Twenty-two Georgia Bulldogs, plus relay alternates, will head northwest to Eugene Oregon for the NCAA Track and Field Championships June 11 – 14.
Said Bulldog head coach Wayne Norton. “It was a successful journey to Jacksonville [for the Outdoor Track and Field Preliminary Championships]. But the meet was physically draining and makes me dislike Regionals all over again. The qualifying format subjects the athletes to another tough meet after conference championships and the only benefit is that lower ranked athletes get a chance to compete with the top athletes”
On Thursday, junior Brandon Lord (10,000), senior Elizabeth Tepe (hammer throw), junior Nick Vena (shot put), sophomore Freya Jones (javelin) and sophomore Chanice Porter (long jump) qualified for the NCAA Championships.
On Friday of the Preliminary Championships, Freshmen Alex Poursanidis and Alex Larsson both qualified for the NCAA Championship in the men’s hammer. Senior Johnathan Smith (100), senior Megan Malasarte (800), junior Drew Branch (400 hurdles) and sophomore Leontia Kallenou and freshman Tatiana Gusin (high jump) also achieved top-12 finishes to extend their season through the NCAA Championship.
On Saturday, with an invitation to the Championship in the 100 already locked up, Johnathan Smith anchored the Bulldog 4 X 100 relay team. Smith, sophomore Jamario Calhoun, freshman Reggie Glover and freshman Brandon Thompson ran their third fastest time of the year to claim the 11th qualifying spot.
With freshman Ayrian Evans running a 45.2 split in the 4 X 400 relays, Bulldog sprinters sophomore Maurice Freeman, junior Drew Branch, Evans ,and freshman Reggie Glover ran a season best time of 3:04.45 to finish sixth overall and claim a ticket to Eugene and the Championship. The quartet sliced a second and a half off their time at SEC Championships two weeks ago to claim the third-best time in school history and best since 2007.
Carly Hamilton ran a season-best time of 4:15.02 to qualify in the women’s 1500. The Springboro, Ohio, native was third in her heat and third overall to advance to the first NCAA Outdoor Championships of her career. Hamilton is an indoor mile two-time First Team All-American.
The Bulldog qualifiers for the NCAA Championships join junior Garrett Scantling and sophomore Maicel Uibo (decathlon) and freshman Kendell Williams and junior Quintunya Chapman (heptathlon) who have already advanced to the NCAA.
Other marks and finishes for the Bulldogs include Hamilton’s 44th spot in the 5000 with a 17:43.50. Another distance qualifier, Brandon Lord, ran in the men’s 5000 and clocked a 14:50.22 for 33rd place. Also in the 5000, senior Nicole DiMercurio closed out her Lady Bulldog career by taking 37th place with a time of 16:56.26.
In the men’s pole vault, Maicel Uibo cleared 15 feet, 11 ¾ inches on his third try to take 40th and junior Caleb Ebbets failed to reach a height.
Complete results and recaps from the NCAA East Prelims are located at www.georgiadogs.com.
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