Jacksonville Sports Day

NCAA NOTEBOOK: Georgia Teams Finish Strong at Championships

Photo by Bob Thomas/FSU

AUSTIN, Texas — The NCAA Outdoor Championships wrapped up in Austin, Texas, on Saturday for the women as true freshman Sterling Lester left with the school’s seventh-best heptathlon score in history.

The men’s competition wrapped up on Friday and Georgia responded to capturing the 2018 outdoor team title with their second straight invitation to the facility’s infield for a team trophy, which is reserved for the nation’s top-four squads.

The Bulldogs scored 32.5 points, which is their second-best point total in history, to finish fourth behind Texas Tech (60), Florida (50) and Houston (40). The men and women’s teams combined have now collected 10 top-four national team trophies since 2016.

The Lady Bulldogs completed the meet on Saturday in a tie for 66thwith a point, marking their 10thstraight year scoring at the meet. Arkansas (64), USC (57) and LSU (43) made up the top three.

Sophomore Aliyah Whisby complemented her scoring showing in the pentathlon at the 2019 NCAA Indoor Championships with an eighth-place finish in the outdoor long jump on Thursday to tally the Lady Bulldogs’ first point of the meet.

Lester finished with a total of four personal bests to score a career-high heptathlon point total of 5,694 for 11thplace. Finishing as the nation’s top freshman after having the country’s 22nd-best score coming into the meet, Lester inched from eighth to seventh on the school’s all-time top-10 list with her finish.

The Bulldog men had three scorers on Friday, including a pair of scorers in the men’s high jump for the second straight year. Senior Keenon Laine closed out his career as an expected four-time First Team All-American (the last three with Georgia and first in 2016 with Western Kentucky) after matching his season best at 7 feet, 4 ¼ inches to take fourth in the high jump.

Junior Darius Carbin, who advanced to the outdoor meet for the first time in his career, equaled his career best at 7-3 to tie for seventh and add a pivotal 1.5 points.

The crowning finale to the meet for the Georgia men came from an appropriate performer: senior Denzel Comenentia.

Notching his record third expected First Team All-America certificate of the meet, Comenentia sent his sixth and final attempt in the discus a personal record 196-9 to bump from sixth to fifth place.

This not only bettered his No. 2 all-time mark with the best effort in 23 years for the Bulldogs, but also locked down the Bulldogs spot on the podium as a top-four squad for the second straight year.

On Thursday, sophomore Johannes Erm not only won his first national decathlon crown, but also hit the Olympic standard score. ]

Comenentia was the runner-up in the shot put and was fifth in the hammer throw to give the Bulldog men their first 12 points on Wednesday at Myers Stadium.

During the conclusion of the heptathlon on Saturday, Lester started her final three events by taking 18thin the long jump with an opening mark of 18-9.25. This scored her 765 points and moved her to sixth in the overall standings, trailing the leader by 452 going into the javelin.

Lester slipped to 11thoverall after posting a top javelin throw of 100 feet. Starting with a foul, Lester scored 486 points in the sixth of seven events. She was 95 points behind eighth place as the 800m neared.

Lester concluded her first season as a Bulldog by taking 10thin the 800 meters with a 2:18.61 for 842 points. This finish improved her spot in the school record books and left her three places outside of scoring.

Freshman Titiana Marsh battled through an ankle injury sustained earlier in the week at practice and finished 15thin the triple jump. She started with a pair of fouls and then responded with an effort of 43-0.50 on her third attempt.

During the Lady Bulldogs’ only event on the track, junior Jessica Drop finished her 12.5 laps in 16:40.84 to take 19thin the 5000m as UGA concluded its season.

Freshman Sakari Famous was tied for 38thon the nation’s high jump seasonal performance list and she completed her first season tied for 21stwith a height of 5-7. Her first attempt clearance came after clearing the same height at this year’s SEC meet.

AUSTIN NOTES: North Florida junior track standout Noah Perkins suffered a mid-race injury on Friday night and was unable to finish his 5000m run at the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championship. Perkins, the UNF record holder in the 5000m and first male Osprey to qualify for the DI Championship, raced to the front of the pack at the start of the race and was among the top half of the 24-runner field near the midway point. Unfortunately, he suffered a leg injury and would not finish the race in his historic appearance. Despite the outcome, Perkins capped his junior campaign with an honorable mention All-American distinction.


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