Bulldogs Have Strong Opening Day At Florida Relays
April 6, 2012
GAINESVILLE, Fla. --- Bulldog senior steeplechaser Matt Cleaver finished with the country's fastest time in his event to pace Georgia during the first day of action at the Florida Relays in Gainesville, Fla., on Friday.
"It got kind of tough later in the day with windy conditions as a cold front moved in," Georgia assistant coach Jon Stuart said. "But there was some strong competition out there today and I think our teams elevated their performances and stepped up. Some of our best are starting to step up so that's a good sign. We are looking for big things (on Saturday)."
Cleaver, the defending Southeastern Conference champion in the 3000-meter steeplechase, won his second straight race with a national-leading time. Cleaver recorded a time of 8:49.38 to pick up a 10-second victory and come within four seconds of his career best in the steeplechase.
Sophomore Megan Malasarte ran her first 800 of the outdoor season and finished with the third-best time in school history. Malasarte clocked a 2:06.05 to be the top collegiate finisher (second overall) and move to No. 5 on the national performance list.
Junior Leslie Boozer improved her own No. 3 time in school history in the women's steeplechase. After registering a personal-best 10:24.84 at last year's NCAA East Regionals, Boozer was the runner-up on Friday night after completing the course in 10:24.15. This is the seventh-fastest time in the nation this year.
Savannah Kirk bettered her No. 9 time in the school record books to 10:55.52 for 11th place in the event.
While his teammate and SEC leader Brian Moore took the weekend off, sophomore Braydon Anderson watched his second throw travel a personal-best 222-5 for third place. Anderson moved from 10th to ninth on the Georgia all-time top-10 list.
In the women's javelin, Allison Updike, who was this week's SEC Freshman of the Week, was the second collegiate finisher (third overall) after her fifth of six throws measured 149-6.
Senior Torrin Lawrence made his season debut and managed to move to fifth on the all-time top-10 list for UGA in the 200. Lawrence, who won the 2009 SEC indoor 200 crown, clocked a career-best 20.51 to finish seventh.
In the women's discus Invite, sophomore Hilenn James had the second-best performance of her career to take third. James lifted her opening attempt 169-7 before suffering five consecutive fouls.
Fellow senior sprinter Phillip Adams continued to drop his season best time in the 400 hurdles to take seventh. Adams completed his lap in 51.22 and moved into the top 15 nationally.
Sophomore Justin Welch opened with two identical season-best marks of 203-7 to take eighth in the hammer throw Invite.
Senior Morgan VanGorder improved her personal-best time in the 5000 to 17:01.32 in one of the night's final events. VanGorder finished fourth in the competition as senior Abbie Robinson shaved time of her career best to take 12th (17:44.08).
The Bulldogs finished sixth through 10th in the men's 5000 with sophomore Brandon Lord leading the way (14:21.03).
In his first action of the season, senior decathlete Cory Holman finished with the second-fastest 110 hurdle time of his career (14.19) to take 26th. Holman's personal best of 13.99 happened as he won the event during the 2010 SEC decathlon competition.
Live results and recaps from each day of the Florida Relays will be posted at georgiadogs.com.
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