Georgia Track & Field Completes `Worthwhile' Meet At Auburn
Sophomore Nick Vena

Sophomore Nick Vena
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April 20, 2013

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AUBURN, Ala. --- Georgia’s track and field teams completed their weekend at a pair of meets with a variety of top performances on Saturday.

The Bulldogs competed for the second day at the War Eagle Invitational in Auburn, Ala., and wrapped up their third day of competition at the Mt. SAC Relays in Walnut, Calif.

“This was one of those meets where there was not a lot of (Southeastern Conference) level talent so we really just had to work on ourselves,” said head coach Wayne Norton, who accompanied the crew to Auburn.  “I think it was worthwhile to come here since we had plenty of good things happen.  We did a nice job of finishing at the top even when we didn’t put up some of the best times or marks that we have all year.  Overall, this was a good meet for our last one where we compete in individual events since next week’s Drake Relays is a different deal.”

Freshman Shaunae Miller, who leads the nation in the 200-meter dash, ran her second race in the event and won with a time of 22.61.  Miller finished two spots ahead of her sophomore teammate Tynia Gaither, who sped to a 23.65.

In the men’s 200, junior transfer Johnathan Smith clocked the 12th-fastest time in the nation this year with a 20.73 to finish first.  Smith, who already has the ninth-best time in the country in 2013, crept within a hundredth of a second of getting into the Bulldogs’ top-10 list.

“Both of our people in the 200 did pretty well and I think they can build on this as the postseason comes,” Norton said.

Also in the short sprints, freshman Briana Vaughn was the top collegiate finisher (fourth overall) in the 100 after shooting to an 11.67.

“I though Briana did a great job versus some very high level folks,” said Norton.

Sophomore Morgann Leleux captured her second victory of the season in the pole vault.  Leleux, who won by a foot, reached 13 feet, 8 ¼ inches on her third attempt.

After leaving his personal best in the 400 hurdles far behind last week, sophomore Drew Branch ran the fastest time for any collegian in the 400 with a personal-best time of 47.38.  Branch took third overall during his first outdoor race at UGA in the event.

The Bulldogs swept the first three places in the men’s shot put with sophomore Nick Vena leading the way.  Vena had a fifth throw of 61-5 while junior Caleb Whitener opened with a 58-6.50 for second and freshman Ashinia Miller took third (57-11.75).

The Lady Bulldogs won their second consecutive 4x100 relay race in as many weeks.  Vaughn and Miller combined with Gaither and sophomore Quintunya Chapman to clock a 44.89, which was their second-best mark of the season.

Chapman returned to the track in the 400 and left with a career-best time of 54.76.  She was the second collegiate finisher and fourth overall.

After a pair of second-place finishes, the Georgia men also won the 4x100 relay.  Freshman Jamario Calhoun, Smith, freshman Pierce Vincent and sophomore Justin Scott-Wesley made their lap in 40.81 to win by half of a second.

The Georgia women managed a 1-2 finish in the steeplechase with Bret McDaniel (10:54.60) winning her first race at Georgia and Gabby Fulton taking second with an 11:14.05.

Junior Burke McCarty earned runner-up honors in the discus by just one inch.  His third of six throws measured 175-8 as South Alabama’s Jan-Louw Kotze hit a mark of 175-9 on his final attempt.

Also of note, freshman Leontia Kallenou cleared 5-11.25 on her second try for fourth place.

One group of distance runners traveled to the Mt. SAC Relays, but several Bulldogs also competed in the longer distance runners in Auburn.  Sophomore Marrion Kalafut registered a career-best time of 17:41.42 for runner-up honors while senior Abbie Robinson finished with the fastest time of her season (17:52.28) for fourth place.

The Georgia men grabbed the top collegiate finish and were second, third and fourth overall in the 5000.  Senior Brian Detweiler (14:54.78)  topped his teammates while Kyle James (14:55.36) and Steven Spevacek (14:56.54) finished right behind Detweiler.

Junior Stella Christoforou also left Auburn with a second-place finish in the 1500 with a 4:31.91.

“Our distance crew at the end of the day ran really hard,” said Norton.  “Maybe they didn’t win but they were going after it.  I thought that was a good sign and I hope that carries over.”

In other action out west, sophomore Charles Grethen registered a personal-best time of 1:47.56 to take fifth in the 800 Olympic Development Elite race at the Mt. SAC Relays.  Running in his first outdoor season with the Bulldogs, Grethen finished in 1:47.56, which ranks third in school history and tops the nation’s No. 1 time coming into the weekend.

On the women’s side, junior Megan Malasarte finished eighth after completing her race in 2:05.15.

Results and recaps from the Bulldogs’ two meets will also be found at georgiadogs.com.

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