The men’s and women’s track and field teams hosted a pair of events during spring break at Griffin Track. In the Georgia Tech-Georgia Dual Meet on March 20-21, the women’s squad battled to a 96-96 tie with the rival Bulldogs while the men’s squad fell 123-63. In the Yellow Jacket Invitational on March 27-28, student-athletes from 13 schools competed in 19 men’s and 19 women’s events.
In the Tech-Georgia Dual Meet, the women’s team was able to recover from a late deficit and battle to a tie with the Bulldogs. It was a strong performance overall for the team, with several first-place finishes and high placements in a number of other events.
After Georgia won the first two women’s events, sophomore Jhanelle McLeod and freshman Jasmine Kent carried the Jackets to victory in the long jump. McLeod won with a length of 18 feet, 2.25 inches, while Kent came in second at 17 feet, 11.75 inches.
The Jackets took the 4×100 meter relay to pull even through four events. Sophomores Annie Martin and Mary Kate DuBard were second and third, respectively, in the 1500-meter run.
Tech’s next victory came in the shot put, where sophomore Bailey Wagner’s throw of 46 feet, 7.25 inches cleared the field. In the high jump, Tech sophomores Terri-Ann Grant and Bianca Stewart each recorded a jump of five feet, 8.75 inches, falling just 1.25 inches shy of UGA’s Saniel Atkinson.
The match continued fairly evenly. Sophomore Melanie Akwule won the 100-meter hurdles in 13.96 seconds, senior Tiffany Grant took the 400-meter dash in 55.09 seconds, and Tech had the top three finishers in the 800-meter run (led by sophomore Jade Sims at 2:14.08) and the top two in the 400-meter hurdles, with sophomore Jasmine Isley winning at 59.72 seconds.
The Jackets still trailed late in the event but managed to come up with three late victories. Wagner won the discus throw, McLeod took the triple jump with a mark of over 40 feet, and Tech’s 4×400 meter relay team won by more than eight seconds. With the late success, the women’s team pulled into a tie with UGA.
The men’s squad had a much tougher test against a Bulldogs squad ranked No. 18 in the nation, but several Jackets still pulled off victories.
The first win of the day came when freshman Stephen Hill won the long jump with a mark of 24 feet, seven inches; senior Alphonso Jordan finished second at 23 feet, 8.75 inches.
The Jackets finished a close second in two other track events. The 4×100 meter relay team finished just 0.36 seconds behind the UGA team, and freshman Patrick Barron’s 3:54.65 in the 1500-meter run was less than a second behind UGA’s Matt Cleaver.
In the shot put, redshirt senior and former All-American Steve Marcelle took the event easily with a throw of 59 feet, 8.5 inches. Marcelle later won the discus throw as he covered a distance of 178 feet, two inches. Junior Hunter Clasen won by a nose in the 400-meter run, winning by .05 seconds with a time of 48.71, but it was the last event that the men’s squad won on the day as Georgia went on to take the meet 123-63.
As the Yellow Jacket Invitational featured a dozen schools along with several recently graduated athletes, the focus shifted back to individual performances. Several Jackets did well at the two-day competition, which featured a much greater number of participants in each event.
The women’s team had a handful of top-five finishes in track events. DuBard was the first winner of the day, as she took first in the 3,000-meter steeplechase in 10:48.33, over 15 seconds ahead of the runner-up.
Grant finished third in the 400-meter dash with a time of 55.28 seconds; junior Amanda Montgomery and Martin took fourth and fifth, respectively, in the 800-meter run; Martin placed third in the 1,500-meter run in 4:34.05; and Isley was third in the 400-meter hurdles at 1:00.84.
Notable field events included the discus throw, where Wagner won with a throw of 156 feet that topped her nearest competitor’s mark by a dozen feet. Senior Alana Clooten was second in the hammer throw at 189 feet, nine inches. Fellow senior Mellany Stanislaus took third in the triple jump at 39 feet, 7.75 inches.
On the men’s side, junior Antonio McKay Jr. was the star for the Jackets in sprint events. McKay, who has been battling the flu recently, finished third in the 200-meter dash and won the 400-meter dash, posting a time of 48.06 seconds in the latter.
Tech picked up another victory in the 1,500-meter run, as the freshman Barron edged out competitors from Illinois and Middle Tennessee State to win the event in 3:54.47. Junior Mark Mendrek-Laske finished fourth in the event. Senior Greg Johnson and junior D.J. McMillan took third and fourth, respectively, in the last distance run—the 5,000-meter run.
Tech took third in both men’s relay events and went on to win two field events. Senior Juan Cave’s high jump of six feet, 8.75 inches tied him for first, and he won a jump-off against Mykhail Chambers to take the event. Marcelle continued to be a force for the Jackets, winning the discus throw with a distance of 182 feet, three inches that was easily more than his nearest opponent.
“I think our competitiveness today was much improved over last weekend…. The guys competed hard and I’m certainty pleased with their effort,” said men’s Head Coach Grover Hinsdale, courtesy of ramblinwreck.com.