May 10, 2013
COLUMBIA, Mo. --- Georgia track and field had two champions and six qualifiers to highlight the second day at the Southeastern Conference Outdoor Track & Field Championships in Columbia, Mo., on Friday.
In the team standings, the seventh-ranked Bulldog men are in third place with 17 points as Florida (35) has taken the early lead. The 10th-ranked Georgia women are also in third place (16) while Arkansas (21) is holding down the top spot with two days left.
Sophomore Charles Grethen, senior Daniel Grass, freshman Kisean Smith (men's 800-meter run), junior Megan Malasarte (women's 800), sophomore Tynia Gaither (women's 200) and sophomore Drew Branch (400 hurdles) all qualified for the finals of their events.
Tepe, a native of Parker, Co., captured the Lady Bulldogs their fourth consecutive SEC title in the women's hammer throw. Uibo, a native of Polva, Estonia, won the Georgia men their first SEC championship in the decathlon since 2002.
Also in the decathlon, sophomore Garrett Scantling (6,943) and freshman Devon Williams (6,765) combined for seven more points in the event with a fifth and sixth-place finish, respectively. Scantling led the decathlon going into the eighth event, but he failed to reach a height in the pole vault and did not score a point.
In addition, senior Lucie Ondraschkova finished third in the heptathlon to score six points for the Lady Bulldogs. Only the national leader in the event (Arkansas' Makeba Alcide) and the 2013 NCAA pentathlon champion (Mississippi State's Erica Bougard) topped Ondraschkova in the competition.
The meet begins on Saturday at 2 p.m. ET with the men's javelin and long jump. Georgia has its first competitor of the day in the long jump with freshman Jamario Calhoun battling the field at 2 p.m.
"Overall, we had some things go wrong and a lot go right," said head coach Wayne Norton. "I think big points in the decathlon and the heptathlon was one of the biggest positives for us today. And Liz Tepe coming into this meet and winning is really indicative of the things we are trying to get done with newcomers contributing early. These performances will set a precedent for the rest of the meet and this is a meet where every point is important. I think we had a very good day today and hopefully we will perform even better (on Saturday)."
Tepe launched her second attempt in the hammer a personal-best distance of 203 feet, 4 inches and won the competition by a foot and four inches. LSU junior Denise Hinton had a top throw of 202 feet on her sixth and final attempt to move into second place, but could not catch Tepe.
Tepe's throw is the 19th best in the nation this year and is the ninth SEC title in the women's hammer throw for the Lady Bulldogs since 2000. Before arriving at Georgia before the 2013 school year, the married 25-year-old spent four years in the Marines prior to setting the junior college national record at Saddleback Junior College.
"It was a struggle to make the transition that I did from being in the Marine Corps before college to civilian life since there are many differences," said Tepe. "But there are also a lot of differences with being an athlete. You have to have discipline and are exposed to many different things. You also have to be able to travel and meet a variety of people so there are actually many similarities with my life now and back then in the Marines. I feel like I am super lucky to be at Georgia and I could not have asked for a better season so far in my first year at Georgia. Having this type of experience is a huge accomplishment."
Uibo, who came into the meet with the world's third-best score this year and the country's second best in 2013, scored 7,781 points to win the decathlon. Uibo started his second day by posting a personal best in the 110 hurdles (14.78) and managed to pull out a 202-point victory over Arkansas' Kevin Lazas.
"It was great to win in my first year," Uibo said. "My teammate, Garrett Scantling, won the heptathlon title indoors so Georgia swept the multis this year. It's a great feeling to bring this back to Georgia, even though I didn't score what I wanted. But a win is a win. With the NCAA Championships coming up now, I will be just trying to line up everything and hopefully the results I want will come with that."
Uibo took second in the discus after reaching a distance that was six inches farther than Scantling's mark. Uibo worked up to a third throw of 135-6, which upped his point total by 691 points.
Uibo added 876 points to his total after recording a career best in the 110 hurdles for second place behind Scantling. Uibo shot across the finish line in 14.78, which trimmed .15 off his personal best.
Yet another runner-up finish for Uibo came in the pole vault. He scored 834 points after going over the bar at 15-11 on his second attempt.
