Sophomore Hilenn James qualified for the NCAA Championship finals in the shot put and still has a shot to qualify in the discus as well.
May 24, 2012
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. --- Three members of Georgia's track and field qualified for the finals of the NCAA Outdoor Championships during the first of three days at the NCAA East Prelims in Jacksonville, Fla., on Thursday.
Sophomore Hilenn James (shot put), sophomore Burke McCarty (discus) and freshman Allison Updike (javelin) became the first Georgia team members to earn a trip to the NCAA Championships, which arrive in two weeks.
The top 48 competitors in every event from across the East Region are battling for the top 12 spots. The same setup is occurring simultaneously during the West Prelims in Austin, Texas. The 12 who qualify in each event at both the East and West Prelims will advance to the finals of the NCAA Championships in Des Moines, Iowa, on June 6-9.
On Thursday, James punched her ticket to her first NCAA Championships after taking seventh in the shot put. The Trinidad & Tobago native posted a third throw measuring a season-best distance of 52 feet, 8 ¾ inches. With her discus competition arriving on Friday, James passed on her final three throws as only six other throwers were able to top her mark through their six attempts.
This will be James' first trip to the finals of the NCAA Championships after taking 19th at the 2011 NCAA East Prelims. She entered Thursday's competition with the 19th-best throw (51-11.75) in the East Region. James, who is third on the region's list in the discus, will compete in the discus competition at 3 p.m. on Friday.
McCarty also earned his first shot at the NCAA Championships in the men's discus. After opening up with a foul, McCarty worked up to a sixth and final throw of 183-2 for sixth place. This marks McCarty's second-longest throw of his career.
Updike returned to competition for the first time since winning the SEC title in Baton Rouge two weeks ago and clinched her first trip to the finals of the NCAA Championships. Updike, who was the only conference thrower to advance, unleashed a second throw measuring 157-7 to finish just five feet back from the winner and fourth overall.
Georgia actually already has four student-athletes qualified for Des Moines. Junior heptathlete Lucie Ondraschkova gets the opportunity to bypass the NCAA Prelims since the top 24 heptathletes and decathletes nationally earn an automatic pass to Des Moines. Ondraschkova is No. 21 on the list after scoring a season-high 5,443 points to take sixth at the SEC Championships. The Opava, Czech Republic, native was 17th at last year's NCAA Championships.
There were also three Bulldogs who advanced to the second round in their track events. Racing in his hometown of Jacksonville, senior Torrin Lawrence cruised to a victory in the opening heat of the 400-meter dash and qualified for the event's quarterfinals on Friday at 6 p.m. Lawrence clocked a 46.21 to have the third-fastest time out of the 48 competitors.
Senior Aaron Evans is working to advance to the 800 finals of his first NCAA Outdoor Championships since 2010. Evans, who was fourth at this year's NCAA indoor meet, automatically qualified for the quarterfinals by taking second in his heat with the 12th-best time. The Bermuda native finished in 1:49.67.
Evans races in the 800 quarterfinals at 7 p.m. on Friday. He was third at the 2010 NCAA outdoor meet.
Sophomore Megan Malasarte also gave Georgia a qualifier in the women's 800. Malasarte was the only runner in her heat to record a 2:06 after taking 13th with a 2:06.95. She advanced to the 800 quarterfinals as a freshman in 2011, but did not advance to the final meet after taking 22nd.
Malasarte will take the track again at 7:15 p.m. on Friday for her 800 quarterfinals.
As he attempts prolong his collegiate career, senior Cory Holman opened the competition with an effort of 23-10 to take 22nd in the long jump. The 2012 NCAA indoor All-American heptathlete has a season-best mark of 24-4.25 and a career-best jump of 24-9.75, which was set at the 2010 Sea Ray Relays.
Holman is still expected to compete in the prelim round of the 110 hurdles on Friday at 5 p.m.
Sophomore Braydon Anderson saw his season come to an end after finishing 27th in the javelin. The 6-foot-8 hurler fit a throw measuring 200-8 between two fouls and failed to advance to the 16-man finals. Anderson finishes his second season No. 9 on Georgia's all-time top-10 list after taking third at the Florida Relays with a mark of 222-5.
Part-time shot putter Ray Drew also saw his first season with the Bulldogs come to an end. An outside linebacker for Georgia's football team, Drew completed the fifth collegiate meet of his career in 24th place. Drew, who was 50th on the East Region performance list coming in, opened with the third-longest throw of his brief career (168-8) and did not make the finals.
Coming in with a career-best time of 50.99 this season, senior Phillip Adams was disqualified in the prelims of the 400 hurdles after hooking one of the hurdles. Adams advanced to the finals of the 2011 NCAA Championships after finishing 11th at last year's NCAA East Prelims with a time of 51.12. Freshman Drew Branch also ran in the 400 hurdles, finishing 33rd overall.
Adams will also be running in both the 4x100 and 4x400 relays on Saturday. Branch is also part of the 4x400 team.
Live results and recaps from each day of the NCAA East Prelims will be found at georgiadogs.com.