Thirty-Two Bulldogs Ready For NCAA Track & Field East Prelims
Senior Johnathan Smith is attempting to qualify for his second consecutive NCAA Championships during his final season.

May 28, 2014

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ATHENS, Ga. --- Thirty-two members of Georgia's track and field teams who qualified for the NCAA East Preliminary traveled to Jacksonville, Fla., on Tuesday in preparation for the start of the meet on Thursday.

The stepping stone to the NCAA Championships in Eugene, Ore., on June 11-14 cranks up on Thursday and continues through Saturday night at North Florida's facility. 

The top 12 in each event from both the East and West (Fayetteville, Ark.) regions advance to the finals of the NCAA Championships.  Nineteen of the Bulldog individuals or relay teams are currently ranked in the top 12 in the East Region.

"We simply need to get our people through these preliminary rounds to Eugene," said Bulldog head coach Wayne Norton.  "That is our only objective in Jacksonville.  Basically the top 12 per event qualify so I expect everyone to finish 12th or better if we are going to achieve the year-end goal of finishing near the top at the

NCAA Championships."

Georgia's first events of the Prelims will feature juniors Braydon Anderson and Garrett Scantling in the men's javelin and senior Elizabeth Tepe in the women's hammer throw at noon on Thursday. 

Anderson scored at the Southeastern Conference Championships with an eighth-place finish thanks to a throw of 220 feet, 7 inches.  Scantling, who has already qualified for the NCAA Championships with a national-leading score in the decathlon (8,169), has reached 218-9 in the javelin this season.

Tepe is coming off her second consecutive league title in the hammer and is in search of her first trip to the NCAA finals.  The Parker, Co., native popped a career-best and facility record throw of 210-6 to win the conference championship almost two weeks ago in Lexington, Ky.

Junior Drew Branch will start the meet on the track for the Bulldogs in the first round of the men's 400-meter hurdles at 4:30 p.m. on the first day of action.  Branch is coming off a personal-best time of 50.41 to earn runner-up honors at SECs in mid-May.

In addition to the four listed above, there are 28 other Bulldogs set to compete for a chance at continuing their season.  On the men's side, junior Luke Baker (10,000), sophomore Jamario Calhoun (triple and long jumps, 4x100 relay), junior Caleb Ebbets (pole vault), freshman Ayrian Evans (4x400 relay), sophomore Maurice Freeman (200, 4x400 relay), freshman Reggie Glover (200, 4x100 relay, 4x400 relay), junior Charles Grethen (800), freshman Alex Larsson (hammer), junior Brandon Lord (10,000, 5000), sophomore Ashinia Miller (shot put), Alex Poursanidis (hammer), senior Johnathan Smith (100, 200, 4x100 relay), freshman Brandon Thompson (200, 4x100 relay), sophomore Maicel Uibo (pole vault), freshman Derrick White (4x400 relay) and senior Caleb Whitener (shot put) will be representing UGA.

For the women, junior Quintunya Chapman (long jump), senior Nicole DiMercurio (5000, 10,000), freshman Tatiana Gusin (high jump), junior Carly Hamilton (1500, 5000), senior Hilenn James (discus), sophomore Freya Jones (javelin), sophomore Leontia Kallenou (high jump), senior Megan Malasarte (800), junior Bret McDaniel (steeplechase), sophomore Chanice Porter (long jump) and freshman Kendell Williams (heptathlon) are competing for the Red and Black.

Like Scantling, Uibo (second nationally with 8,123 points) has already qualified for his trip to Eugene in the decathlon and Chapman (seventh nationally with 5,659 points) and Williams (national leader with 6,018 points) are two of the 24 qualified heptathletes for the final meet of the year.

Out of the group who traveled to Jacksonville, 11 have competed before at the NCAA Outdoor Championships (six men, five women) and five have scored at outdoor Nationals, including Jones who won the NCAA javelin title as a true freshman in 2013.

Georgia declared 26 team members and three relay teams for the 2013 East Prelims in Greensboro, N.C., and had 15 advance.  Eight Bulldog men, including Scantling and Uibo who were allowed to bypass the Prelims, advanced to the NCAA Championships in Eugene last year.  Georgia tied for 49th at Nationals with four points.

On the women's side, nine Lady Bulldogs, not counting heptathlete Lucie Ondraschkova who was allowed to skip the first round, punched their ticket at the Prelims meet.   The Georgia women scored 25 points and tied for 11th place in 2013 during the NCAA finals.

Results and recaps from the NCAA East Prelims will be located at  Updates about all Bulldog track and field news can be found on Twitter at @UGA_XCTF.



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