Freshman Morgann Leleux finished third in the pole vault at her first SEC Indoor Championships.
Feb. 25, 2012
LEXINGTON, Ky. --- Georgia senior Cory Holman broke his own school record in the heptathlon to push the Bulldog men into third place on day two of the Southeastern Conference Indoor Championships in Lexington, Ky., on Saturday.
Holman posted two more personal bests, giving him four in the competition, to help him score 5,825 points. This topped his score of 5,809 from earlier this year at the Razorback Invitational as his freshman teammate Garrett Scantling registered a career-high point total (5,481) to take fifth.
The Bulldog men surged into third place with 24 points and had three team members qualify for finals on Sunday. The Lady Bulldogs, who had four finals qualifiers, are currently in seventh place with 12 points.
Florida (50) has jumped out to an early edge in the men's team competition while Arkansas (48) is leading on the women's side.
"The best thing about (Saturday) is that we competed well and tried hard all day long," said Bulldog head coach Wayne Norton. "The women fought like they have been all year long and you can tell they're fighting by the number of personal bests we have had so far. Those performances will pay dividends for us down the road. Now we have to get the job done in a big way in the triple jump and high jump because they will dictate our final standing.
"I thought the men have had a decent meet so far, nothing spectacular. We had some events that we didn't do as well in but we had some strong performances. I think this team is progressing OK. Florida and Arkansas are having great meets so we are battling three or four teams for that third spot. We have some talented guys in Torrin Lawrence (400-meter dash) and Aaron Evans (800) competing in finals so they are important to our chances."
Holman picked up his third personal best of the competition to win the 60 hurdles (7.86) during the heptathlon's fifth event. He was the only competitor to break 8 seconds after topping second-place finisher Gunnar Nixon by more than two-tenths of a second. This moves Holman into a tie for second on the school's all-time top-10 list with the fastest time in three years for the Bulldogs.
Holman equaled his best performance in the pole vault after reaching 14 feet, 1 ¼ inches on his first attempt. This tied him for fifth place in the event and put another 702 points on his total.
A pair of Arkansas freshmen ruled the heptathlon's final event, the 1000, as Holman was able to grab third place. Holman completed his laps in 2:47.24 as Nixon (2:40.95) finished fast enough to bump Holman into third place overall.
Scantling won his heat in the 60 hurdles and was fifth overall with a career-best time of 8.45. His finish added 872 more points to his total and helped him stay in sixth place through five events.
In the pole vault, Scantling led his teammates after tying for third. He hit a mark of 14-9, which tied his personal best, on his opening try to match Gray Horn's mark in the event. Horn ended up winning the heptathlon for the Gators with 5,885 points.
Scantling completed his second collegiate heptathlon by recording a career-best finish in the 1000 (2:51.83) for seventh place. His finish helped hold off the other Arkansas freshman, Nathanael Franks, for fifth place overall.
During his final indoor meet as a collegian, senior Michael Ayers finished ninth (4,683) after suffering a no height in the pole vault. Ayers passed on the first 13 heights and then missed all three attempts at 15-1. Also of note, he shot out to the front of the pack in the 1000 and helped Holman and Scantling improve their standing in the race and overall point standings.
Freshman Morgann Leleux arrived at her first SEC Championships with the second-best women's pole vault mark in the nation behind Arkansas' Tina Sutej. After flirting with disappoint as she cleared the opening height of 13-3.50 on her third attempt, the New Iberia, La., native reached the final group of three after soaring over the bar at 14-1.25 on her first try.
Leleux joined Sutej and fellow Razorback senior Tara Diebold as the trio tried to hit the 14-4 mark. But Leleux missed on her three tries and the Arkansas duo both cleared. Sutej won the competition by breaking her own collegiate record with a mark of 14-11, giving her three SEC indoor titles in the event.
This will not be Leleux's final indoor meet of the year since she already has reached an NCAA automatic qualifying height of 14-4.50 earlier this season.
Sophomore Justin Welch came into the meet seeded fourth and finished third in the men's weight throw. After finishing fourth at the 2010 meet, he launched his third attempt 66-9.25 to knock Florida's David Triassi into fourth place on Saturday.
