Spring-like temperatures arrived just in time to grace the Yellow Jacket Invitational at the newly renovated George C. Griffin track on the campus of Georgia Tech in Atlanta.
Activities kicked off Friday night with two events, the hammer throw and the 5000 meter run. Auburn’s Daina Levy waited until the final round to uncork a toss of 59.16 m (194 ft 1 in) for top honors on the night. Former Tennessee Vol Garland Porter had the best throw on the men’s side in the open category 67.95m (222 ft 11in). Kennesaw State’s Martynas Sedys throw of 60.50m (198 ft-06 in) claimed the top spot in the collegiate category.
The men’s 5000 meter run went down to the wire as three hundredths of a second separated first place finisher Nathan Wanuch (Ut-Chattanooga) and Valentin Poncelet (Georgia State). Lucy Kapkiai of Middle Tenn. State bested the rest of the field by nearly half the track to win the women's 5000 m event.
Action picked up on Saturday as clear skies prevailed, which is not exactly a definite forecast given the history of rain in previous years. Under sunny skies Georgia State’s Anna Sinclair recorded an 11:04.91 to lower her personal best in the 3000 m steeplechase. The junior from Cummings, GA finished second overall to former teammate and 2012 CAA 3000 m Steeplechase champion Katherine Showalter.
In the men’s steeplechase, Georgia Tech’s Eric Powers led for most of the race until the senior landed awkwardly off the water hazard and tumbled to the track. Middle Tennessee State’s Robinson Simatei made his move immediately passing Powers finishing strong through the remaining laps to win. Georgia’s Brendan Hoban finished in second place.
It was all Badger red and white in the shot and discus. Wisconsin senior Taylor Smith heaved the shot 15.56 m (51 ft 00.75 in) to settle in at the 26th qualifying spot early in the season. Smith doubled up on her fun winning the discus competition later in the afternoon. The 2013 Indoor All-American launched the seventh best throw in the nation 54.08 m (177 ft 5 in) on her second attempt of the day. On the men’s side, Andrew Brekke and Danny Block unleashed the best throws in the shot and discus respectively. Wisconsin placed seven in the top eight spots.
Alabama placed two competitors in the top three of the women’s pole vault. Alexis Paine and Autumn Conn finished first and third bracketing Georgia Tech sophomore Samantha Becker.
Senior Yellow Jacket Aaron Unterberger cleared 5.25m (17 ft -02.75 in) to win the men’s pole vault competition. Unterberger employed a well known strategy passing on every round before opening at the winning height. Wisconsin heptathlete Japheth Cato finished second on misses at the preliminary heights.
Four competitors contended for top honors in the women’s high jump. Middle Tennessee State’s Ann Dudley walked away with the victory on fewest attempts at 1.81 m (5 ft – 11.25 in). Collin Taylor won the men’s high jump for Wisconsin hopping over 2.13 m (6 ft – 11.75 in).
A pair of Yellow Jackets dominated the women’s triple and long jump competitions. Julienne McKee finished first in the long jump and second in the triple jump. Teammate Jhanelle McLeod took third and first in the events respectively.
Kamal Fuller leaped 7.24m (23 ft 9 in) on his second attempt to add the men’s long jump to the Crimson Tide’s top finishes on the day. Kennesaw State’s Andre Dorsey turned in the fourth best jump in the nation (15.92m /52 ft -02.75 in) to win the men’s triple jump. The sophomore notched the winning distance on his last attempt. Competition was intense as three competitors (Cordairo Golden, Middle Tenn. State and Jonathan Gardner, GA Tech) reached distances good enough to rank in the top 15 nationally.
A pair of freshmen dominated the women’s and men’s javelin competition. Wisconsin thrower Brianna Bower used her fourth toss 43.29m (142 ft-00) to win the women’s javelin. Alabama’s Kevin Shannon saved his best for last winning with a throw of 62.45m (204 ft -11 in).
The Kennesaw State women’s 4 x 100 m relay team of Cynthia Davis, Alicia Whittle, Kentrelle White, and Hannah Wood notched a top 30 ranking time of 45.30 seconds a full half second ahead of second place Auburn.
Alabama’s men’s and women’s teams ran away with the top spots in the 4x400 meter relay to end the day’s competition. The men’s team also ran for the best time in the 4 x 100 m relay (39.89 seconds). It was good enough for the tenth best time in the nation.Heat Sheets and Results Heat Sheets and Results
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