UGA Men Fifth, Women Seventh as SEC Outdoor Track and Field Championships Conclude Daniel, Snyder add individual wins Sunday
STARKVILLE, Miss. --- The 2002 Southeastern Conference Track and Field Championships concluded Sunday as the Georgia men placed fifth with 84.50 points and the women placed seventh with 49 points. The men's point total is the second-most at the SEC outdoor meet in program history, behind the Bulldogs' 88 points scored in the 1981 meet to place third. The total is also the most since Arkansas and South Carolina joined the conference.
Freshman Lindsay Daniel started the Lady Bulldogs off on a high note on the final day of the championships, winning the javelin throw with a career-best and improved NCAA provisional qualifying mark of 49.34 meters (161'10"). Daniel's feat is impressive considering she just began competing in the event this year and struggled with injury for part of this season.
"I feel very fortunate to participate for Georgia," Daniel said. "I didn't know this was going to happen, so it's a surprise to me. I strained my UCL (ulnar collateral ligament in her elbow earlier in the season), so this is a breakthrough for me to come through that. This is my first meet to have six successful throws. I'm just surprised, majorly surprised."
Freshman Trevor Snyder took victory in the javelin for the men with a mark of 66.12 meters (216'11"), well under his personal-best (243'). Snyder's winning mark was the first of his six throws during competition.
Senior David Lemen gave the Bulldogs a one-two punch in the javelin, placing second with a career-best mark of 66.05 meters (216'8"). Lemen posted the mark on his final throw to move up to second and nearly best Snyder's mark.
"My first throw ended up, as usual, being my best throw," Snyder said. "After I saw him (Lemen) hit his and I knew it was pretty deep, there was a little anxiety in my head. After they read out the number, I was okay. He gave me one heck of a shock."
Snyder has also struggled with a few injuries throughout the season. In fact with Snyder, Daniel and hammer throw winner Andras Haklits fighting through back troubles, UGA's athletic training staff members Harris Patel and Rebecca Klinger deserve some credit for three of Georgia's four SEC titles at the meet.
Several other Bulldogs scored in their respective events. Redshirt freshman Antonio Saunders placed fifth in the triple jump (15.82 meters/51'11"). Sophomore David Schenek placed fourth in the discus throw (52.55 meters/172'5"). The 400 meter relay team of freshman Lendl Curtis, junior Dennis Baker, sophomore Bernard Foster and sophomore Brandonn Hill placed fifth with a season-best and improved NCAA provisional qualifying time of 39.83 seconds. Junior Chris Buckner placed eighth in the 400 meter dash (46.91). Junior Dennis Baker placed seventh in the men's 100 meter dash (10.46). The men had three scorers in the high jump as junior Ryan Sheppard tied for fourth (2.14 meters/7'0.25"), freshman Josh Reid placed sixth (2.09 meters/6'10.25") and junior Chad Rupert placed seventh with the same mark as Reid but more misses. The men's 1,600 meter relay team of sophomore Bernard Foster, Buckner, freshman LaRon Bennett and sophomore Brandonn Hill placed sixth with a season-best time of 3:07.55, the seventh-fastest time in UGA history.
The Lady Bulldogs added more point scorers as well Sunday. Sophomore Corrie Drakulich scored in the women's pole vault, tying for fifth (3.56 meters/11'8"). The 400 meter relay team of sophomore Sherita King, sophomore Illia Miles, freshman Krysha Bayley and sophomore Sonja Collins placed fifth (44.57). In the 400 meter dash, junior Marie Woodward placed fourth with a career-best and improved NCAA provisional qualifying time of 52.90 seconds. Senior Aisha Tull also scored in the 400 with a sixth place finish (54.09). Bayley also scored in the 200 meter dash, placing eighth (23.85). The women's 4x400 meter relay team of Tull, junior Traci Boyd, freshman Samantha Murillo and Woodward placed third with a season-best and improved NCAA provisional qualifying time of 3:34.17, the second-fastest time in UGA history.
"We started with a bang today, winning the men's javelin after we won the women's javelin," head coach Wayne Norton said. "It was a good start and set the table for us to have a lot of success today. We scored in six of eight field events today and the relays did a great job. All four relays were simply great. The women's 4x100 was only fifth, but that's with (anchor leg) Sonja Collins suffering an injury but still finishing. The men's 4x100 is about the fastest we've run in 16 years. We had to make a change in the women's 4x400 with the injury to Collins, but we still ran the fastest time of the year and the second-fastest time in school history. The men's 4x400 was the fastest in about three years. We're really happy about all of that."
"Overall, the men's team score was phenomenal," Norton continued. "We're excited about it. The women did not score the number of points we wanted, but part of that is due to some injuries and mistakes. The women did bounce back and really compete."
The UGA track and field squad next competes at the Georgia Tech Invitational, Friday through Saturday, May 17 through 18.