Georgia's Torrin Lawrence Qualifies For 400m Finals At NCAA Indoor Championships
March 11, 2011
COLLEGE STATION, Texas --- Georgia junior Torrin Lawrence is set to defend his title in the 400-meter dash on Saturday after qualifying for the finals during the opening day of the NCAA Indoor Championships in College Station, TX., on Friday.
"Our one bright spot today was Torrin winning his heat and qualifying for the finals," said head coach Wayne Norton. "This means he still has an opportunity to defend, although it's going to be really tough. But we expect good things from him. Hopefully, things will go better for us (on Saturday)."
Lawrence, the defending NCAA champion in the 400, shot out of the blocks and took charge of the race on the second lap to win the opening heat in the prelims. Lawrence clocked a 46.35 to take fourth overall after registering a time of 46.05 to win the opening round in 2010.
Lawrence will have a chance to win only the fourth NCAA indoor crown for the Georgia men in program history. The last back-to-back NCAA champion that the Bulldogs had was Chris Hill in the javelin during the 2008 and 2009 outdoor seasons.
Lawrence will race on Saturday at 6:50 p.m. in the finals.
Sophomore Lucie Ondraschkova kicked off the action for Georgia as she completed the pentathlon in 14th place. She scored 3,906 points, the third-highest total of her season and her short career, thanks to a pair of career-best efforts in the first events of the day.
Ondraschkova, one of only two sophomores in the pentathlon field, opened her competition with a personal-best finish in the 60 hurdles to finish second in her heat and 15th overall with a time of 8.91. This time is a hundredth of a second faster than her previous fastest finish set at last year's SEC meet.
The Opava, Czech Republic, native tallied her second career-best mark of the day in the high jump after reaching 5-7.75 to take fifth in the competition. She cleared her first six heights on her opening attempt before missing all three tries at 5-8.75. Ondraschkova also reached 5-7 at the Texas A&M Challenge in his same facility earlier this season.
After reaching 33-1.25 in the shot put to slip from eighth to 15th place overall in the third event of the day, Ondraschkova returned in the long jump to take 12th with a top effort measuring 18-3. This improved her spot from 15th to 14th in the standings headed into the 800 finale.
Ondraschkova wrapped up her five events after crossing the 800 finish line with the second-fastest time of her career (2:18.32). She stayed with the front pack to finish third in the first heat and fifth overall as Maryland senior Kiani Profit set a new collegiate record in the event with a 2:09.67 out of the second heat.
Oregon's Brianne Theisen won the multi-events with a collegiate-record score of 4,540, bumping former Lady Bulldog standout and 2008 Olympic Silver medalist Hyleas Fountain (4,417, 2004) to fifth on the all-time collegiate list.
In the women's high jump, sophomore Saniel Atkinson soared over the bar at the opening height of 5-7, but could advance no farther. Atkinson missed three attempts at 5-8.75 and took 16th place in her first trip to the national meet. She cleared a career-best 5-11.50 at the SEC Championships to finish fourth.
The Bulldogs also had junior Aaron Evans compete in the 800 prelims after coming off a runner-up performance at the SEC meet. Evans fell behind early on Friday and was in the back of the pack through the first two laps. He finished eighth in the opening heat and 14th overall, failing to make the event's finals with a time of 1:52.67.
His finish, along with Ondraschkova's in the heptathlon and Atkinson's finish in the high jump, are expected to be announced as Second Team All-American honors when the USTFCCCA makes its official announcement at the beginning of next week.
Live results for Saturday's action and a recap from Friday are located at georgiadogs.com.
$ - expected to be announced as Second Team All-American honors by the USTFCCCA; % - advanced to Saturday's finals; * - career-best finish; ^ - season-best finish