NCAA Heptathlon Title Paces Bulldogs At Championships
June 13, 2014
EUGENE, Ore. --- On Friday the 13th in Eugene, Ore., Georgia scored 13 points in the heptathlon to pace the Bulldog attack during the third day of the NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships on Friday.
True freshman Kendell Williams scored 5,854 points to edge San Diego State senior Allison Reaser (5,836) for the heptathlon title. Williams becomes the first freshman to win an NCAA title in the event since Jackie Johnson (Arizona State, 2004, 5,807) and only the third in history.
Junior Quintunya Chapman, in her first year competing in the heptathlon, complemented Williams' finish by surprising the field with a sixth-place finish (5,610).
The Lady Bulldogs added five more points with a career-best fourth-place finish from senior Megan Malasarte in the 800 meter finals. Thanks to Georgia's three scorers on Friday, UGA is fifth in the team standings with 25 points while Oregon (43), Texas A&M (41) and Texas (29) make up the top three.
In the men's team race, the Bulldogs have scored 24 points and are in third place behind Oregon (53) and Florida (28). However, the Georgia men have no more scoring opportunities on Saturday and will wait to see where their final finish is.
Sophomore Leontia Kallenou, who captured the 2014 NCAA indoor high jump title and was fourth at outdoor Nationals last year, and freshman Tatiana Gusin compete in the high jump on Saturday at 3:45 p.m. ET to wrap up the meet for Georgia.
"The results were good, but the way we got there was not really good," said Bulldog head coach Wayne Norton. "In the 800, getting fourth was nice but Megan had the capability and motivation to try and be in that top two. But we got those fourth-place points and any finish like that nationally is huge. We got first and sixth in the heptathlon and we will take those places and those points for sure. It was a hard way to get there with Kendell getting knocked down in the final race and not being able to get the score she wanted. Chapman fought hard and battled for her spot and for points we needed. It was tough going today but we scored some big points. We were able to survive and now we will be able to try and stay up at the top of the leaderboard in the meet's final day (Saturday)."
Williams' heptathlon crown is the first for the Lady Bulldogs since 2008 Olympic silver medalist Hyleas Fountain won in 2003 (5,999) and only the second in history. It is the 13th NCAA outdoor title in history for the Georgia women as the team has now won at least one in each of the last two years.
On Thursday, sophomore Maicel Uibo scored 8,182 points to win the NCAA decathlon title, giving the Bulldogs' their first national crown in the event and first outdoor championship since 2009.
This marks the first time since 2012 that the same competitor (Williams) has swept the NCAA pentathlon and heptathlon titles (Brianne Theisen, Oregon). It is also the first time since Theisen and her future husband Ashton Eaton, who is the world record holder in the decathlon, won both the heptathlon and the decathlon for one school in the same year since 2010 (Theisen, Eaton also accomplished the feat in 2009).
During the first day of the heptathlon, Williams quickly made her presence known in the 100 hurdles by setting an NCAA Championships and collegiate record. The Marietta, Ga., native finished in 12.99, which bested both of the aforementioned 14-year-old records of 13.02 set in 1997 by BYU's Tiffany Lott.
In the second day of the competitors' seven events, Williams won her third event of the meet after tallying a mark of 20 feet, 1 ½ inches on her first of three long jumps. Her mark, which fell between the distances of her other two long jump performances this year, gave her 890 more points and extended her lead to 236 points.
Chapman responded from an opening foul to have a long jump effort of 19-6 on her second attempt. The third longest effort of her career earned her 831 points and moved her to sixth place overall.
The javelin brought a personal best for Chapman and cut Williams' overall lead to 215 points. Chapman lifted the javelin 110-11 on her first try before taking fouls on her next two shorter attempts. This gave Chapman 549 points and dropped her to 10th after a strong second flight of throwers. Williams placed one legal throw of 114-3 between a pair of fouls to score 568 points.
The heptathlon's final event, the 800, provided a frightening ending to Williams' title run. Holding her 200-point lead, Williams took off to complete her two laps behind Chapman. However, Williams got tangled up on the second lap and fell to the ground. She managed to return to her feet but dropped to 20th in the 800 with a 2:28.59 for her final 711 points. This allowed the race winner, Reaser (2:12.08), to surge closer to her in the final standings.
Chapman was in a battle of her own to claim a First Team All-America certificate and her effort scored the Hinesville, Ga., native three points. She clocked her third consecutive 2:15 (2:15.85) to score 881 points with a fifth-place finish in the event. This finish helped to barely push her past Montana's Lindsey Hall (5,603) for sixth place overall.
It wrapped up a phenomenal freshman year for the Kell High School graduate. Indoors, Williams, who was named the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) National Women's Field Athlete of the Year following the season, set the collegiate and World Junior record in the pentathlon while claiming the 2014 NCAA title with 4,635 points.
Williams' outdoor campaign was highlighted by being named the USTFCCCA South Region Women's Field Athlete of the Year thanks to an American record of 6,018 set to win the Bulldog Heptathlon. She captured the SEC heptathlon title by 350 points.
Malasarte wrapped up her collegiate career by finishing a career-best fourth-place finish in the 800 for five more team points. Shooting to the lead during the middle portion of the race, Malasarte and four other competitors came around the final turn in a bunch. Oregon senior Laura Roesler (2:01.22) managed to leave the pack behind for the victory and Malasarte was fourth across the line in 2:03.42. Malasarte also scored in 2012 with a seventh-place finish.
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.
$collegiate, NCAA Championships record
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