Bulldog Track Returns To The Road At Yellow Jacket Invite
March 27, 2014
ATHENS, Ga. --- The sixth-ranked Lady Bulldogs and the seventh-ranked Georgia track and field men's team will make the short trip to Atlanta for this weekend's Yellow Jacket Invitational at Georgia Tech's George C. Griffin Track.
Forty-seven team members, including 32 women, are on the itinerary to compete. The first and only event for the Bulldogs in Atlanta on Friday is the women's 5000-meter run at 9 p.m. Ten Georgia women are scheduled to run in the race.
On Saturday, the women's javelin will be the first event for Georgia and is slated to start at 10:30 a.m. The running events and other field events will begin at 12:30 p.m.
Five of the 10 Bulldogs who advanced to the 2014 NCAA Indoor Championships will be competing and junior Garrett Scantling is expected to compete for the first time since taking ninth in the decathlon at last year's NCAA outdoor meet. Scantling redshirted the indoor season while rehabbing from an injury.
Alabama, Auburn, Chattanooga, Georgia State, Mercer, Middle Tennessee State, Ohio State and Syracuse are entered in the meet along with the Bulldogs and Georgia Tech.
Four Bulldogs will also be traveling to Raleigh, N.C., to run in a 10,000-meter race at the Raleigh Relays. Seniors Luke Baker and Charlie Sparks, junior Brandon Lord and sophomore Steven Spevacek will run 25 laps in their first outdoor action of the year at 10:35 p.m. on Friday night.
Lord clocked the second-fastest time in school history (29:12.90) at the 2013 Canadian Championships while Baker owns the No. 8 spot on the UGA all-time top-10 list after running a 30:00.64 at the Drake Relays two years ago.
There is at least a 50 percent chance of rain or thunderstorms at both sites on the two days of competition so delays are possible.
"We are treating this meet as we do our home meets, which means we are giving more athletes an opportunity to compete," said Bulldog head coach Wayne Norton. "So for that group many will be in the first meet of the year. It is difficult to predict how they will react so it will be a wait-and-see approach.
"But for most of our team, this meet is seen as a tune-up for the heart of the season which lasts for the entire month of April. We are expecting and praying for warmer weather in April so that's when we want to start really making some progress. The Yellow Jacket meet is important because it's preparation for the April run."
Georgia had two winners at last year's Yellow Jacket Invite. One of the two, senior Johnathan Smith, will be competing again this year after he opened the year with the third-best time of his career (10.25) to win the 100 at the John Mitchell Alabama Relays last weekend.
Similar to this year's forecast, the Yellow Jacket Invitational has been held in wet conditions for a couple years. But Norton is optimistic about his teams' prospects if the sun will shine.
"The meet has been plagued by bad weather over the last several years with rain, wind and some fairly violent storms," Norton said. "But when the weather has cooperated, it has been a good early season meet."
This marks the second weekend of outdoor meets for Georgia. Counting this coming weekend, the Bulldogs have two weekends of meets before the Spec Towns National Team Invitational (Bulldog Decathlon/Heptathlon) arrives in Athens on April 10-12.
Georgia's second home meet of the year, the Georgia Invitational, is scheduled on May 10 and the Southeastern Conference Championships (Lexington, Ky.) are the week after on May 15-18. The NCAA Championships in Eugene, Ore., arrive on June 11-14.
Results and recaps from the Yellow Jacket Invitational and the Raleigh Relays will be located at georgiadogs.com. Updates about all Bulldog track and field news can be found on Twitter at @UGA_XCTF.
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