Feb. 7, 2003
ATLANTA – With a combined 12 nationally-ranked teams making the trip to Gainesville, Fla., the Georgia Tech men’s and women’s track and field teams will face an extremely talented field at Sunday’s Gator Invitational at the University of Florida’s O’Connell Center.
The meet opens at 9 a.m. with the men’s 5000 meters, while field events get under way with the men’s weight throw at 10 a.m. The collegiate portion of the meet wraps up with the women’s 4×400-meter relay at 5:55 p.m.
Seven men’s teams ranked in the Trackwire Top 25 Poll are slated to compete, including four of the nation’s top six squads. On the women’s side, five ranked teams, including three of the top five, will be in attendance. LSU, the nation’s No. 1 men’s team, as well as Florida, the top women’s squad, will compete. Other men’s and women’s teams to watch include Southeastern Conference powers Tennessee, South Carolina and Auburn.
Tech’s women enter the meet led by four NCAA provisional qualifiers: senior Jessica DeFreitas (55 meters), freshman Jessica Graff (pole vault), freshman Chaunte Howard (high jump) and junior Amandi Rhett (60 meters).
DeFreitas ranks as one of the ACC’s best 60-meter talents and long jumpers (second in both events), while Rhett stands first in the 60 and second in the 200 meters. Also, Howard leads the conference with a mark of 5’11.25″ in the high jump.
Additionally, sophomore Shanta Smith is coming off a season-best time of 55.91 in the 400 meters at the Carolina Fast Times Meet, which ranks third in the ACC. Classmate Dana Rogers also finds herself in the conference’s top three with a time of 8.55 in the 60-meter hurdles. Freshman Brandy Depland ranks third in the ACC in both the long jump and triple jump.
Senior Amy Dock leads the distance corps with the team’s best times in the mile, 3000 and 5000 meters.
Tech’s men’s team is led by junior distance standout Kyle Rabbitt, who set a school record and provisionally qualified in the 5000 meters at the Terrier Invitational. He leads the conference in both the 3000 (8:15.76) and 5000 meters (14:14.48).
Junior Brendon Mahoney, who owns a time of 4:06.55 in the mile, and sophomore Dennis Davis, who has run 21.69 in the 200 meters, round out the conference leaders for Tech. Davis also stands third in the 60 meters, while Mahoney also checks in at fifth in the 800 meters. Additionally, Tech has two outstanding 400-meter performers in Sharif Azim and Brian Ford, who both rank among the top four in the conference.