April 4, 2014
GAINESVILLE, Fla. --- Georgia's track and field teams erupted for 13 personal-best efforts and challenged many of the nation's best during the first day of collegiate action at the Florida Relays in Gainesville, Fla., on Friday.
"All of our men and women did a nice job in the distances tonight and it was a great day to be around a bunch of Georgia Bulldogs," said head coach Wayne Norton. "(Charles) Grethen was superb in his race and beat some really strong competition. Our freshmen sprinters had a good showing with Derrick White, Reggie Glover, and Ayrian Evans. I thought Myasia Jacobs was also solid in her performance.
"Johnathan Smith was impressive because he is developing some consistency and he also beat some of the best runners on the East Coast. (Megan) Malasarte had a big breakthrough in the 1500 with a personal best and I think this sets her up to run some exceptionally fast 800s this season. Megan looks like she could go under two minutes in 2014.
"Georgia also looked great in the steeplechase as Bret McDaniel seems to be getting comfortable in the role of continuing our success in the women's steeple. Erika Ramsey also had a nice (personal best) while Savannah Kirk was running an effective race before hitting a barrier and not finishing. On the men's side, it was encouraging to see Brendan Hoban challenge the leaders and be competitive.
"Our top two girls in the 5000 meters looked very good. Carly (Hamilton) and Nicole (DiMercurio) are on pace to score lots of points for the Lady Bulldogs this spring."
The top three finishers in the men's 800-meter run on Friday, including Bulldog junior Charles Grethen, took over the first three spaces on the national performance list for 2014. Grethen ran a career-best time of 1:47.22 for third place (.03 behind the second-place finisher) to improve his No. 3 mark in the school record books.
Another 800 standout, senior Megan Malasarte, started her outdoor season in the 1500 and earned a runner-up finish with the sixth-best time in school history. Malasarte moved into the nation's top 10 with a finish of 4:20.53.
On the men's side, freshman Brian Sullivan ran a 3:51.60 for eighth place in the 1500.
Malasarte's teammate Bret McDaniel also finished second after running a personal-best 3000 steeplechase time of 10:24.73, which like the winning time was a meet record. McDaniel secured a spot in the nation's top 10 for this season and holds the No. 4 spot in the school record books.
Not far behind McDaniel was junior Erika Ramsey, who ran a personal best 10:36.80 to take seventh in the steeplechase. Ramsey's time shaved 15 seconds off her time at last year's Florida Relays and boosted her to the No. 6 spot on UGA's top-10 list.
Junior Brendan Hoban left the Percy Beard Track with the ninth-best steeplechase time in school history for third-place honors. Hoban got his time to 9:11.72 as he sped past 18 other competitors.
Similar to Malasarte, junior Carly Hamilton, who has been a First Team All-American in the mile the last two indoor seasons, ran in an event out of her comfort zone and took second in the 5000. Hamilton ran the eighth-best time in school history (16:35.34) in her first time running the event while senior Nicole DiMercurio ran a 16:49.07 to finish third.
Sophomore Zack Sims finished one spot behind Hamilton in the men's 5000. Sims ran a 14:31.01, which is the second-best time of his career.
Coming into the meet with the nation's second-best long jump mark, sophomore Chanice Porter reached 20 feet, 4 ¼ inches on two consecutive jumps before passing on her final three attempts. This gave Porter a third-place finish.
Senior Drew Branch shot out of the starting blocks and ran a season-best 400 hurdles time by more than a second of 51.43. He took fifth in his heat and 10th overall.
Surpassing his personal best as a freshman in 2013 for the second consecutive meet, sophomore Jamario Calhoun ended up in fifth place in the long jump. He recorded a mark of 23-10 on his third attempt and had two other jumps in his series that were in a similar range.
In the throws, freshman Alex Larsson turned in a career-best throw of 211-10 to take seventh in the hammer. Fellow true freshman Alex Poursanidis was ninth after the only fair throw of his series was measured at 204-8.
Freshman Asianna Covington continued her climb in the Lady Bulldog record books by taking seventh in the discus Invitational. Her second throw traveled 160-8, which ranks sixth on the school's all-time top-10 list.
Senior Johnathan Smith took ninth in the 200 Invitational after running a 20.72, which matched former Bulldog Torrin Lawrence's time in the event.
Smith also managed an 11th-place finish in the 100 as he sped to a 10.31. Meanwhile, freshman Brandon Thompson continued to drop his personal best to 10.55 for 37th place.
A trio of Bulldog freshmen ran times of 47 seconds in the 400. Reggie Glover was 25th with a 47.37 while Derrick White took 29th after completing his lap in 47.45. Redshirt freshman Ayrian Evans took 35th overall thanks to a personal-best time of 47.77.
Results and recaps from the Florida Relays will be located at georgiadogs.com. Updates about all Bulldog track and field news can be found on Twitter at @UGA_XCTF.