THE FLATS - Georgia Tech outdoor track and field finished its opening Yellow Jacket Invitational in impressive fashion, turning in two school records, eight first-place finishes and 15 personal records on Saturday afternoon at the George C. Griffin Track and Field Facility.
"I am very pleased across the board with how the guys competed," head men's coach Grover Hinsdale said. "They fought and went through the rain delay that always sort of has the potential to throw a group off and I was really proud of how they just ignored it, got out and prepared to compete in the field or the track. I'm especially proud of a few individuals: Nahom Solomon, had a big PR in the 1500m last night; Preston Smith had a great day in the triple; Andreas Ward had a nice PR in the hurdles; several of the 400 guys had great PRs as well; Alex Grady had a great school-record time in the steeple; and then we came back and we were very competitive in the relays. I'm as pleased with our performance as I am with how the weather turned around and gave us a beautiful day."
"That was a great start to the outdoor season," head women's coach Alan Drosky said. "We talked about competing at this first meet like it was the conference championships and I think the women did just that. We saw a lot of wins, conference-qualifying marks, a school and track record, and overall, just a great effort. We've got spring break up next with a good week of training and then another great opportunity next week at Tallahassee."
The Yellow Jackets will have the week off for spring break but will return to the track for the Florida State Relays on March 23.
Georgia Tech was led on the day with a record-setting performance by Alex Grady in the 2000m steeplechase, where he broke his own record with a time of 5:59.67 to finish third. Sam Costa (6:10.55) and Isaac Penman (6:23.15) also set personal records in the event, finishing sixth and ninth, respectively.
In the 1500 meters, Patrick Fleming led a plethora of Yellow Jackets in the top 10, taking up half overall. Fleming set a new personal-best by finishing in 3:52.54 before Andrew Kent turned in a second-place time of 3:53.23. Christian Bowles (3:55.07), John Lyons (3:56.62 - PR), and Braeden Collins (3:58.20) rounded out the stellar group, finishing fourth, seventh and ninth, respectively.
In the 4x400, Ty Brooks, Lionel Jones, Daniel Pietsch and Avery Bartlett led the Jackets to a first-place time of 3:09.37 to give Georgia Tech eight first-place finishes on the day between the two teams.
Benjamin Jean and Pietsch broke out the gates to an impressive 400-meter performance. Jean set a new personal record by finishing second at 46.55 before Pietsch turned in a third-place time of 46.59. Brooks also finished in the top five with a fourth-place 47.10 time while Jones finished ninth at 48.69.
Maurice Simpson had a fine day as well in the 100- and 200-meter events. Simpson finished seventh in the 100 with a time of 10.80 before setting a new personal-best time of 21.55 to finish eighth in the 200.
The women's team were led by a school-record, track-record setting performance in the 2000 steeplechase by Hailey Gollnick. Gollnick won the race with a time of 6:57.44 before Courtney Naser set a personal record by finishing second at 7:04.34.
The Jackets then dominated the 100m hurdles when Jeanine Williams continued her fine year, winning the event with a time of 13.19. Tech had four Jackets in the top 10, including Kenya Collins (13.58) and Raven Stewart (13.61 - PR), who finished third and fourth, respectively, as well as Marinice Bauman (14.41) at sixth overall.
Bauman had an impressive day in several events, including winning the 400m hurdles with a time of 1:00.72. Shannon Innis also finished in the top 10, placing seventh at 1:04.28.
Georgia Tech rounded out its final two first-place finishes in the relays, as Collins, Williams, Brianna Hayden and Stewart stretched to a 45.20 time in the 4x100. Over in the 4x400, Hayden, Bauman, Angelica Henderson and Domonique Hall finished on top with a time of 3:43.90.
Henderson also took home a second-place finish in the 400m with a time of 54.91 while Hall ran a 56.14 to finish fifth overall. Denise Woode turned in a time of 56.61 to finish seventh.
In the pole vault, Anna Hightower and Ksenia Novikova had fine days, finishing second and third, respectively. Both cleared a mark of 3.85 before Hightower was able to win the jump-off to take the higher finish.
Tech featured three top-10 finishers in the long jump, led by Dasia Smith with a 5.82-meter leap for third place. Collins (5.80m) and Stewart (5.55m) finished right behind her at fourth and ninth, respectively.
Hayden also recorded a fourth-place finish in the 100 meters, running an 11.87.
In the 200 meters, Woode recorded a personal-best time of 24.49 to finish seventh in the event before Henderson finished 10th with a 24.56 time. Hall fell just outside the top 10 at 11th place, running a 24.58.