Georgia’s indoor slate includes two stops in Fayetteville, Ark., including the Southeastern Conference Championships on February 26-27, and a total of four trips to the CrossPlex facility in Birmingham, Ala., which will be housing the NCAA Championships (March 11-12) for the first time.
Outdoors, the Bulldogs will highlight the season with three home meets at the Spec Towns Track, including the season-opening Georgia Relays (March 18-19). They will also travel to Tuscaloosa, Ala., for the SEC Championships (May 12-14) and to Eugene, Ore., for the NCAA Championships (June 8-11). This is the third consecutive year Oregon has hosted the meet and the Ducks will be welcoming the competition to town through at least through 2021.
“This year’s schedule is geared towards helping our student-athletes get used to championship venues and compete against the best in the NCAA,” said Bulldog head coach Petros Kyprianou, who took over his position in July after being an assistant/associate head coach since 2008. “We have been very successful during almost every trip we have taken to Fayetteville and kind of feel like it’s an indoor home away from home. The Razorback Invitational is shaping up to be a preview of the NCAA and SEC Championships.”
A rare December meet for a small number of Bulldog throwers will arrive with the indoor season-opening IceBreaker meet, which will be hosted by Birmingham Southern at the CrossPlex on December 4. Georgia will return to Birmingham for the Blazer Invitational on January 15-16, 2016.
“We have a few lower key meets in between to allow our potential NCAA people to rest and at the same time, give a chance to some of our up and coming people to step up and fill in,” said Kyprianou. “Additionally the three trips to Birmingham will also make us feel at home in the CrossPlex since it is the site of the NCAA championships.”
Following the Blazer Invitational, the Bulldogs will head to Lexington, Ky., for the McCravy Memorial (January 22-23), which is a competition where Georgia posted eight season-best marks last season, including Keturah Orji’s school and American Junior record mark in the triple jump (45 feet, 10 1Ž2 inches).
“The McCravy Invitational had some world-class marks last year and we have had a tremendous showing with almost all of our NCAA qualifying marks in the field events coming from that meet,” Kyprianou said.
Only one week will separate the end of the indoor season and the beginning of the outdoor season. While the Georgia Relays (March 18-19) and the Georgia Invitational (April 29-30) will give the Bulldogs an opportunity to compete in Athens, Kyprianou is particularly looking forward to the annual Spec Towns Invitational and the Bulldog Decathlon/Heptathlon (April 6-9).
“As far as the outdoor season goes, the one meet I am very excited about is one of our own home meets, the Spec Towns Invitational, along with the Bulldog Decathlon/Heptathlon,” Kyprianou said, adding that Kentucky, South Carolina, Duke, Wisconsin and Missouri are expected to compete at the Spec Towns meet. “This year we will feature a closed six-team meet with a very intense and exciting competition. Obviously having some of the top world marks come out of this meet in the multis and other field events in the past few years makes us look forward to this meet, and we expect some fast races in the sprints as well.
“This year we are hoping to have several festivities associated with the meet in recognizing outstanding alumni, bringing back letter winners and lettermen, recognizing our great officials and many more fun activities for the whole family. I am also very happy to announce the inaugural ‘Hershel Walker 100-Meter Dash Final’ that will be the elite section of the meet, featuring some of the fastest guys in the U.S.”
Kyprianou said he is also excited about members of his team going to Charlottesville, Va., for the Virginia Challenge, which is an “outstanding” event he said “that has produced elite performances in the past.”
The outdoor postseason will arrive with the SEC meet on Alabama’s campus and then Georgia will travel to Jacksonville, Fla., for the NCAA East Prelims as the teams try and earn an invite to Eugene.
“Like the indoor season, everything is geared towards the NCAA Championships and giving the student-athletes the opportunity to compete against the finest competition at the best available venues,” Kyprianou explained.