April 19, 2014
WALNUT, Calif. --- The Bulldog track and field teams produced their peak performances of the weekend during the Mt. SAC Relays in Walnut, Calif., on Saturday.
Another flurry of personal bests and top collegiate finishes came at the War Eagle Invitational in Auburn, Ala. It was a lengthy day on Auburn’s track since a majority of the events on Friday were rescheduled to Saturday because of the weather.
“We had some good things here and there and I think we are still on track to have success at the (Southeastern Conference) and NCAA meets,” said head coach Wayne Norton. “Mt. SAC was very productive for us overall and we had more of our top folks at home getting ready for this final stretch of the year. We had a lot of average stuff going on and I thought we did a decent job of competing despite some not so great conditions.
“I was encouraged to see how Johnathan Smith is becoming consistent in the 100 from meet to meet. Rashan (Brown), Myasia (Jacobs), Drew Branch and the first five finishers or so in the 5000 all ran well and were encouraging to see.”
All three of the Bulldog shot putters finished in the top 10 in the Invitational Elite competition at Mt. SAC thanks to a career-best effort and one season-best throw. Senior Caleb Whitener shot to No. 4 on the national performance list and improved his No. 3 mark in the Bulldog record books to grab the top collegiate finish. The Dallas, Ga., native uncorked a throw of 65 feet, ¾ inches on his sixth and final throw and also featured a mark of 63-7.75 in his series.
Junior Nick Vena was sixth overall in the competition thanks to his sixth throw that measured 62-11.50. Taking 10th was sophomore Ashinia Miller, who finished with only one fair mark in his six throws, one that measured 61-3.50.
Keeping with the pattern of Georgia’s distance corps in Mt. SAC this weekend, junior Charles Grethen ran his second straight 1:47 (1:47.67) in the 800-meter run to win his heat and be the third collegiate finisher (sixth overall) Invitational Elite race.
Senior Megan Malasarte made her season debut in the women’s 800 Invitational Elite with the fastest opener in her career by a second. Malasarte was the fifth collegiate finisher (13th overall) after running a 2:03.30.
Fellow senior Elizabeth Tepe wasted little time establishing herself in the country’s top 10 in the women’s hammer Invitational Elite. Tepe launched a personal-best throw of 207-6, which is the fourth-longest throw in school history and best since 2010.
True freshman Alex Poursanidis made a four-foot improvement to his personal best in the hammer throw. Poursanidis reached 220-7 to move into the nation’s top 15 in the event.
Sophomore Chanice Porter took off for a mark of 20-6.50 on her second attempt in the long jump and left the facility with her third top collegiate finish of the season. Porter passed on her final four attempts as she works to lock down her second First Team All-America certificate of 2014.
After matching his career best of 10.20 to win the Spec Towns Invite last week, senior Johnathan Smith recorded the top collegiate finisher (second overall) after finishing his race in 10.31 at the War Eagle Invite.
Similar to Smith in Auburn, freshman Tatiana Gusin had the top finish last week and then cleared 5-8.75 on her first attempt to have the best finish for the collegiate competition (second overall) in the high jump.
One of Smith’s partners in the sprints is senior Drew Branch and Branch finished his first 400 of the year with a career best. Primarily a 400 hurdler, Branch ran a 47.01 to be second in the race as sophomore Maurice Freeman took fifth (47.86).
With success coming in the sprints so far this season, Freeman cleared a season-best 6-9.50 on his second try to take runner-up honors in the high jump.
Georgia’s next target for an elite time in the relays will come next weekend at the Drake Relays. But sophomore Jamario Calhoun and freshmen Reggie Glover, Brandon Thompson and Ayrian Evans combined to take third in the 4x100 relay with a 41.40 on Saturday.
Sophomore Rashan Brown was fourth overall (No. 2 collegiate finisher) in the 200 after crossing the finish line in 23.75. This is only .05 from her personal best run earlier this year.
Also, sophomore Brooke Koblitz took third in the 1500 Invitational after running a 4:44.35 and junior Erika Ramsey (17:28.63) and junior Marrion Kalafut (17:28.85) went fifth and sixth in the 5000 Invitational.
The Bulldogs make their annual trip to Des Moines, Iowa, next week for the Drake Relays.
Results and recaps from the Mt. SAC Relays and the War Eagle Invitational will be located at georgiadogs.com. Updates about all Bulldog track and field news can be found on Twitter at @UGA_XCTF.