June 6, 2013
EUGENE, Ore. --- Georgia freshman Freya Jones won the women's javelin title to highlight the first day of the NCAA Outdoor Championships in Eugene, Ore., on Wednesday.
Jones launched a career-long throw of 180 feet, 3 inches at the University of Oregon's Hayward Field to clinch the Lady Bulldogs their first national championship in the javelin since Vigdis Gudjonsdottir won the 1999 crown.
The 10th-ranked Lady Bulldogs are tied for second with three other teams with 10 points as Kansas has taken an early lead with 17 points. Mississippi and Texas have each scored 10 points to take a day one lead in the men's team race. The Georgia men have not scored yet in the competition.
Freshman Maicel Uibo and sophomore Garrett Scantling start the day on Thursday with the 110-meter hurdles at 2 p.m. ET. Senior Lucie Ondraschkova begins the heptathlon at 4 p.m. while sophomore Tynia Gaither starts the open events for Georgia in the 200 semifinals at 7 p.m.
"We had ups and downs with a couple things that did not go our way," said head coach Wayne Norton. "But I want to focus on the tremendous positives that came from our two freshmen, Freya Jones and Shaunae Miller. Shaunae looked good in the 400 and while there is some really strong competition in that race, she has a great chance of finishing in the top three in the finals. We'd obviously like her to win it since we know she has that potential.
"Freya came through with a big, big throw to win her title. If you look at all of her throws, all of them were over (164 feet) and some of the other big throwers weren't hitting that mark the whole time. I was a little concerned when the Stanford thrower had a big throw, but Freya came back with her (personal best) to have a really satisfying finish. There were some really tough throwers in the field, like the girl from Florida and the two from Penn State, but they did not answer Freya's throw. Since some things didn't go great for us, this title for Freya was big for us and we are excited about it."
Norton said the important thing for Georgia is to keep the momentum going.
"What we have to do is flush the bad stuff," Norton said. "Don't even talk about the bad stuff now since we can't do anything about it. We can analyze that when the meet is over. We have to keep everyone encouraged and excited. Since we have an NCAA champion now, it should lift everyone up and encourage everyone to do their best for the rest of the week."
A native of Hampshire, Great Britain, Jones was in fifth place going into the fifth of six rounds with a top throw of 172 feet. On her fifth attempt, she launched the javelin 180-3 and completed her series with nothing that measured less than 166-6. Jones came into the competition with a personal-best throw of 173-9.
Freshman Shaunae Miller, who captured the 2013 NCAA indoor title in March, cruised to a school record of 51.57 in the 400 and the top qualifying time during her semifinal round. Racing out of lane four, Miller quickly made up the stagger and shot far in front of the pack during the final 100 meters.
Miller's 51.57, which was .07 faster than her winning time at the Carifta Games in the spring, topped a 26-year-old school record of 51.60 set by Gwen Torrence at the 1987 Drake Relays. Miller won her heat by nearly a half second on Wednesday.
Miller returns to the track at 8:55 p.m. on Friday for the finals.
In the decathlon, Scantling is in 10th place through five events after scoring 4,021 points. His teammate, Maicel Uibo, is holding on to 11th place with 4,003 as the pair are set to complete their multi-events on Thursday.
Scantling started the day in the opening heat of the 100 and clocked an 11.06 for 847 points.
Scantling opened with his best attempt in the long jump after registering a mark of 23-1.75 for 826 points. All three of Scantling's marks in the long jump this year have measured between 23-1.25 and 23-2.
Recovering from a first round foul, Scantling scored 698 points after his second throw measured 44-3.50. This gave Scantling an eighth-place finish in the event.
Scantling posted four first attempt clearances to reach 6-7.50 in the high jump. This gained the Jacksonville, Fla., native 822 points and moved him up in the overall standings.
In the final event of the day, Scantling was one of only 11 competitors out of 24 to break 50 seconds in the 400. He was ninth overall after completing his lap in 49.72, which was good for 828 points.
Uibo was sixth in the third heat of the 100 after crossing the finish line in 11.17 to start his day. This finish gave him 823 points in the opening event.
With a foul in the middle of his series, Uibo had a pair of 24-foot marks in the long jump, topping it out with an effort of 24-5. He scored 920 points and was fifth overall in the event.
Uibo launched an opening attempt of 40-2 in the shot put to add 621 points to his total. He followed his first throw up with a pair of fouls and was 20th overall.
Passing on four of his first five heights (with a first attempt clearance at the fourth height), Uibo moved into the scoring position with 906 points in the high jump. He cleared a career-high mark of 6-11 on his second attempt to take second overall. At the next height (7-0.25), Uibo passed after an opening miss to prepare for the 400.
Uibo wrapped up his first day by finishing 20th in the 400 with a mark of 51.82.
In her first trip to the NCAA outdoor meet, freshman Chanice Porter took the long jump runway on her first jump and had a mark of 20-3.75. The Jamaican native finished 14th overall after putting the 2013 SEC indoor title on her resume earlier in the year.
Sophomore Nick Vena sandwiched a toss of 60-8 between two fouls in the shot put to take 11th. Vena came into the meet with the longest throw at both the NCAA East and West Prelims.
Junior Caleb Whitener was strapped with two fouls to start his series and managed a throw of 59-0.75 on his third try. This was 10th in the opening flight and put him 17th overall during his second trip to the NCAA Outdoor Championships.
Junior Megan Malasarte, who earned First Team All-America honors in 2012, did not make the finals in the 800. Rolling with the front three through the first lap, Malasarte tucked in behind her heat's winner (national leader Natoya Goule) to move into second place. But the Fayetteville native slipped to fourth in the final straightaway and took 13th overall with a 2:05.46.
The Georgia men suffered a similar fate in their 800. Sophomore Charles Grethen advanced to the number two spot in his heat going into the final lap, but finished sixth in his heat and 19th overall with a time of 1:51.91 during his first NCAA meet.
Freshman Kisean Smith, who punched his ticket to the meet after being ranked in the 80s nationally, was 24th in the 800 semifinals with a time of 1:56.45.
In the men's 100 semifinals, junior Johnathan Smith clocked a 10.31 to finish sixth in his heat and 20th overall. A three-time Division III All-American at Guilford College, Smith finishes his first season with the Bulldogs fourth-fastest time in school history (10.20).
Smith's teammate in the sprints, sophomore Drew Branch, was 23rd in the semifinal round of the 400 hurdles. Competing at the 2012 NCAA outdoor meet in a relay, Branch finished with a time of 53.51 during his first trip to nationals as an individual.
Live results and a recap from each day of the NCAA Championships will be found at georgiadogs.com.