March 4, 2014
ATHENS, Ga. --- Ten Georgia men and women have been included in the field for the coming NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships in Albuquerque, N.M., on March 14-15, according to an announcement by the NCAA on Tuesday night.
Seniors Lucie Ondraschkova (pentathlon) and Megan Malasarte (800-meter run), juniors Morgann Leleux (pole vault), Carly Hamilton (mile) and Quintunya Chapman (pentathlon), sophomore Chanice Porter (long jump) and freshmen Leontia Kallenou (high jump) and Kendell Williams (pentathlon) are all ranked in the top 16 in their individual events.
"Our team is still recovering from what I would term a 'brutal' Southeastern Conference meet where it seemed as though the competition was the toughest that it has ever been in my 24 years here," said head coach Wayne Norton. "As in most years, we have some highly-ranked individuals who we will rely heavily upon to help us reach our goals. I expect everyone who competes next week to score. Every point will be valuable because the scoring tables are stingy in that only eight people score in each event. We need some people in the top three and we need to win some events."
The Georgia competitors hail from five different countries and four different U.S. states and this group will attempt to repeat Georgia's pair of top-20 finishes in 2013. Seven of the 10 traveling are ranked in the top five in their respective events. A true freshman, Williams is one of only two student-athletes making her first appearance at Nationals. Chapman also is advancing to her first NCAA meet after staring the multi-events this season.
Ondraschkova and Vena will be competing at their third NCAA Indoor Championships.
Topping the crew in past success is Leleux, who has finished as high as second indoors after earning runner-up honors as a true freshman in 2012. In fact, the three-time SEC champion and two-time First Team All-American was also second at the 2012 NCAA Outdoor Championships.
"Our women's group has a great opportunity to finish very high in the team standings considering our national ranking and the number of qualifiers we have," Norton said. "Without many qualifiers on the men's side, we would like to score enough to make it into the top 20. I am confident in the group we are going in with.
"As we go into the NCAA Championships, we do not have as many qualifiers as we thought we would have before the season started. Two bad things affected us this season--bad weather and bad injuries. The positive coming out of that situation is that we will bring back some athletes during the outdoor season who will not be overworked. So I am looking forward to a good March and beyond."
Here is a breakdown of how all 10 Bulldogs punched their ticket to the NCAA Championships:
- Lucie Ondraschkova (Sr., Opava, Czech Republic): Scored the nation's fourth-best score in the pentathlon of 4,225 to take third at the SEC Indoor Championships. This was the second-best performance of her career after Ondraschkova tallied 4,228 points to take fourth at the 2013 NCAA Indoor Championships.
- Megan Malasarte (Sr., Fayetteville, Ga.): Ran the country's second-fastest 800 time (2:03.08) during the SEC prelims, which topped her own school record in the event. Malasarte did not advance to the NCAA indoor meet in the 800 last year. However, she was a First Team All-American after taking seventh at the 2012 NCAA Outdoor Championships.
- Morgann Leleux (Jr., New Iberia, La.): Soared over the pole vault bar at 14 feet, 4 ½ inches to win her third SEC title and move to No. 5 on the national list. Leleux has two second-place finishes at the NCAA Championships and also competed at the 2013 NCAA Outdoor Championships while she continued her recovery from an eye injury.
- Carly Hamilton (Jr., Springboro, Ohio): Finished fourth in the mile finals at the SEC Championships with a school record and the 11th-fastest time in the nation this year (4:35.79). Hamilton was a First Team All-American last indoor season after taking fourth and also ran on the distance medley relay team at Nationals.
- Quintunya Chapman (Jr., Hinesville, Ga.): Bettered her score in the pentathlon by nearly 400 points at the SEC Championships to grab the 16th and final spot at Nationals. Chapman scored 4,043 points to take eighth at the league meet and move to No. 5 on the school's all-time list.
- Chanice Porter (So., Pratville, Jamaica): Recorded the nation's third-best mark in the long jump of 21-2.75 at the Doc Hale VT Elite Meet in early February. Porter missed scoring at the 2013 NCAA Indoor Championships by just one spot (ninth place) after winning an SEC title in the event as a true freshman.
- Leontia Kallenou (RFr., Nicosia, Cyprus): Answered the challenge by her competition and cleared an SEC Championships meet and school record height of 6-2.75 to win the SEC high jump title and move into a tie for the national lead. After redshirting last indoor season, Kallenou was fourth at the 2013 NCAA Outdoor Championships after going over an outdoor personal best of 6-1.25 in Eugene, Ore.
- Kendell Williams (Fr., Marietta, Ga.): Set an American Junior record and is currently second on the national list in the pentathlon after winning the Cherry & Silver Invitational with 4,302 points on the same track where Nationals will be held. Followed that performance up with a 4,283-point performance to take second at the SEC Championships, which would be third on the current national list.
- Maicel Uibo (So., Polva, Estonia): Scored a season best 5,859 points to win his first SEC heptathlon title and take over the No. 4 spot in the national rankings. Uibo was fourth at last year's Nationals, finishing one spot behind teammate Garrett Scantling (who is redshirting), and was fifth in the decathlon at the 2013 NCAA Outdoor Championships.
- Nick Vena (Jr., Whippany, N.J.): Grabbed the 16th and final spot in the shot put thanks to his top mark of 62-11.50 at the Doc Hale VT Elite Meet. This will be his fourth trip to the NCAA Championships after advancing to both the indoor and outdoor meets last year and to the 2012 NCAA indoor meet while competing for Virginia.
Last year, the Georgia women qualified seven individuals and its distance medley relay team and the group finished 10th with 22 points. Freshman Shauane Miller highlighted the meet by winning the 400 as both Hamilton (mile) and Ondraschkova (pentathlon) were fourth and Hilenn James was seventh in the shot put. James is redshirting this season and will be competing outdoors.
Three other 2014 qualifiers for the Lady Bulldogs also competed at the last NCAA indoor meet. Porter was ninth in the long jump (20-6.25). Leleux did not register a height in the pole vault while continuing to recover from her injury and Malasarte ran on the 10th-place DMR team.
The Bulldog men had four qualifiers in 2013 and tied for 18th with 11 points. Uibo and Scantling advanced to Nationals in the heptathlon and the pair finished fourth and third, respectively.
Vena and his training partner Caleb Whitener also qualified in the shot put last year. Vena was 10th and Whitener was 14th in their final indoor meet of the 2013 season for Second Team All-America certificates.
These competitors and the rest of the Bulldogs will open their outdoor season at the Alabama Relays in Tuscaloosa, Ala., on March 20-22. Georgia hosts the Bulldog Decathlon/Heptathlon and Spec Towns National Team Invitational (April 10-12) and the Georgia Invitational (May 10) this spring.
Results and recaps from the NCAA Indoor Championships will be found at georgiadogs.com. Updates about all Bulldog track and field news can be found on Twitter at @UGA_TFXC.