Freshman Freya Jones
April 26, 2013
DES MOINES, Iowa --- The Bulldog track and field teams tallied five wins in a variety of events during the third day of the 104th running of the Drake Relays in Des Moines, Iowa, on Friday.
Georgia has junior Elizabeth Tepe, who is the reigning Southeastern Conference Women’s Field Athlete of the Week, competing in the hammer throw at 10 a.m. ET to start action on Saturday. Events continue until the early evening. The Drake Relays, which have more than 2,000 collegiate competitors scheduled to compete, continue through Saturday.
“I’m not sure we have ever won this many events in a single trip to Drake so that is encouraging,” said Georgia head coach Wayne Norton. “We have won a middle distance event, a relay, something in the throws and an event in the jumps so that shows we are doing a nice job of across the board. We have a lot of things going on right now that are pointing us in the right direction. The performances we are having are showing consistent improvements and should have us on pace for the (Southeastern Conference) Championships in two weeks.”
Freshman Freya Jones moved into the No. 3 spot in the Lady Bulldog record books by taking second in the javelin. Jones recorded a personal-best throw of 173 feet, 8 inches, which is more than a 13-foot improvement from her previous top throw at Georgia and is the fifth-best throw in the nation this year. A native of Hampshire, United Kingdom, Jones also had a mark of 173-6 in her series.
“Freya hasn’t had too many chances this year to throw so far, but she came out and took care of business today,” Norton said.
Similar to the War Eagle Invitational last weekend, the Bulldogs finished first, second and third in the men’s shot put, although it was in a different order. Sophomore Nick Vena, who also won at Auburn, had the second-longest throw of his career at 62-0.50 to finish first. Freshman Ashinia Miller posted the second-longest throw of his life (61-10.25) to take runner-up honors after finishing third last week.
Junior Caleb Whitener, who was second at the War Eagle meet, took third in Des Moines after his fourth throw measured 60-9.50.
“This was a strong 1-2-3 finish and it was great to see Ashinia and Nick going head-to-head for the win since they are both wearing red and black,” said Norton.
After three finishes in the top three this season, senior Saniel Atkinson-Grier won her first meet of the 2013 outdoor campaign. Atkinson-Grier cleared 5-10.50 on her opening try as she continues her pursuit for a strong finish in her final season.
“Saniel’s mark was not super high, but to pick up a win here as a senior in her last trip to Drake was nice to see,” said Norton. “The most important thing is that her jumps looked good.”
The Georgia women left the competition behind in the 4x200-meter relay after winning by more than three seconds. A trio of freshmen in Briana Vaughn, Shaunae Miller and Rashan Brown joined with sophomore Quintunya Chapman finished their race in 1:34.01 in their second race of this kind during the 2013 season.
“Shaunae was pretty awesome in her leg and she was spectacular running in the 4x100 relay as well,” Norton said, adding that Brown was also a catalyst to the women’s impressive finish in the 4x200 relay.
Despite a slower pace than she is used to, junior Megan Malasarte won her first 800 of the season by nearly .3 seconds. Malasarte finished her two laps in 2:06.49 in her final race before the SEC meet.
Sophomore Morgann Leleux was the only collegiate competitor to be included in the “London Games Rematch” pole vault and managed to tie for 10th place. Leleux cleared 13-10.50 on her third and final attempt.
The Lady Bulldogs finished with their second fastest 4x100 relay time of the year to qualify for Saturday’s finals. Georgia had the top qualifying team out of 23 teams with a time of 44.88. The Lady Bulldogs run in the finals at 4:30 p.m. Saturday.
The Georgia men also qualified for the finals in the 4x100 after taking second in their heat and fourth overall. Jamario Calhoun, Johnathan Smith, Pierce Vincent and Justin Scott-Wesley combined to clock a 40.49 and will race again five minutes after the women’s finals.
In the men’s 100, Scott-Wesley had the fifth-fastest qualifying time (10.76) to qualify for the finals on Saturday at 3:28 p.m.
Results and recaps from each day’s action at the Drake Relays will be found at georgiadogs.com.