ATLANTA (May 15) – With one final chance to qualify for the NCAA Championships, the Georgia Tech men’s and women’s track teams host the annual Georgia Tech-Reebok Invitational Friday and Saturday (5/19-20) at the Griffin Track on the Tech campus.
Friday’s competition runs from 6-8 p.m. On Saturday, field events begin at 8 a.m. and running events take place from 1 p.m. until 6 p.m. Admission is free.
In addition to athletes representing schools from all over the country, many of Tech’s former greats are expected to compete, including 1996 Olympic gold medalist Derrick Adkins and 2000 Olympic hopeful Angelo Taylor.
“We really look forward to hosting this meet every year,” said Tech men’s head coach Grover Hinsdale. “Our athletes love to run at home, and we’ve had some great performances in this meet over the years.
“I’ve seen as much or more interest this year as any, so we’re looking forward to a very competitive and exciting meet.”
Sophomore quarter-miler Bryan Swarn (Englewood, Colo.) emerged last weekend with an outstanding performance at Clemson’s Orange and Purple Classic. He ran a personal-best 45.88 in the 400 meters and anchored a season-best 3:05.38 performance by the 4×400-meter relay team. His time in the 400 easily surpassed the provisional qualifying standard of 46.20 and moved him closer to the automatic mark of 45.40.
“Breaking that 46-second barrier for the first time was a huge mental hurdle for Bryan,” said Hinsdale. “Now that he’s done that, I would like to see him get down to 45.7, which would also qualify him for the Olympic Trials. I think he is definitely capable of running in the mid-45’s.”
The 4×400-meter relay team also includes senior Michael Johnson (Littleton, Colo.), sophomore Aaron Sink (Raleigh, N.C.), who replaced injured senior Tosin Tomori (Harare, Zimbabwe), and freshman Sharif Azim (Marietta, Ga.). Hinsdale expects their 3:05.38 to stand up, but the quartet will try to move closer to the automatic mark of 3:03.80.
Senior triple jumper Malcolm Leason (Wilmington, Del.) is enjoying an outstanding season, having won the event at three of the last four meets. He has a provisional mark of 52-04.75 feet, but Hinsdale says he needs to get closer to the automatic standard of 53 feet-5.75 inches.
Swarn and Johnson are also looking to qualify in the 400 meters. Swarn own the ACC’s top time with a 46.07, which surpasses the provisional standard of 46.20, while Johnson’s best time is 46.66.
Another Tech performer to watch is Brendon Mahoney (Cumming, Ga.), the ACC Freshman of the Year for both indoor and outdoor track. The conference champion in the 800 meters, he has made the NCAA provisional standard with a 1:48.42, while the automatic mark is 1:47.20.
“I think Brendon is safe with the time he has, but I know he’s ready to run a better time, and I think this is a great opportunity to do it,” said Hinsdale.
Sophomore Clayton Porter (Chesapeake, Va.), an indoor all-America in the long jump, has been nursing sore knees all spring, and his best jump of 24 feet-9.0 inches is shy of the NCAA qualifying marks of 25-1.25 for provisional and 26-1.0 for automatic.
“In the indoor season, Clayton was able to lay it all on the line one time and get a qualifying mark, and I’m hoping he’s able to do that again,” said Hinsdale.
For the women’s team, Tech’s top hopes for NCAA qualification are junior Sara Pardue (Aurora, Colo.), an all-America in the indoor 800 meters who has a solid provisional performance of 2:06.61, senior Judy Johnson (Snellville, Ga.), who has run a provisional time of 34:41.30 in the 10,000 meters, and senior Becky Megesi (Jonesboro, Ga.), who earned all-America status in the 1,500 meters in 1999. She has yet to qualify in the event, but last year earned her qualifying mark at this meet.
Also looking for a qualifying mark is sophomore long jumper Mishanta Reyes (Bronx, N.Y.). She had a potential qualifying jump of 20-07.00 feet disallowed by wind two weeks ago, leaving her with a top performance of 19-7.50 feet. The provisional standard is 20-4.75 feet. Senior Ayana Grant (Oakland, Calif.) has run a provisional time of 13.62 in the 100-meter hurdles but is nursing a hamstring injury.