Bulldog Track & Field Sets Their Sights On NCAA Championships
May 17, 2012
ATHENS, Ga. --- Thirty-one members of Georgia's track and field teams have advanced to the NCAA East Preliminary Round in 28 different events, according to the declaration lists released by the NCAA on Thursday.
The Bulldogs will be traveling to Jacksonville, Fla., on Tuesday as competition begins on Thursday morning at North Florida's Hodges Stadium. The top 48 competitors in every event, other than the heptathlon and decathlon, from across the East Region will be battling for the top 12 spots. The 12 who qualify in each event will advance to the finals of the NCAA Championships in Des Moines, Iowa, on June 6-9.
Junior heptathlete Lucie Ondraschkova gets the opportunity to bypass the NCAA Prelims since the top 24 heptathletes and decathletes nationally earn an automatic pass to Des Moines. Ondraschkova is No. 21 on the list after scoring a season-high 5,443 points to take sixth at the SEC Championships. The Opava, Czech Republic, native was 17th at last year's NCAA Championships.
In the decathlon, senior Michael Ayers missed making the cut for the top 24 by just 24 points after he scored 7,416 at the SEC meet. In addition, freshman Garrett Scantling was only 30 points behind the cut-off score of 7,440.
Sophomore Megan Malasarte (800-meter run), freshman Carly Hamilton (1500), junior Leslie Boozer (steeplechase), junior Kristie Krueger (5000), senior Morgan VanGorder (10,000), junior Saniel Atkinson (high jump), freshman Morgann Leleux (pole vault), senior Colleen Felix, junior Maria Augutis and Atkinson (triple jump), sophomore Hilenn James (shot put and discus), senior Nikola Lomnicka (hammer throw) and freshman Allison Updike (javelin) all were in the top 48 on the women's side.
For the men, sophomore Waymon Storey (200), senior Torrin Lawrence (400), senior Aaron Evans (800), senior Matt Cleaver (steeplechase), sophomore Brandon Lord (5000), senior Cory Holman (110 hurdles and long jump), senior Phillip Adams and freshman Drew Branch (400 hurdles), Adams, Storey, junior Eric Harris and freshman Justin Scott-Wesley (4x100 relay), Adams, freshman Chris Foster, Branch and Lawrence (4x400 relay), sophomore Caleb Ebbets (pole vault), senior Aaron LaGarde (triple jump), sophomore Caleb Whitener and junior Petr Novotny (shot put), sophomore Burke McCarty, Novotny and freshman Ray Drew (discus), sophomore Justin Welch (hammer throw) and sophomore Braydon Anderson (javelin) will be gunning for their invitation to the Drake University facility during the first week of June.
Georgia has 18 individuals or relay teams currently ranked in the top 12 in the East Region. Leleux is headlining the group as the top-ranked women's pole vaulter at the meet. The New Iberia, La., cleared a school record height of 14 feet, 6 ¾ inches to win her first Southeastern Conference title in Baton Rouge last weekend.
The Lady Bulldogs also have a pair of competitors who have marks ranked in the top three in the region. James, who is also No. 18 on the shot put list, has the third-longest discus throw (183-5) after moving to No. 2 on Georgia's all-time top-10 list.
Updike, who like Leleux captured a league championship at her first SEC Outdoor Championships, is third in the javelin standings with a top effort of 167 feet.
Welch is the top-ranked competitor from the men's team. The Luckey, Ohio, native lifted the hammer a season-best distance of 218-11 to earn runner-up honors at the SEC meet.
Drew, who is also a sophomore defensive end for the Bulldog football team, was the 48th and final competitor selected in the discus. He has a top mark of 170-3 and was 14th at last week's SEC Championships.
Drew will join fellow football teammate Scott-Wesley in Jacksonville. Scott-Wesley, who advanced to the 100 finals at SECs with a collegiate personal-best time of 10.39, will run on Georgia's 4x100 relay team.
The NCAA West Preliminary Round in Austin will be run simultaneously with the East Prelims. Like the meet where Georgia is competing, 12 competitors will advance from the West Prelims at the University of Texas to make up the 24-person field at the NCAA Championships for each event.
In 2011, 40 members of UGA's teams traveled to Bloomington, Ind., for the East Prelims and 14 advanced to the NCAA Championships with three multi-event athletes having already automatically qualified for the finals.
The Lady Bulldogs tied for 40th at the 2011 NCAA meet with six points thanks to Lomnicka's third-place finish in the hammer throw. On the men's side, Ayers was sixth in the decathlon at the NCAA Championships to score three points for Georgia, which gave the Bulldogs a tie for 54th place.
Live results and recaps for each day of the NCAA East Prelims will be found at georgiadogs.com.