ATLANTA (Apr. 26) – Led by Atlantic Coast Conference champions Brendon Mahoney and Malcolm Leason and seven other all-ACC honorees, the Georgia Tech men’s and women’s track teams make their annual appearance in the Penn Relays, Thursday through Saturday at Franklin Field in Philadelphia, Pa.
The event will be a homecoming of sorts for Leason, who hails from nearby Wilmington, Del. The senior triple jumper captured the ACC title with a personal best leap of 51 feet-9.0 inches at last weekend’s conference meet. His performance also surpassed the NCAA provisional qualifying standard.
“I don’t know if could be prouder or happier for a kid than I am for Malcolm Leason,” said Tech head coach Grover Hinsdale, whose men’s squad placed fifth in the ACC Championships. “He came into our program as walk-on five years ago who jumped 45-46 feet, and he finished his eighth and last ACC meet by jumping 51-9 to win an ACC championship and provisionally qualify. He worked really hard for that.”
Leason’s victory in the triple jump capped an excellent meet for Tech in the field events as the Jackets also had all-ACC performances from junior Clayton Porter (Chesapeake, Va.) in the long jump, freshman Keith Schuler (Florence, Ky.) in the high jump and junior Chris Sinotte (Warwick, R.I.) in the javelin. All four will compete at Penn Relays.
Mahoney, a freshman from Cumming, Ga., continued his outstanding rookie season by winning the ACC Championship in the 800 meters while placing second in the 1500. He also captured the ACC indoor title in the mile and was named the ACC Freshman of the Year for Indoor Track.
“Brendon was disappointed to finish second in the 1500 because he made a tactical error,” said Hinsdale. “But he handled the adversity well and came back and won an ACC championship in the 800.”
Mahoney will compete in the distance medley relay this weekend. Tech’s other entry will be the 4×400-meter relay squad of senior Michael Johnson (Littleton, Colo.), senior Tosin Tomori (Harare, Zimbabwe), freshman Sharif Azim (Marietta, Ga.) and sophomore Bryan Swarn (Englewood, Colo.). Swarn was nursing a knee injury and did not compete at the ACC meet as Tech finished second with freshman Aaron Sink (Raleigh, N.C.) taking his place. Johnson also earned all-conference honors with a second-place finish and season-best performance in the 400 meters, while Azim placed sixth.
“I was really pleased with our performance, top to bottom,” said Hinsdale. “We got contributions from a lot of different athletes.”
The Tech women placed sixth in the ACC Championships, but were just one-half point out of fifth place, led by all-ACC performers Becky Megesi (Jonesboro, Ga.) in the 1500, Judy Johnson (Snellville, Ga.) in the 10,000 meters and Mishanta Reyes (Bronx, N.Y.) in the long jump.
“Our distance group ran really well, from top to bottom,” said women’s head coach Alan Drosky. “Judy Johnson had a 20-second personal record in the 10,000, and then one day later she had a p.r. in the 5,000.”
Tech’s best hopes in the women’s competitions are the distance medley relay squad of Sara Pardue (Aurora, Colo.), Coquese Renfroe (Denver, Colo.), Nicole Campbell (Ventura, Calif.) and Megesi, which placed seventh at the NCAA Indoor Championships, and the shuttle hurdle relay of Ayana Grant (Oakland, Calif.), Nikole Jeffery (Lithonia, Ga.), Tosan Osaigbovo (Marietta, Ga.) and Reyes. Johnson and senior Linda Lisska (Lawrenceville, Ga.) will run the 10,000.
“The Penn Relays is one of the biggest meets in the country,” continued Drosky. “It’s quite a spectacle with a phenomenal number of athletes and teams from all over.”