Nikola Lomnicka Keeps UGA In Contention At NCAAs
June 7, 2012
Nikola Lomnicka highlighted the day with her third consecutive First Team All-America performance in the hammer throw at the NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships in Des Moines, Iowa, on Thursday.
Thanks in part of Lomnicka's seventh-place finish for two points, the Georgia women are tied for fifth place with 10 points with three other teams as Stanford (22) is leading. While the Bulldog men have not yet scored, Texas (19) is leading and Arkansas (16) is holding down second.
Action begins for the Bulldogs with sophomore Justin Welch in the men's hammer throw at 3 p.m. on Friday. Six different competitors will be representing Georgia during the meet's third day.
"The big good news for us today was that Nikola was able to battle back from two years of major injuries and get two points," Bulldog head coach Wayne Norton. "And hopefully those two points will be big for our team score at the end of day four. I know she is disappointed because it is hard to finish on the top to start your career and them finish your career placing lower. But her finish is kind of like this program. We have had to overcome tremendous adversity the last couple of years and are still battling. I'm proud of the way Nikola finished her career. We need more folks who compete like she does.
"As bad as some of the things have been for us at this meet, we know the sun will come up tomorrow and we will be wearing our red and black as we try to get some more points on the board."
During her last collegiate meet, Lomnicka launched her sixth and final throw in the hammer a season-best mark of 211 feet, 9 inches. She advanced to the finals in eighth place after three throws and was then dropped to ninth when Southern California's Marissa Minderler had her top effort of 208-1 on her fourth throw. But like she has her entire Georgia career, Lomnicka let go of her top throw on her sixth attempt to jump into seventh place.
Lomnicka became the first Lady Bulldog to earn three First Team All-America certificates since Jenny Dahlgren and only the second in school history. Dahlgren captured the 2006 and 2007 NCAA titles in the event and was a four-time All-American from 2004-07. Lomnicka, who finished No. 2 on Georgia's all-time top-10 list (219-6), completes her career as the 2010 NCAA champion and with a third-place finish at the 2011 national meet.
Junior Lucie Ondraschkova posted two personal-best marks and a pair of season-best efforts during the first four events of the heptathlon. She scored the most points of her career after the first day with 3,259 points, which tops her best day one score of 3,181 set at the 2010 conference meet.
Traditionally, Ondraschkova has had her dominant performances on the second day of the heptathlon with the arrival of the long jump, javelin and 800. She is attempting to break into the top eight to score for the Lady Bulldogs and earn the first All-America certificate for the program in the event since 2005 (Jessica Stockard).
Ondraschkova capped her first day of action by sprinting to a half of a second personal best in the 200. Running in the opening heat, she finished fourth and 17th overall with a time of 25.03. This tops her previous career-best time of 25.56, which she recorded at the 2012 SEC Championships.
"The 200 was a surprise for me," said Ondraschkova. "I didn't expect that time at all so I was excited when I looked up and saw it on the board."
After opening with the longest throw of her career in the shot put (39-3), Ondraschkova followed up a second throw foul by topping that previous personal best with a launch of 39-9.75. This boosted her total 670 points and moved her into 17th place overall.
"I knew I could throw the shot far because it was flying in practice," she said. "It was just a question of if I could hit it or not and I did today."
Ondraschkova bolted out of the starting blocks in the 100 hurdles to jumpstart her first day. The Opava, Czech Republic, native finished third in her heat and 23rd overall after clocking a 14.32 after 10 hurdles.
This marked Ondrashkova's second-best time recorded at a collegiate event after registering a 14.29 at the 2010 SEC Championships as a freshman. During her first SEC meet, she scored a career-best 5,467 points through seven events.
"I feel really good about how I ran the hurdles," said Ondraschkova. "I knew I could run them fast and even though I expected a little faster, I'm happy about the outcome."
In the high jump, Ondraschkova nailed down her second season-best mark of the meet. She cleared three heights on four attempts, including her final mark of 5-4.25 to finish 17th. Ondraschkova, who added 771 points to her total with her clearance, reached the same height at the 2011 NCAA meet.
"I've been struggling in the high jump," she said. "My (personal best) is much better than I am jumping but I just can't hit it right now. But I'm excited for the second day. It'll be fun."
The Bulldog 4x400 relay team took the track in its semifinal round and had a Second Team All-America performance after taking 14th. Senior Phillip Adams, freshman Chris Foster, freshman Drew Branch and senior Torrin Lawrence were fifth in their heat with a time of 3:06.52. Lawrence, a four-time First Team All-American, completed his career by clocking the fastest anchor leg (an electronic split 44.04) at the meet and of his Georgia career.
Senior Matt Cleaver wrapped up his season by taking 23rd in the semifinal round of the 3000 steeplechase. After hanging in the middle of the pack for the first two laps, Cleaver slipped to the back of the field in the opening heat and crossed the finish line in 9:16.30.
Cleaver topped his own school record in the event with an 8:41.86 at the NCAA East Prelims two weeks ago and also won his second consecutive SEC title in the steeplechase during the month of May.
Live results and a recap from each day of the NCAA Championships can be found at georgiadogs.com.
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