Opening with a mark of 172-8 in the javelin, Uibo improved nearly 15 feet to take third with a 187-6 on his second try for 695 points.
Uibo cruised to his first SEC title during the decathlon's final event (1500) and was fourth. He finished in 4:58.59 with no one within four seconds in front or behind him.
Scantling secured his early lead in the sixth event after winning the 110 hurdles. The Jacksonville, Fla., native clocked a personal-best time of 14.49 to scored 912 points, which was his top point total of any event.
In the discus, Scantling launched the longest throw of his career (135-0) on his second attempt to take third for 688 points. Scantling's final throw of 130 feet would also have been a personal best.
Leading after day one and going into the pole vault, which is the decathlon's eighth event, Scantling passed all the way until 14-11 and suffered three misses.
Scantling managed to bounce back in the javelin and take second for 720 points. His second throw traveled 193 feet. Scantling concluded his second decathlon of the year by taking eighth in the 1500 with a time of 5:16.77 (467).
Williams, who was the third of three Bulldogs in the opening heat of the 110 hurdles, clocked a 15.03 to score 846 points. He was fifth overall in the event.
In the pole vault, Williams was sixth with a third attempt clearance of 12-11.50. This finish scored the Marietta native 603 points. Despite opening with a foul in the javelin, Williams posted a personal-best mark of 157-4 for seventh place and 559 points.
Williams was also seventh in the discus with a top mark of 115-11 for 571 points. He then completed his competition by taking seventh in the 1500 with a 5:16.09. His finish gave him his final 471 points necessary to take sixth overall.
"Uibo competed hard in tough conditions and it was big for us for all three of our decathletes to score in the top six," Norton said.
After scoring the most day one points of her career in the heptathlon (3,362) on Thursday, Ondraschkova moved from fourth to third in the overall standings with a final score of 5,627. Her runner-up performance in the long jump on Friday helped her score the second-most points of her career.
Ondraschkova saved her top effort in the long jump for her final attempt to take second. After also having the second-best jump in the opening round, she fouled on her second attempt and then traveled 19-3.25 on her third try for 810 points.
During the javelin, Ondraschkova finished fourth after watching her third throw sail 123-6. This result was good enough for fourth place in the competition and 622 points as Ondraschkova moved from fourth to third place overall.
In the heptathlon's final event, Ondraschkova kept up with the front pack and took sixth in the 800 (2:19.30). Her two-lap time scored a final 833 points as Ondraschkova still stands seventh on the national list. The qualified heptathletes, similar to the decathletes, are allowed to skip the NCAA Regionals and advance straight to the NCAA Championships.
"Lucie really battled nicely during the whole heptathlon and she is right where she needs to be as she heads into the NCAA Championships," said Norton.
The Bulldogs also qualified four runners in the 800, one in the 200 and one in the 400 hurdles for the finals.
"We did a solid job of qualifying almost all of the people who ran in prelims, especially with four going through in the 800," said Norton.
On the men's side, Grethen finished with the fastest 800 qualifying time after winning the first heat with a 1:48.94. Grass (1:50.03) and Smith finished third and fourth, in that order, during Grethen's heat to pick up two of the other qualifying spots. Smith's time of 1:50.05 trimmed nearly a second off of his personal best.
Malasarte finished first in her heat in the women's 800 and third overall after crossing the finish line in 2:06.87. She set a school record at the 2012 SEC meet for fourth-place honors.
Branch, who is the SEC leader in the 400 hurdles, qualified automatically in his event after taking second in the third heat. With no competitors breaking 51 seconds in the prelims, Branch clocked a 52.48 to have the fifth-best qualifying time.
In the 200, Gaither was the runner-up and fifth overall with a time of 23.48.
Also of note, junior Nicole DiMercurio clocked the eighth-fastest time in school history of 35:05.06 to finish 12th in the 10,000.
Live results and recaps from the SEC Championships will be located at georgiadogs.com.
Bulldog Final Qualifiers
MEN Event Time/Place
Charles Grethen 800m 1:48.94/1st
Daniel Grass 800m 1:50.03/5th
Kisean Smith 800m *1:50.05/7th
Drew Branch 400mH 52.48/5th
Megan Malasarte 800m 2:06.87/3rd
Tynia Gaither 200m 23.48/5th