Bulldogs qualify two more for NCAA track and field finals

GREENSBORO, N.C. — Two more members of Georgia’s track and field teams qualified for the finals of the NCAA Championships at the NCAA East Prelims in Greensboro, N.C., on Saturday.

Sophomore Tynia Gaither (women’s 200-meter dash) and freshman Freya Jones (women’s javelin) both finished in the top 12 in their respective events to give the Bulldogs 18 qualifiers for the NCAA Outdoor Championships in Eugene, Ore., on June 5-8.

The top 12 finishers in either the quarterfinal or semifinal rounds (depending on the event) at the East Prelims or West Prelims (Austin, Texas) advanced to the finals of the NCAA Championships in Eugene.

These 12 qualifiers punched their ticket on Friday at the meet: freshman Shaunae Miller (women’s 400), junior Johnathan Smith (men’s 100), junior Megan Malasarte (women’s 800), sophomore Charles Grethen and Kisean Smith (men’s 800), sophomore Drew Branch (men’s 400 hurdles), senior Leslie Boozer (women’s steeplechase), sophomore Morgann Leleux (women’s pole vault), junior Caleb Whitener and sophomore Nick Vena (men’s shot put) and senior Saniel Atkinson-Grier and freshman Leontia Kallenou (women’s high jump).

On the first day of the meet, freshman Chanice Porter guaranteed her spot to the NCAA Championships by taking 10th in the long jump on Thursday.

Decathletes Maicel Uibo and Garrett Scantling and heptathlete Lucie Ondraschkova are already included in the field for the NCAA Championships.

Despite four fouls, Jones took fourth overall in the qualifying round of the javelin with the second-best throw of her career. Jones lifted her fourth attempt 167 feet, 6 inches to be one of only four competitors to eclipse 165 feet.

Gaither locked down her first trip to the NCAA Championships by taking fourth in the opening heat with a 200 time of 23.51. This finish gave her one of the three at-large qualifying spots. Gaither missed out on a trip to Eugene in the 100 by less than a hundredth of a second earlier in the week.

Junior Hilenn James finished one spot out of qualifying for the NCAA finals after taking 13th in the shot put. She had a top throw of 51-8.50 in only her second meet of the outdoor season.

The SEC champion in the women’s 1500, sophomore Carly Hamilton, finished ninth in her heat and 14th overall with a 4:18.26 as her bid for her first invitation to the NCAA Outdoor Championships ended. Hamilton came into the competition with the nation’s sixth-fastest time at 4:12.15.

Miller and Gaither joined freshman Briana Vaughn and freshman Rashan Brown in the 4×100 relay. The foursome failed to finish after a zone infraction.

In the men’s 4×100 relay, sophomore Justin Scott-Wesley, Johnathan Smith, freshman Pierce Vincent and freshman Maurice Freeman recorded a season-best time of 40.18 to take fifth in their heat and 17th overall. It took 39.93 to advance to Eugene.

Smith, who had already assured himself a trip to Oregon in the 100, was seventh in his heat in the 200 semifinals after recording a time of 20.93.

Also, Freeman competed in the high jump and tied for 43rd with a clearance of 6-6.75.

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