Bulldog Track & Field Shines At Florida Relays
Freshman Ashinia Miller tallied his first career collegiate victory on Friday.

Freshman Ashinia Miller tallied his first career collegiate victory on Friday.
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April 5, 2013

GAINESVILLE, Fla. --- Georgia’s track and field teams altered the school record books and picked up a pair of wins during the opening day of collegiate competition at the Pepsi Florida Relays in Gainesville, Fla., on Friday.

The third day of the Relays begins for the Bulldogs with Elizabeth Tepe in the women’s hammer throw at 10 a.m.  The first event scheduled for Georgia on the track is the women’s 4x100-meter relay starting at 2:20 p.m.

"We had some really good things happen despite the cold, windy conditions," said Bulldog head coach Wayne Norton.  "Like I have been saying all year long, newcomers to this program are doing great things and coming through for us.  It is encouraging to see these performances when you think about this year's postseason and the future of the program."

Senior Leslie Boozer shaved more than 15 seconds off of her finish at last year’s meet to earn a second-place finish in the steeplechase.  Boozer recorded a track record time of 10:08.54, which is the fourth-best time in the nation this year and the best time for the Lady Bulldogs since Sarah Madebach’s school record time of 10:07.16 set at the 2008 NCAA Championships.

Also in the steeplechase, freshman Victoria Coppage finished seventh with the eighth-best time in school history (10:45.27) and sophomore Erika Ramsey improved her No. 10 mark on Georgia’s all-time top-10 list to 10:51.52 for eighth place.

"We had huge finishes in the steeplechase and the 5000 to end the day and with this being the first true steeplechase we have run this year, I think it's very promising," Norton said.  "All of those strong finishes at the end of the day made us look like the best team at the meet so closing out like that is always what we're looking for."

Walking away with the program’s top time since Kristie Krueger’s 4:18.58 at the 2010 Florida Relays, junior Carly Hamilton won the 1500 with a career-fastest time of 4:21.33.  This moved Hamilton from No. 6 to No. 5 on Georgia’s all-time top-10 list.

In the field, freshman Ashinia Miller watched his fifth of sixth attempts in the discus travel 178 feet, 3 inches to win his event.  This marked Miller’s first collegiate victory as he came within an inch of reaching his personal-best mark.

Sophomore transfer Charles Grethen made his Bulldog career debut in the 800 and finished with the fourth-best time in school history.  Grethen trimmed more than a second off his outdoor personal best after completing his laps in 1:47.95 to earn runner-up honors.  Grethen’s time is the second fastest in the nation this year.

Junior Megan Malasarte made her season debut in the 800 and finished with the fourth-best time of her career.  After setting the school record in the event three different times in 2012, Malasarte was the second collegiate finisher (third overall) with a time of 2:04.37.

"Our finishes in the 800 were some of the more significant highlights today," Norton said, adding that he was pleased with the way Zane Coburn and Daniel Grass ran as well.  "We put up some times that could now factor in at the SEC level and even the NCAA level if they continue to develop."

Freshman Freya Jones made her debut for the Lady Bulldogs and came away with a fourth-place finish in the javelin.  The Hampshire, United Kingdom, native opened with an effort of 160 feet.  This performance is No. 7 on Georgia’s all-time top-10 list.

Third in the fourth heat, sophomore Tynia Gaither clocked the eighth-best time in Lady Bulldog history in the 200.  Gaither finished 15th overall after she registered a time of 23.64. 

A pair of Georgia women had finishes in the top seven of the 5000 thanks to two personal-best finishes.  Nicole DiMercurio was sixth with the 10th-best time in school history (16:50.87) while Morgan VanGorder took seventh with a finish of 16:53.48

During the final event of the day, freshman Sid Vaughn was the second collegiate finisher (third overall) in the 5000 after the Lakeside High School native completed the race in 14:34.20.  Freshman Zack Sims took fifth (14:37.33) in the race.

Junior Johnathan Smith set his second consecutive personal best in the 200 to finish 12th overall.  Smith shot across the finish line in 20.87 after running a 21.01 at the Yellow Jacket Invitational.

Freshman Briana Vaughn matched her time in the 100 from last week with an 11.72 for 15th place.  Central Florida’s Octavious Freeman set a track record after winning with an 11.02, which topped former Lady Bulldog Debbie Ferguson’s mark of 11.09 set in 1998.

On the men’s side, freshman Pierce Vincent improved his personal best by one hundredth of a second to 10.59 to take 20th in the 100 behind Johnathan Smith (10.57 – 17th).

Six competitors reached 5-9.25 in the high jump and Georgia senior Saniel Atkinson-Grier was one of them.  Atkinson-Grier cleared the height on her second try and finished fifth in the competition.

Results and recaps from the Florida Relays will be found at georgiadogs.com.

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