Highlights and an interview with head coach Wayne Norton following the first day of the 2014 NCAA Track and Field Championships in Eugene, Oregon.
June 11, 2014
EUGENE, Ore. --- Georgia's track and field teams had three scorers and a qualifier to highlight the opening day of the NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships in Eugene, Ore., on Wednesday.
Junior Nick Vena paced the men's team by taking third in the shot put while sophomore Chanice Porter (long jump) and sophomore Freya Jones (javelin) each finished in the top six in their respective events for the women at historic Hayward Field.
In the team standings, Oregon leads on both sides with 13 points for the women and 15 for the men. The Bulldog men are tied for seventh with six points while the Georgia women are in eighth after tallying seven points.
"The first day went fairly well for us in a lot of areas, but we had some things that didn't go well for us," said head coach Wayne Norton. "The decathletes are right on pace to score more than 8,000 points and get into the top four. If we can do that on Thursday, that would be very big for this team's goals. Nick Vena had a big throw and is starting to establish some true consistency after coming out of high school as one of the nation's top throwers.
"We didn't get exactly what we wanted or expected in the javelin from Freya or long jump from Chanice, but in a competition like this with great teams we will take those points and move forward to the next day. Also, Megan did an outstanding job in the 800 and she is in a position to have a chance to be in the top three in the finals. Overall, I would say it's an `A' grade for the day."
Scantling and Uibo wrap up the final five events of the decathlon on Thursday starting at 2 p.m. ET. Freshman Kendell Williams, who leads the nation, and junior Quintunya Chapman start the heptathlon at 4 p.m. on day two.
Freshmen Alex Larsson and Alex Poursanidis kick off the open events with the men's hammer on Thursday at 4:30 p.m. Junior Carly Hamilton will also run in the 1500-meter semifinals at 7:45 p.m. and the men's 4x400 relay team will run in their semifinal round at 9:20 p.m.
A first-time scorer in his fifth appearance at the NCAA indoor or outdoor meets, Vena continued to stay in his groove in the shot put and lifted the ball 66 feet for the second consecutive meet. The Whippany, N.J., native recorded a mark of 66-1.75 on his second try to take third and score six points for the Bulldogs. Vena was ninth at the 2014 NCAA Indoor Championships, missing out on scoring by a single spot.
Porter scored for the second consecutive NCAA Championships after the Pratville, Jamaica, native was second at the 2014 indoor Nationals. In Eugene, Porter reached 20-9 on her second jump to hold off the nearest two competitors (who were at 20-8) for fifth place. The First Team All-American scored the first three points of the meet for the Lady Bulldogs.
Jones, who was returning to a location where she won the 2013 NCAA meet, tallied the next three points for Georgia after finishing sixth in the women's javelin. The Hampshire, U.K., native chunked her second attempt 174-1, which was her second-best throw of the year. Jones becomes the first back-to-back All-American in the javelin for the Lady Bulldogs since Krista Woodward scored for three straight years in 2005-07.
In the decathlon, Scantling and Uibo shot out of the blocks with season-best efforts in the 100 to start their 10 events. Scantling's 10.89, which is just .04 off his personal record set in 2013, gave him an eighth-place finish with 885 points. Uibo finished in 11.05 to be .06 slower than his previous career-best time of 10.99 set last year to take 12th (850).
With one foul apiece mixed in their three jumps, Uibo and Scantling tied for fifth and took 17th in the long jump, respectively, during the day's second event. Uibo concluded with a mark of 24-0.75 for 893 points while Scantling opened with a season-best effort of 23-0.75 on his first try for 821 points.
Scantling and Uibo each posted their best shot put toss of the day on their third attempts. Scantling worked up to a throw of 45-8 for 723 points. Uibo recorded a top effort of 44-6 for 701 points as the Estonia native tries to score for the second consecutive year in the decathlon.
For only the second time in his career, Uibo reached 7 feet in the high jump to win the event and earn 934 points. He cleared 7-0.25 on his second attempt as the second-place competitor cleared 6-11. Scantling hovered in his usual zone after soaring over the bar at 6-8.75 on his first try for 850 points.
The Bulldog duo wrapped up their first day of competition by clocking season-best times in the 400. Scantling completed his lap in 49.61 to take sixth overall and add 833 points to his total. Uibo, who approached his personal best of 50.61, ran a 50.64 for 13th-place honors and 785 points.
Senior Megan Malasarte was sole Georgia qualifier on Wednesday. The Fayetteville, Ga., native cruised to a victory in the third 800 heat by two seconds after running a 2:03.35. This was the third-best time of the day for Malasarte, who has gone 2:03 or better in four meets this year. She was 13th at last year's NCAA Championships.
Malasarte races in the 800 finals at 8:25 p.m. on Friday.
Senior Elizabeth Tepe completed her two-year Lady Bulldog career by taking 13th in the women's hammer at her first NCAA Championships. Tepe, who transferred from Saddleback Junior College after setting the junior college record, recovered from an opening foul to reach 202-1 on her final throw at Georgia. The Parker, Co., native hit the 200-foot mark five times in 2014 and is expected to be a Second Team All-American.
Despite not having an opportunity to run his leg of the 4x100 relay, senior Johnathan Smith did run the 100 semifinals and missed the finals by one spot. Smith ran a 10.27, which matched his NCAA East Regional time, to take third in the third heat with the top two finishers advancing. The Apple Valley, Ca., native was 20th at last year's NCAA meet and was 16th this time around.
With the 4x400 relay still coming for junior Drew Branch on Thursday, the Alpharetta native was fifth in his heat and 17th overall in the 400 hurdle semifinals with a 51.51 time. This marks a six-place improvement for Branch from his performance at the 2013 NCAA Championships.
Junior Brandon Lord made his debut at the NCAA Championships and managed a 17th-place finish in the 10,000. Lining up in a race that featured six scorers who ran in the 28-minute range, Lord made his 25 laps in 30:11.96.
The Bulldog 4x100 relay did not give the squad a chance to qualify for the finals after an issue with the initial handoff. Sophomore Jamario Calhoun took off with the baton, however freshman Reggie Glover did not manage to connect with Calhoun during the first handoff and the race for Georgia ended on the second turn.
Results and recaps from the NCAA Championships will be located at georgiadogs.com. Updates about all Bulldog track and field news can be found on Twitter at @UGA_XCTF.
|Decathlon - Day One|
|100m||LJ||SP||HJ||400m||Day 1 Total|
*personal-best mark; ^season-best mark
|Bulldog Open Competitors on Wednesday (Day One)|
|Nick Vena||Shot put||^3rd/66-1.75|
|Megan Malasarte||800m semifinals||!3rd/2:03.35|
|Chanice Porter||Long jump||^5th/20-9|
|Elizabeth Tepe||Hammer throw||*13th/202-1|
|Johnathan Smith||100m semifinals||*16th/10.27|
|Drew Branch||400m hurdle semifinals||17th/51.51|
|Men's 4x400m relay||DNF|
^scorers/expected First Team All-Americans; !qualifiers for finals; *expected Second Team All-Americans; Did Not Finish