91/10th
Charles Grethen 800m 1:50.62/8th
Heptathlon - DAY ONE
Event 60m Long jump Shot put High jump Total
So. Garrett Scantling *6.95-1st *23-5.25-3rd *46-9.50-1st 6-7-2nd 3,304-1st
Fr. Maicel Uibo *7.22-4th *23-7.25-2nd 43-11.75-4th 6-8.25-1st 3,197-2nd
Fr. Devon Williams *7.08-2nd *23-9.50-1st *39-3.75-8th *6-2.25-7th 3,038-5th
Heptathlon - DAY TWO
Event 60mH Pole vault 1000m TOTAL
Scantling *8.15-2nd *16-0.75-1st *2:50.41-7th #5,889/1st
Uibo 8.55-4th 16-0.75-2nd 2:49.80-6th 5,693/2nd
Williams 8.06-1st 14-1.25-8th *2:47.98-4th *5,494/4th
*tied or improved personal-best mark