Georgia track and field teams finish in middle of pack at SEC indoor championships

Georgia’s women finished day two of the Southeastern Conference indoor track and field championships with 64 points and in fourth place. Georgia’s men finished with 67 points leading to a sixth-place finish on Saturday, marking the end of the two-day SEC Track & Field Championships at Vanderbilt.

Coming into the SECs, the women were ranked third while the men stood alone in fourth. Georgia ended Saturday with four more conference champions, three new personal-bests, two new school records and one new collegiate record.

“I think our teams did a great job and I am proud of the points we scored in the toughest conference in the country,” said Bulldog head coach Petros Kyprianou. “We had too many scorers to talk about everyone, but our highlight was Keturah Orji setting an American and collegiate record in the triple jump with a dominant performance.”
Orji not only set the collegiate and American record with her mark of 46 feet, 11 3-4 inches in the triple jump, but she also shattered the school record of 46-4.75, which she set last year at the World Championships.

This mark helped Orji break the collegiate record of 46-9, which was set by LSU’s Suzette Lee in 1997 and the American record of 46-8.25 set by Sheila Hudson in 1995.

Orji now claims the American and collegiate records in both indoors and outdoors.

She has won five straight SEC titles and three straight NCAA championships while also finishing fourth in the 2016 Olympics this past summer in Rio.

“We are poised to score many of the same points at the NCAA meet if we can maximize our potential,” Kyprianou said. “Denzel Comenentia, Devon Williams, Mady Fagan, Tatiana Gusin, Kendal Williams, Kate Hall, our weight throwers and the guys in the (distance medley relay) were some of the Bulldogs who had great moments for our teams this weekend.”

The junior high jumper Fagan captured the high jump title by tying the facility record of 6-1.50. Fagan has now won two straight SEC titles in the high jump, including her outdoors title last year.

Fagan’s feat helped extend the Bulldogs’ dominance in the high jump, winning three out of the last four SEC indoor high jump crowns.

Fagan’s teammate Gusin finished second in the high jump with a mark of 6-0.50. Prior to Saturday’s event, Gusin had only competed twice this year.

Comenentia won the SEC shot put title with a mark of 64-3.75, beating everyone by nearly two feet. This feat also marks a personal best for the 2016 First-Team All-American.

Comenentia’s performance moves him into the No. 3 spot in the school record books, passing 2012 Olympic bronze medalist Reese Hoffa. He also took over the sixth spot on the current national list.

The Williams siblings, Devon and Kendell, natives of Marietta, Georgia, took the heptathlon and pentathlon events by storm, leading to their eventual sibling sweep over the weekend.

Senior Devon Williams began Saturday trailing by one point in the heptathlon and finished the day with a 196-point victory, a day after his sister claimed a 236-point victory in the pentathlon.

Williams’ second day of the heptathlon started with him tying Esteban Guzman’s 14-year-old school record in the 60 meter hurdles with a time of 7.77. No one came within .47 seconds of Williams.

Williams’ mark matches the 13th-best mark in the nation this year.

Williams added to his list of personal bests Saturday with a mark of 15-9 in the pole vault, which added 849 points to his total in the heptathlon. This helped Williams carry a 152-point lead going into the final event.

Williams completed the sibling sweep after securing 779 points in the 1000 meters with a time of 2:48.71. Williams’ mark helped him secure the No. 2 spot on Georgia’s all-time top-10 list and second on the 2017 national performance list.

Junior Karl Saluri, training partners with Williams, claimed the second top-three finish of his career after finishing third in the SEC heptathlon with 5,731 points. Saluri posted his second 5,700-point performance of the year with the help of a new personal best in the long jump after he approached 25 feet.

Saluri posted a season-best time of 8:30 in the 60 meter hurdles to win his last heat and take fifth in the event with 908 points.

He only took one jump in the pole vault, passing until 14-9 before eventually clearing the bar and securing 760 points on his single attempt.
Saluri ended the 1000 meters with a strong kick, helping him earn runner-up honors in the race and locking down his third-place overall finish. He is expected to advance to the NCAA Championships in two weeks after completing the competition in 2:45.18 for 817 points.

Both Georgia distance medley relay teams secured top-six finishes and helped rewrite the school record books.

The Georgia women’s relay team, consisting of junior Morgan Ainslie, freshman Micaiah Ransby, junior Devon Artis and freshman Jessica Drop, clocked in a time of 11:26.58 to take sixth. This time landed this foursome No. 5 in the school record books.

The Georgia men’s relay team set a school finished in the top five for the second straight year, setting a school record with a combined time of 9:40.26. The team consisted of senior Sid Vaughn, senior Maurice Freeman, sophomore Jeramey Hampton and junior Bryan Kamau.

Seniors Asianna Covington and Shelby Ashe finished fifth and sixth respectfully in the weight throw, combining for seven points.

Covington hit her best mark on her fourth attempt with a throw marking 68-10, improving her No. 3 spot in the school record books. The mark also lands her in the top-16 on the national performance list.

Covington’s teammate, Ashe, who entered the weekend with the nation’s fifth-longest throw, had a distance of 68-3.25 on her fifth try.

On the track, sophomore Kendal Williams finished the 60 meter race with a time of 6.67, leading to a fourth-place finish.

For the women, Iowa Sate transfer Kate Hall finished eighth in the 60 meter race with a time of 7.35.

And to finish off the list of achievements, senior Jon Moses landed in the No. 5 spot on the school’s all-time list with a time of 14:18.62 in the 5000m. Moses finished ninth in the event, one spot shy of scoring.

Georgia returns home with two weeks to rest and continue their training before heading to College Station, Texas, on March 10-11 for the NCAA indoor championships.

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