April 2, 2009
Going head-to-head for the first time since the 1992 season, the Georgia Tech men’s and women’s track & field teams fell to Georgia Thursday evening at the George C. Griffin Track in Atlanta, Ga. The Tech men fell 104-98, women 103-96.
Both Tech men and women held a 10-9 advantage in wins on the day, but the Bulldogs were able to earn more points as both teams battled through rainy conditions.
“I am very disappointed that we lost because I thought we competed very well,” women’s head coach Alan Drosky said. “Like every athletic competition, there were some things that went well as expected, and some that went worse than expected, but I knew it would be close in the end and that’s what made it such a great meet.”
The Tech women received a strong start on the day in the hammer throw, as Kimery Hern (188-01), Alana Clooten (186-10) and Megan Manning (166-06) went one, two and three to pick up 10 quick points. Freshman Mary Kate DuBard kept things rolling for the Jackets with a win in her first ever 3000 meter steeplechase in 11:06.67.
The two teams would trade leads all throughout the meet before it came down to the final four events. Georgia would take first and second in both the 100m and 200m, while Jackets would sweep in the 100m hurdles led by Jasmine Isley (14.38), and take the top-three spots in the 400m hurdles led by Leslie Njoku (1:00.96).
With just four events left, the Tech women led 79-77 but the Bulldogs took three of the top-four places in the discus and 3000 meter run to get the eventual win. DuBard finished second in the 3000m run (10:07.54), and classmate Jhanelle McLeod first in the triple jump (36’10.75″, but the Bulldogs would then outlast for the win.
Not to be lost in the dual competition was freshman Bailey Wagner’s school-record mark of 49’1″ in the shot put. The Lake Villa, Ill. native previously broke the mark two weeks ago at the Hurricane Invitational, but topped that distance by six and a half inches.
“I am very proud of our effort and competitiveness tonight,” men’s head coach Grover Hinsdale said. “Coming into the meet there were three events they held an advantage in because we just didn’t have the bodies. The events we did have bodies in, we fought hard and it was a great job all over the board.”
The Tech men gave the 12th-ranked team in the country all it could handle with multiple strong performances on the day.
Senior E.C. Gibbs and junior Alphonso Jordan led the Jackets with two wins apiece, Gibbs taking the 1500 meter run (3:46.96) and 3000 meter run (8:28.88) and Jordan the long jump (23’6.25″) and triple jump (49’5″). Both Yellow Jackets posted NCAA Regional qualifying marks, Gibbs in the 1500 and Jordan in the triple.
Gibbs’ tirade had a strong impression on the distance runners, as the Jackets locked up three scoring positions in the 3000m with Joe Fulton (8:45.46) grabbing third and Morgan Stephenson (8:48.97) fourth.
Senior Casey Gramling shattered his personal-best in the 3000m steeplechase, as the Roswell, Ga. native finished first with a 9:41.74 run.
Also setting a personal-best on the day was sophomore Antonio McKay Jr., who’s 47.38 led three Jackets to top-four finishes.
In his first outdoor competition since the 2007 season, senior Jerome Miller hit a personal-best clearance of 7’2.50″ for a regional qualifying mark. Tech went one, two and three in the event as freshman Mykhail Chambers’ 6″8.75 and sophomore Omar Morrison’s 6’4.75″ locked up more points for Tech.
Miller also finished second in the triple jump, landing a 48’6″ mark to keep Tech in the meet.
In the end, however, the Jackets however could not overcome sweeps by Georgia in the 100m dash, hammer throw, javelin throw and pole vault. The Jackets had no contestants in the hammer and pole vault, and do not normally compete in the javelin, which resulted in a 33-point deficit.
Both Tech men and women fought to the finish, with wins in the meet’s last event, the 4x400m relay.
“The point is, athletes from both teams asked what the score was after each event, and that is something that you don’t hear anymore,” Drosky added. “Head-to-head, we had great performances and I am very proud of the team.”
The Jackets will head to the Auburn Tiger Track Classic this weekend in Auburn, Ala. Competition begins Friday with the hammer throw at 5 p.m. Live results will be available at www.RamblinWreck.com.