Also in the weight throw, sophomore Caleb Whitener took fifth after recording a personal-best effort of 60-9.25 on his second toss. Whitener was ninth at last year's meet and still has the shot put to come in Lexington.
In the women's shot put, sophomore Hilenn James improved her 2011 finish by one spot by taking third. James lifted her second throw a season-best 51-0.75 to add six points to the Lady Bulldog point total. James also had another 51-foot throw in her series as she prepares for the outdoor season.
Saturday's final event was the men's 3000 and senior Matt Cleaver managed a fifth-place finish. The defending SEC steeplechase champion weaved his way from near the back of the back to record a time of 8:15.02.
Georgia also had a total of six team members qualify for seven of Sunday's finals.
The 2010 SEC and NCAA champion in the 400, senior Torrin Lawrence made the first step at returning to the conference podium on Saturday. Lawrence finished in a season-best 46.01 to win and qualify for the Sunday's finals at 2:35 p.m. Lawrence's time in the prelims is the fastest in the nation this year and the fastest in the world in 2012 on an oversized track (Kentucky's track is 300m).
Also of note, senior Phillip Adams had a season-best time of 48.43 to finish 17th in the 400 prelims.
Freshman Tynia Gaither sped to the fastest time in the 60 for the Lady Bulldogs in the last nine years to qualify for the finals. Gaither shot to the finish line in a personal-best 7.43, which is No. 4 in the Georgia record books. This puts the Kissimmee, Fla., native in the 60 finals on Sunday at 1:50 p.m.
Gaither also moved into the fourth spot on the Lady Bulldog all-time top-10 list while qualifying for the 200 finals. She won her heat and was fourth overall after competing the race in a personal-best 23.88.
Another first-year runner for the Lady Bulldogs, Carly Hamilton, got the 10th and final spot for the mile finals. Hamilton clocked the second-fastest time of her UGA career (4:51.01) to finish fourth in her heat and 10th overall. She will join the rest of the final's field on the track Sunday at 2:05 p.m.
Junior Ashley Shiver finished two spots away from qualifying after crossing the finish line in 4:54.67 for 12th place.
Also in the mid-distances, sophomore Megan Malasarte qualified for her second straight trip to the finals in the 800. Malasarte, who will run in the finals at 3:10 p.m. Sunday, qualified automatically after passing Tennessee's Kianna Ruff in the final straightaway to record a 2:07.84. She has clocked two straight 2:07s after opening the year with a pair of 2:09s.
Malasarte's sophomore teammate Stella Christoforou improved her No. 8 spot in the school record books with a 2:09.93, but finished 10th overall and fifth in her heat to be one spot out of the finals.
Senior Aaron Evans gave Georgia two qualifiers for the finals in the 800. Running in the second heat of the men's prelims, Evans moved from the back of the pack early the race, to the fourth spot with a lap to go and then into second in the final straightaway. Evans finished in 1:52.30 as he tries to equal or improve on his second-place finish in 2011.
Sophomore Waymon Storey completed the 200 in 21.28 to finish second in his heat and seventh overall in the prelims. After a disqualification at last season's meet, Storey will run in the finals on Sunday at 3:40 p.m.
Also of note, freshman Quintunya Chapman finished second in her heat and 25th overall in the 400 prelims after speeding to a personal-best time of 55.85. In addition, freshman Taylor Hollingsworth was 34th with the fastest time of her Lady Bulldog career (57.12).
The meet starts back on Sunday with the women's weight throw, high jump, triple jump and men's pole vault. The first event on the track is 60 hurdle finals at 1:30 p.m.
|Justin Welch||Weight throw||66 feet, 9 ¼ inches/3rd|
|Morgann Leleux||Pole vault||14-1.25/3rd|
|Hilenn James||Shot put||^51-0.75/3rd|
|Caleb Whitener||Weight throw||*60-9.25/5th|
|Heptathlon - Last three events|
|Cory Holman||*7.86 - 1st||*14-1.25-T5th||2:47.24 - 3rd||*5,825 pts.|
|Michael Ayers||8.63 - 7th||NH||2:53.55 - 9th||4,638 pts.|
|Garrett Scantling||*8.45 - 5th||*14-9 - T3rd||*2:51.83 - 7th||*5,481 pts.|
* - personal-best effort; ^ - season-best effort