THE FLATS – Sixteen Yellow Jackets are headed to Tampa, Fla. to represent Georgia Tech track and field at the 2018 NCAA East Preliminaries on May 24-26 at the USF Track & Field Stadium.
The Yellow Jackets had eight qualify from both the men’s and women’s teams, including the men’s 4x400m relay team.
Fresh off being crowned Atlantic Coast Conference Champions in their respective events, Avery Bartlett (800m) and Jeanine Williams (100m hurdles) will both enter as Tech’s highest-ranked competitors.
Also joining will be all-ACC honorees Benjamin Jean andDaniel Pietsch (400m), as well as Andres Littig (800m). Nahom Solomon will double in the 5K and 10K, before Preston Smith capitalizes on an all-ACC leap in the triple jump and William Solomon takes on the long jump. Freshman Ty Brooks will join Tech, qualifying as part of the men’s 4×400.
For the women’s team, Kenya Collins and Raven Stewart will join Williams in the 100m hurdles, while Marinice Bauman will compete in the 400m hurdles. Ksenia Novikova will represent Tech in the field, while distance runners Amy Ruiz (1500m) and freshman Nicole Fegans (5K) qualified in their top events this season. Coming off a PR and all-ACC performance, Hailey Gollnick also qualified in the 3000m steeplechase.
The 2018 NCAA East Preliminaries can be streamed live on FloTrack with a subscription fee. Tickets for the event begin at $15 for a single session and $35 for all three days.
Bartlett will compete in the 800m, currently ranked second in the NCAA East with a time of 1:47.76 that was set at the Florida Relays in March, before also doubling and competing in the 4x400m relays. A 2018 indoor All-American, he’s carried his momentum forward to outdoor, turning in four sub-1:48 times so far – also ranking second in the ACC and 16th nationally.
Joining Bartlett in the 800m will be 2018 all-ACC honoree Littig, who kicked to a season-best effort of 1:49.30 to finish sixth at conference. Five of Littig’s last six times have been sub-1:50 as he looks to return to his 1:48.20 PR set in 2016.
Williams enters as the ACC’s top 100m hurdler, currently touting an ACC-best 12.83 that ranks fifth in the NCAA East and 12th nationally. Alongside two of her last three times coming in below 13 seconds, Williams has yet to place lower than second all season either. She’ll look become the first Tech hurdler and third ACC hurdler all-time to be a 60m and 100m double hurdle champion and earn All-American honors in both in the same year.
Joining Williams in the 100m hurdles will be Collins and Stewart, who both rank in the top 15 of the ACC. Both Collins and Stewart had their top performances this season at the Georgia Tech Invitational in April, running 13.43 and 13.51, respectively. After the GT Invite heat was wind-aided, both turned around the next weekend at North Florida to set new official PRs with Stewart running the same 13.51 and Collins recording a 13.45.
Doubling in the 5K and 10K will be N. Solomon, who set the school records in both events this season. In the 5K, N. Solomon currently ranks third in the ACC, 14th in the East and 46th in the nation. Carrying a current time of 13:51.92, he’ll look to record his second sub-14 time of his career after a 14:15.02 performance at the ACC Championships. In the 10K, the Snellville, Ga., native ranks second in the ACC, ninth in the East and 24th in the country. His record-breaking time of 29:08.98 at the Mt. SAC Relays is his lone performance in the event this season.
In the field events, Smith and W. Solomon will be the Yellow Jackets’ jumpers while Novikova will represent in the pole vault. Smith enters with the sixth-best conference mark in the triple jump, leaping to a PR of 15.67 meters to just miss the podium at the ACC Outdoor Championships at fourth place. W. Solomon also brings a top-10 ACC mark, hitting a mark of 7.50 meters at the Tiger Track Classic in April – just 0.05 meters shy of his PR. Novikova has surged of late and will try to ride the wave of four-straight 4.00 meter clearances. The senior pole vaulter recorded her PR earlier this season at the GT Invite, hitting 4.14 meters.
Senior Gollnick will try to take the momentum from her all-ACC performance in the 3000m steeplechase at ACCs, entering with a time of 10:24.99 PR. Currently ranked 14thin the conference, senior Bauman will carry a 59.72 mark into the 400m hurdles – less than 0.25 seconds off her PR that was set in 2017, while freshman Fegans will compete in the 5K with a 17th-best ACC time of 16:26.12 that also ranked fourth-best in school history.
The Jackets qualified two competitors in the 400m. Fresh off all-ACC performances, Jean enters with the fourth-best conference time (46.55 – 27th in East) while Pietschranks sixth in ACCs and 29th in the East (46.59). Just missing the podium at conference, Jean enters with two-straight sub-47 performances, while three of Pietsch’s have been sub-46.83 in his first season with Tech.
With the 16th-best time in conference, Ruiz will represent Georgia Tech in the 1500m. Ruiz turned in a 4:24.00 PR earlier this season at the Tiger Track Classic, before recording a time of 4:25.14 to finish 13th at the ACC Championships last week. She was also a part of the school-record-setting 4x1500m relay team at Penn Relays, running an 18:15.33.
The Yellow Jackets’ men’s 4x400m squad will be composed of Bartlett, Jean, Pietsch and freshman Brooks. In just his first year, Brooks recorded a top-10 400m time of 47.09 in March at the Florida Relays and reached the finals at ACCs, narrowly missing all-ACC honors by finishing seventh. The team turned in a season-best relay time of 44.93 at ACCs to finish fourth overall.