ATLANTA (April 19) – The Georgia Tech men’s and women’s track teams compete at the Atlantic Coast Conference Outdoor Championships, Friday and Saturday at Duke’s Wallace Wade Stadium in Durham, N.C.
Tech will be running on the Duke track for the second time in three weeks following the Duke Invitational. The facility is also the site of the NCAA Outdoor Championships.
“After competing at the Duke Invitational, we’re familiar with the facility, and we’re looking forward to a very good meet,” said Tech men’s head coach Grover Hinsdale, whose squad is seeking its first top-four finish outdoors since 1992. “I think Clemson is clearly the favorite, but after that the next few places are open.”
Head coach Alan Drosky’s women’s team had an impressive fourth-place finish indoors but hopes to improve upon last year’s outdoor finish of sixth. Tech’s best outdoor finish was a third-place showing in 1988. The Jackets were fourth in 1998.
One of Tech’s top events is the men’s 4×400-meter relay, featuring senior Michael Johnson (Littleton, Colo.), senior Tosin Tomori (Harare, Zimbabwe), freshman Sharif Azim (Marietta, Ga.) and sophomore Bryan Swarn (Englewood, Colo.). That quartet captured the conference title as well as all-America honors in the indoor season. The event has traditionally been strong for the Jackets, yielding 12 ACC titles (indoor and outdoor) and four NCAA championships in the last decade.
In the 400 meters, Swarn has run the top time in the ACC this season at 46.07, while Johnson has been hampered this spring by a nagging hamstring injury but is still a threat.
Another runner to watch is freshman Brendon Mahoney (Cumming, Ga.), who will compete in the 800 and 1500 meters. He is among the conference leaders in both events, including an ACC-best 1:48.42 in the 800. At the ACC Indoor Championships, Mahoney was named Freshman of the Year after winning the 800 meters.
“Our top events are the long sprint-middle distance races,” said Hinsdale. “We also have some individuals in the field events who could score well.”
In the field events, Tech’s top hopes are junior long jumper Clayton Porter (Chesapeake, Va.), who earned all-conference and all-America honors indoors, senior triple jumper Malcolm Leason (Wilmington, Del.), freshman high jumper Keith Schuler (Florence, Ky.) and sophomore Chris Sinotte (Warwick, R.I.) in the javelin.
Among the favorites in their respective events for the women’s team are senior Becky Megesi (Jonesboro, Ga.) in the 1500 meters, junior Sara Pardue (Aurora, Colo.) in the 800 meters and senior Ayana Grant (Oakland, Calif.) in the 100-meter hurdles. Megesi is the two-time defending ACC champion in the outdoor 1500 meters, while Pardue was the ACC champion and an all-America in the indoor 800 meters. Grant has the ACC’s second-best time in the 100 hurdles (13.62) this season.
Drosky also looks for scoring performances from junior Nicole Campbell (Ventura, Calif.) in the 800 meters, sophomore Mishanta Reyes (Bronx, N.Y.) in the long jump and seniors Judy Johnson (Snellville, Ga.) and Linda Lisska (Lawrenceville, Ga.) in the long-distance events.