Georgia Women's Track wins SEC

FAYETTEVILLE, AR - The Georgia women's track and field team completed the sweep for 2006 by winning the Southeastern Conference outdoor title at John McDonnell Field on Sunday night.

Battling down to the final event, the Lady Bulldogs edged Auburn 136-135 even after the Lady Tigers registered 10 points with a win in the 4x400-meter relay, which was the meet's final event. Following Georgia's first outdoor title since 1995 and second conference championship of 2006 after winning the indoor crown, head coach Wayne Norton was ecstatic about his team's performance.

"It was hard on us because if you look at the score, it was just that close here," Norton said. "Auburn just kept on coming and scoring points and really were doing everything they were suppose to do. But so were we. We competed so hard and valiantly and with so much power in so many events, our girls just would not be stopped. I am so proud of them and this is an unbelievable, simply unbelievable accomplishment."

Although Georgia held a 53-point lead over Auburn after Saturday's action, the Lady Tigers roared back on Sunday, including a 1-2-4 finish in the 400 hurdles. Two individual SEC titles for Georgia on the meet's final day helped them hold on for the school's fourth conference title (the men won an outdoor title in 1937 under Herman Stegeman).

Junior Krista Woodward claimed Georgia's fifth conference title of the outdoor season in the women's javelin. Woodward won the event for the third year in a row after registering an NCAA regional qualifying throw of 167 feet, 5 inches (10 points). Adding to the Lady Bulldogs' point total was sophomore Sigrun Fjeldsted, who took second with an effort of 151-8 (8 points).

The Lady Bulldogs' second SEC champion of the day was senior Patricia Sylvester, who had already won the long jump title and taken second in the high jump on Saturday. The River Salle, Grenada, native jumped 43-9.75 to win (10 points) and her teammate junior Shenae Dawkins took second with a mark of 43-4.25 (8 points). After the meet, Sylvester, who scored 28 points during the meet, was presented with the Commissioner's Trophy, which goes to the top overall scorer.

In the 1500 meters, sophomore Natalie Picchetti had a personal-best and regional qualifying time of 4:26.42 to take fourth (5 points). Picchetti, who was the 2006 indoor mile champ, moved to the seventh spot in the school record books with her finish.

In addition, junior Jennifer Dahlgren, who broke the NCAA record in the hammer throw on Friday, took seventh in the shot put with a season-best throw of 48-8.25 (2 points).

The Lady Bulldogs' final points of the meet came in the 5000. Junior Jill Steffens, who already had a runner-up finish in the 10,000 on Friday, managed a fifth-place finish (4 points) and senior Lauren Burks took eighth to score the final and deciding point.

On the men's side, senior Chad McClendon and sophomore Martin Maric combined for 13 points in the discus. While McClendon scored 5 points with a fourth-place finish (176-9), Maric finished in second overall with a throw of 188-8 to tally 8 points for the Bulldogs.

Adding to the point total contributed by Georgia's throwers were Maric and sophomore Kyle Helf in the javelin. Maric improved each throw and finished with a mark of 225 to take second (8 points), while Helf came out of the competition with a sixth-place finish after a throw of 198-11 (3 points).

Junior David Dickens gave the Bulldogs a substantial boost during the final day of the SEC meet. Not only did he join freshmen Jarrell Stewart, Sean Cuevo and Justin Gaymon to clock a season-best time of 40.15 for fourth in the 4x100 relay (5 points), but he also scored in both the 200 and 400. Dickens finished fourth in the 400 (46.55 ­ 5 points) and managed a seventh-place finish (2 points) in the 200 after crossing the finish line in 21.06.

Freshman Justin Gaymon also excelled during his first trip to the outdoor conference meet. Gaymon clocked a personal-best time of 13.90 in the 110 hurdles to take eighth place (1 point) and his finish moved him into a tie for fourth place in the Georgia record books.

Competing in his final SEC outdoor action, senior Greg Mays battled for a tie for sixth place with a jump of 6-8.25 (2.50 points).

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