Freshman Maicel Uibo
April 11, 2013
ATHENS, Ga. --- The Bulldog track and field program hosts its second home meet of the season as the Spec Towns National Team Invitational and the Bulldog Decathlon & Heptathlon cranks up in Athens on Thursday.
The first five events of the Bulldog Decathlon starting at 12:45 p.m. Thursday will start the weekend of competition. The Bulldog Heptathlon begins at 10:45 a.m. on Friday while the final five events of the decathlon and the first seven events of the Spec Towns Invite also are scheduled for Friday.
The majority of the events for the Spec Towns Invitational are scheduled all day on Saturday.
Georgia will be welcoming Alabama, Auburn, South Carolina, Vanderbilt, Wisconsin, Michigan State, Rutgers and Troy, among others, to the Spec Towns Track.
"This promises to be a great meet because the weather is cooperating and the group of teams is one of our best ever with Alabama, Auburn, Michigan State, Troy, Wisconsin, Rutgers, Vanderbilt, and South Carolina, which has come to every meet since we went to the team format about nine years ago," said Georgia head coach Wayne Norton.
Counting the Spec Towns Invitational, the Bulldogs have three more regular season meets before the Southeastern Conference Championships arrive in Columbia, Mo., on May 9-12. Norton and his teams understand that now is the time to record the marks necessary to be included in the NCAA East Regional field (May 23-25), which is the stepping stone to the NCAA Championships (June 5-8).
"To put it simply, we need to produce great marks," Norton said. "It is the time of year that we need to demonstrate that we can be a good team. Success in this meet will be the start of outstanding performances that we come away with."
A trio of underclassmen decathletes will start the action in the nine-man field on Thursday. Sophomore Garrett Scantling, who was fifth at last year's SEC meet and third at the 2013 NCAA Indoor Championships in the heptathlon, and freshmen Maicel Uibo and Devon Williams will battle the competition, including former Bulldog SEC champion Tommy Barrineau, over a two-day period.
Senior Lucie Ondraschkova will be one of seven competitors battling for the heptathlon crown on Friday and Saturday. Attempting to advance to her fourth consecutive NCAA Outdoor Championships, Ondraschkova earned First Team All-American honors at this year's NCAA indoor meet in the pentathlon after taking fourth place with a personal-best score.
The Spec Towns Invitational officially kicks off with the women's triple jump at 2 p.m. on Friday. There are seven events planned on Friday before the bulk of the action arrives on Saturday morning, starting with the women's javelin at 10:30 a.m.
A host of nationally ranked individuals who represent Georgia are expected to be competing on and around the Spec Towns Track over the weekend. Junior Hilenn James will be making her season debut in the discus and shot put after taking second in both events at last year's SEC meet. Fellow junior Elizabeth Tepe, who is a 25-year-old veteran of the Marines, will be competing at the second home meet of her career and is currently holding down the third spot on the SEC list in the hammer throw.
In the women's pole vault, sophomore Morgann Leleux is currently tied for seventh in the country with a mark of 14 feet, 1¼ inches. Leleux won the 2012 SEC outdoor crown and was the national runner-up. Saniel Atkinson-Grier is making her final rounds in the high jump as she aims for yet another All-America certificate and her first SEC title.
On the track, freshman Shaunae Miller, who captured the 2013 NCAA indoor title in the 400, is scheduled to run in the 200 for the first time this season for the Lady Bulldogs and will run a leg on a relay. Fellow freshman Briana Vaughn, who has one of the 10 fastest 100 times in the nation this year, and a variety of members of the distance corps will also be racing in Athens this weekend.
In addition, junior transfer Johnathan Smith, who is tied for No. 7 nationally in the 100 (10.20) after his performance at Georgia's first home meet, will join a host of Bulldog sprinters and distance runners on the track against a variety of competitors from the SEC and beyond.
Live results and recaps from the Bulldog Decathlon and Heptathlon as well as the Spec Towns National Team Invitational will be found at georgiadogs.com.
What Bulldogs Won In 2012 & Are Returning For Another Round: Atkinson-Grier (high jump), Leleux (pole vault), Burke McCarty (discus), Braydon Anderson (javelin), James (shot put), Whitener (shot put), Tynia Gaither (100-meter dash), Erika Ramsey (steeplechase) and Ondraschkova (heptathlon) all captured outright victories at the 2012 Spec Towns Invite/Bulldog Heptathlon and are on this year's squads.