THE FLATS -- Georgia Tech outdoor track and field hit its stride on Saturday, recording five top-10 ACC performances en route to an impressive finish at the Georgia Tech Invitational on Saturday.
In addition to the conference-bests, the Yellow Jackets also took first place in six events overall on day two.
"It was a great weekend for the women with some outstanding performances across the board," head women's coach Alan Drosky said. "This was the kind of weekend we needed as we head into the ACCs in a few weeks. We had a lot of outstanding performances individually and both relays looked really good. We've got to keep this momentum going into exams and beyond. With the quality of competition and being able to recognize our seniors, it was a fun weekend."
"It was a very good day for the men," head men's coach Grover Hinsdale said. "I was pleased with the performances of both Andreas Ward and Wesley Watkins, Jr. in the 110m hurdles. They looked to be in a much better groove than they have been in the last few weeks. Tyson Spears also had a very nice 200m race today, as did Avery Bartlett in the 800m. I thought the 4x400m relay group really put out a great effort while running with a huge lead from early in the first leg. We now prepare for our last competition before the ACC Championships."
As the season turns toward preparation for ACC Championships, Georgia Tech has three regular-season meets remaining. First is the North Florida Invitational (April 26-28) and the Penn Relays (April 26-28), followed up by the Torrin Lawrence Invitational in Athens, Ga. on May 5.
The ACC Track & Field Outdoor Championships will be held May 10-12 at Miami.
For the second week in a row, Ksenia Novikova took gold in the pole vault, hitting a personal-best clearance of 4.14 meters -- good for sixth in the ACC and 16th in the NCAA East. Also finishing in the top-10 was Anna Hightower, who took sixth place with a mark of 3.59 meters.
Sweeping both relays on the day, the Yellow Jackets broke out of the gates quickly as the A team of Angelica Henderson,Shannon Innis, Marinice Bauman and Domonique Hall raced to a season-best, first-place time of 3:40.94 -- ranking eighth in the ACC. The B team ofBrianna Hayden, Denise Woode, Haley Anderson and Amy Ruiz also had a fine day, finishing ninth at 3:52.68.
Bauman's day wouldn't end in the relays as she finally broke the 60-second plateau this season in the 400m hurdles, finishing second with a season-best time of 59.72 -- good for the 10th-fastest time in conference. Innis wasn't far behind her teammate as she finished seventh overall with a time of 1:02.30.
In the 800m, Anderson kicked hard to a fifth-place time of 2:12.30 before Ruiz followed her across the line with a sixth-place 2:12.38. Hayden followed that up with a sixth-place time of 24.16 in the 200m.
Hall concluded the day for Tech in the 400m, where she ran a season-best time of 55.52 to finish just outside the top 10 at 11th.
Leading the Georgia Tech men's team on Saturday was the 400m crew. En route to three top-5 finishes, Daniel Pietsch led all with a time of 46.98 before Benjamin Jean (47.41) and Ty Brooks (47.45) finished third and fourth, respectively.
The momentum carried forward in the 800m when Avery Bartlett took home a near-PR with a first-place time of 1:47.79. Following his pace, Andres Littig finishing fifth at 1:49.76 while Gabriel Darosa turned in a 1:50.46 PR -- good enough for fourth-best in the ACC. Rounding out the top 10 for the Jackets was Bennett Hillier who finished eighth with a time of 1:52.18.
The men's relay teams also put together a strong showing on Saturday, led by the 4x400m team of Brooks, Bartlett, Jean and Pietsch, who finished first with a time of 3:10.06. Tech's other team of Hillier, Littig, Darosa and Anthony Steets raced out to a third-place finish at 3:16.18.
Preston Smith then represented the White and Gold in the field as he lept out to a mark of 15.01 meters in the triple jump to finish fifth.
Spears also had a great day individually, leading the Jackets in the 200m where he finished sixth by running a 21.34 PR. Simpson wasn't far behind his teammate, finishing eighth with a time of 21.45.
Wrapping up the day for the men, Steets recorded the 10th -fastest mark in conference for the 400m hurdles, finishing 16th overall in the ultra-competitive heat.