Georgia wins 12 events at home invite, including national high jump mark
ATHENS, Ga. -- Georgia won 12 events, set a school record and established a national leading mark during the Georgia Invitational at the Spec Towns Track on Saturday.
This was the second and final home meet for the Bulldogs and Georgia's last regular season meet before the Southeastern Conference Championships arrive in Lexington, Kentucky on May 15-18.
Sophomore Leontia Kallenou shot to No. 1 on the national performance list by clearing 6 feet, 3 ¼ inches in the high jump while true freshman Kendell Williams vaulted to the top of the record books in the 100-meter hurdles to highlight the meet.
"It took a long time to get this meet in, but in the end we got what we needed out of it," Bulldog head coach Wayne Norton said. "Track and field is not all about wins and losses and today we knocked the rust off in some events that we needed to do just that in.
"Leontia had another personal best and she is proving she has the potential to do great things every time she competes. Rashan (Brown) surprised us with her time in the 100, which is like her third event, and Kendell was outstanding. We talk about her a lot and I still think she hasn't touched a portion of what she can do. This was a good meet for us, especially since we made it through healthy."
Despite not having anyone join her in the 6-foot club during the competition, Kallenou cleared a personal-best height of 6-3.25 to take over the national lead with the world's seventh-best mark this year.
The 2014 NCAA indoor champion bumped from third to second in the school record books with the best mark for the Lady Bulldog since the school record was set in 2007 (Levern Spencer, 6-4.25). Kallenou's true freshman teammate, Tatiana Gusin, took fourth after hitting a clearance of 5-8.75.
Preparing for her first league outdoor meet, Williams sped to a school record in the 100 hurdles to kick off the opening heat. The collegiate record holder in the pentathlon and current NCAA leader in the heptathlon ran a 13.06 to pass Gudrun Arnardottir's time of 13.10 clocked at the 1996 NCAA championships.
Williams' finish ties her for 12th on the national performance list for all hurdlers nationwide. This significantly improved Williams' time of 13.32 set during her outing at the Bulldog Heptathlon earlier this season in Athens.
The Georgia men left the track with a second-place finish in the high jump. Sophomore Maurice Freeman equaled his career best with a mark of 6-10.75, which is also a season-best effort. Freeman will also be running in the short sprints and relays at SECs.
Also in the hurdles with Williams, junior heptathlete Quintunya Chapman trimmed .43 of her former personal-best time to take fourth in the hurdles with a 13.87. Chapman is now ninth on Georgia's all-time list.
After reaching a personal-best distance of 207-6 in the hammer last time out, senior Elizabeth Tepe was the top collegiate finisher (second overall) with the second-best mark of her life on Saturday. Tepe, who is ranked 10th nationally, second in the SEC and is the defending conference champion, launched her implement 206-6 to win the collegiate portion of the meet by 26 feet.
Former Lady Bulldog and 2010 NCAA champion Nikola Lomnicka won the competition outright with a throw of 223-10. Lomnicka also won three SEC titles for Georgia from 2010-12.
The Bulldogs went 1-2 in collegiate finishes for the men's hammer by a pair of freshmen. Alex Poursanidis had a top effort of 213-3 to take second place overall. His teammate Alex Larsson was one spot behind with a 209-8 for third-place honors.
Taiwan's Ming Huang Chang, who trains in Athens with Bulldog throws coach Don Babbitt, won the overall title in the shot put (65-7.75). However, the Bulldogs finished second, third and fourth behind him. Junior Nick Vena hit a season-best mark of 63-8.75 to lead the Georgia pack.
Senior Caleb Whitener was the second collegiate finisher and third overall after reaching 60-11.25 while sophomore Ashinia Miller registered a throw of 60-2.50 to take fourth.
Vena and Miller returned in the discus and wrapped up their day with the top collegiate finish and the No. 3 spot. Vena let go of a season-best throw of 168-2 to take second overall as Miller had the top effort of his season (165-2) for fourth-place honors.
On the women's side, Hilenn James made her 2014 debut and won the shot thanks to an effort of 50-4.50. James captured the 2013 SEC indoor title and was a First Team All-American in the event last indoor season.
James made it a sweep after finishing first in the discus as well during the day's final event. A Trinidad & Tobago native, she watched her top throw travel 167-4 to edge Taiwan's Tsai-Yi Li (165-6).
Junior Braydon Anderson surged into the nation's top 30 with a personal-best mark in the javelin to win. Anderson reached 224-6 on his final attempt, which improved his No. 9 spot in the record books and gave him a 14-foot improvement from his best performance this year.
Georgia also came away with the top collegiate finish in the women's javelin. Sophomore Freya Jones, who is the NCAA defending champion in the event, launched her best attempt 155-8 to be second overall. Jones is currently third on the NCAA performance list after recording a career-long mark of 181-7 at the Lady Bulldogs' last home action.
Logging his first career outdoor win, junior Caleb Ebbets notched a clearance of 16-6.75 in the pole vault to pass four other competitors who ended at 16 feet. Decathletes Garrett Scantling and Maicel Uibo tied for fourth with two of those 16-0.75 clearances.
On the track, sophomore Rashan Brown ran the 100 for the second time this season and shaved her personal-best time to 11.56. Her time gave her second place as she prepares to run the 400 at conference.
Brown continued her training by tying for the win in the 200. The Grand Bahamas native matched Nivea Smith's 23.77 for top honors.
Freshman Reggie Davis, who is a receiver for the Bulldogs, dropped his time in the 100 from 10.75 to 10.61. Davis was eighth overall during his second race in red and black.
In a pole vault competition that saw former Lady Bulldog Kat Majester win after clearing 13-5.75, freshman Georgia Stefanidi tied for third after vaulting 12-7.50.