March 23, 2012
ATHENS, Ga. --- The Bulldog track and field teams won five events to highlight the opening day of the Georgia Relays at the Spec Towns Track in Athens on Friday.
The Georgia men notched victories in the hammer throw, triple jump, shot put and sprint medley relay while the Lady Bulldogs ran away with the triple jump.
"I thought we had a decent start and we will be looking for more things to start happening (on Saturday)," said Georgia head coach Wayne Norton. "I thought the women triple jumpers had an encouraging start. Even though each of them has done better individually, this is the best they have done as a group in a while. With all of our events this weekend, we want our crew to have something to build on during the season, we want to them to get a solid mark to start from."
Under overcast skies and breezy conditions, senior Colleen Felix tallied the nation's leading mark in the triple jump during the Bulldogs' outdoor season opener. Felix, who won her second consecutive Southeastern Conference indoor title in February, worked up to a jump of 43 feet, 1 inch on her fifth attempt to cruise to a victory.
Former Lady Bulldog Latroya Darrell was second (41-5.75) while junior Saniel Atkinson took third with a jump of 41-2.25. The competition's fourth-place finisher was the 2011 SEC outdoor champion and Bulldog sophomore Maria Augutis. Augutis saved her best effort of 40-9 for her sixth and final attempt.
Aaron LaGarde jumpstarted his final season as a Bulldog by winning the triple jump. The Gray, La., native registered his best jump since finishing seventh at last year's SEC Championships in Athens on his fifth attempt. LaGarde traveled 51-7.75 to top the nearest competitor by more than two feet.
The Bulldogs went 1-2 in the men's shot put. Sophomore Caleb Whitener had only two fair throws, but launched his fifth attempt 57-7 to win the competition. Junior Petr Novotny continued work on a new throwing style and finished as the runner-up with a mark of 55-9.25. This was Novotny's top effort since the 2010 season.
A quartet of Georgia lowerclassmen locked down a victory in the sprint medley relay with a time of 3:25.98. Sophomore Eric Mills, freshman Chris Foster, freshman Corey Ashbourne and junior Daniel Grass combined to top four other teams in the race.
"This relay was mainly to get the cobwebs out and I thought our guys did a nice job coming away with a win," Norton said.
Sophomore Justin Welch opened the meet by grabbing the top collegiate finish in the hammer throw. Welch, who was the runner-up at the SEC Championships last season before advancing to his first NCAA Championships, had a top mark of 198-5 on his fourth attempt while suffering a trio of fouls in his series.
Former Bulldog Branislav Danis won the meet after registering a top effort of 212-1.
Senior Eve Machovec also grabbed a runner-up finish in the shot put after her longest throw measured 45-10.50.
After suffering an elbow injury in this year's opener that sidelined her for the season, junior Lucie Ondraschkova returned to action in the 100 hurdles on Friday. Ondraschkova, who has advanced to the last two NCAA Outdoor Championships in the heptathlon, was fourth in the 100 hurdles with a time of 14.59
Ondraschkova will return on Saturday to compete in the long jump at 1:45 p.m.
In the 110 hurdles, sophomore Jared Dunn posted a personal-best 14.91 to be the top Bulldog finisher while freshman decathlete Garrett Scantling ran the first race of his collegiate career in the event and finished with a time of 15.10.
Saturday starts with the men's javelin at 10 a.m. with the women's steeplechase being the first event on the track at 11 a.m.
Live results and recaps of both days of action at the Georgia Relays will be located at georgiadogs.com.