The University of Georgia spring sports had busy weekends in the Classic City and around the Southeast, and the Dawgs were crowned winners in many of these events.
The weekend began on the 26th, but Thursday featured two excellent wins for the Georgia Bulldogs Athletic Association. The first was volleyball. In five sets (19-25, 32-30, 25-19, 26-28, 15-12), the Dawgs beat Ole Miss behind senior Rachel Ritchie and sophomore Kacie Evans’ 20-kill outings. Brynn Chandler, a senior setter from San Diego, recorded a double-double with a career-best 28 assists and 13 digs. In addition to Chandler’s exceptional performance at setter, her counterpart, redshirt-junior Dalaney Hans, recorded 30 assists for the afternoon. Leading the team in digs, redshirt-junior Claire Rothenberger tallied 16 while freshman Phoebe Awoleye recorded 6 blocks at the net. Overall, a balanced, big-time team win for the Lady Dogs on Thursday in Stegeman Coliseum.
Swimming and Diving
The second of Thursday’s event takes place in the pool. On day two of the 2021 NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships at the Greensboro Aquatic Center, Georgia turned in an unbelievable performance headlined by Jake Magahey’s 500 freestyle national title. Trailing with 100 yards left, Magahey rallied, finishing first with a 4:07.97 time. This broke the GAC pool record (4:09.36), which he set earlier in prelims. The 4:07.97 time was Magahey’s second-fastest 500 in his career, and it was the fourth fastest in American history. He also became the third Georgia man to win the NCAA title in the 500, joining Sébastien Rouault in 2005 and Martin Grodzki in 2012.
On day three of the Men’s Championships, three school records were broken as the Bulldogs finished 75% of the meet in fourth place with 198 points. Senior Camden Murphy finished third in the 100 butterfly with 44.42 time, one of the school records broken. Earlier in the day, Murphy beat the previous school record with a 44.69 time in the prelims. Next, Murphy, freshman Luca Urlando, senior Javier Acevedo, and sophomore Dillon Downing set another school record in the 200 medley relay with a time of 1:23.07.
At the final night of the NCAA Men’s Swimming and Diving Championships, the Bulldogs secured nine All-America citations, highlighted by Magahey’s second-place finish in the 1,650 freestyle. For the second time in school history, Georgia finished in the top four at the championship meets. The last time the school finished in the top four was their third-place rank in 1997. In this year’s meet, they fell only behind Texas (595 points), California (568), and Florida (367). The Dawgs scored a final 268 and earned the fourth place position. Congratulations to the UGA Swim Dogs!
The No. 3 Georgia women’s tennis team is one of the hottest tennis teams right now after they defeated No. 23 Kentucky Friday afternoon. The 4-0 win secured by 73rd ranked Morgan Coppoc (6-3, 6-2) was the fifth 4-0 sweep for the Dawgs this season. Georgia improves to 11-1 on the season, 7-0 in conference play, and 6-1 against opponents ranked in the top-25. It was an all-around great team win for another Georgia athletic program highlighted by No. 1 Katarina Jokic (6-0, 6-0), who became the second Bulldog this season to win in straight sets without losing a game.
The Lady Dogs continued their dominance on the road as they took down Vanderbilt 4-2 on Sunday. The match was clinched by No. 1 Jokic as she defeated the Commodores’ No. 54 Christina Rosca 6-4, 4-6, 6-4. Georgia dropped its first doubles point on the season but only allowed one singles victory and stole four singles from Vandy. The Dawgs are no 12-1 overall, 5-0 on the road, 8-0 in the SEC with its seventh victory over a top-25 opponent.
Georgia hosted the 2021 SEC Championship Meet at the UGA Equestrian Farm, and dramatically, the Bulldogs clinched a big win in the semi-finals over Texas A&M, advancing them to the finals on Saturday. Friday’s meet saw Georgia trailing 10-9 with one rider left. In the last ride, Junior Sara Lewis topped her opponent, 211.5-197, in the last ride, giving Georgia the win and a trip to the SEC Championship finals. Georgia defeated the Aggies in raw score 4415-4299.5.
Unfortunately, Saturday’s outing against Auburn in the SEC Championship finals was a loss for the Bulldogs. Georgia fell 15-5, but a great meet for the Dawgs and an even better season. Next, Georgia will compete at the NCEA National Championship April 15-17 in Waco, Texas.
The 13th-ranked Georgia men’s tennis team secured a big victory over No. 20 Kentucky to improve the Bulldog’s record to 10-5 overall and 4-4 in league play. On court five, Billy Rowe clinched the win with a 3-6, 7-5, 6-4 win over the Wildcats’ Yasha Zemel. With the match tied at 3-3, Rowe needed a big final set after dropping the first and evening the point in the second. He delivered with a break of Zemel’s serve in the final game, and the Dawgs defended the turf with a victory in Athens.
Rowe delivered yet another match-clinching game, besting Vanderbilt’s Max Freeman 7-5, 6-2. The Dawgs’ 4-1 Sunday victory in Athens against Vanderbilt improved their record to 11-5 overall and 5-4 in the SEC. Georgia snagged the doubles point, and two straight singles points before Trent Bryde dropped a singles point. The Bulldogs, still holding a 3-1 advantage, sealed the match with Rowe’s win, and Georgia has now won five of its last six matches.
The No. 10 Georgia golf team won their second tournament of the season as they took the Old Waverly Collegiate Championship in West Point, Mississippi. Georgia posted a 4-under 284 showing on Sunday, the final day of the tournament, to secure a 10 stroke victory with a 20-under 844 showing on the whole weekend. On Sunday, Junior Eli Scott led the Bulldogs, carding a 3-under 69. Senior Davis Thompson followed with a 2-under 70, while fifth-year Spencer Ralston had an even-par 72, and junior Trent Phillips had a 1-over 73. With one tournament remaining in the regular season, the Dawgs carry great momentum into it along with the nearing postseason.
Track and Field
Thursday and Friday, twenty-six Dawgs competed at Florida State relays while seven other athletes competed in the Raleigh Relays from Thursday-Saturday. In Tallahassee, senior Kayla Smith won the pole vault with a national leading mark. Graduate transfer Jonathan Tharaldsen won the shot put as well, while junior teammate Alencar Pereira sealed a victory in the hammer throw. The three victories on Thursday for Georgia kick-started a great next day in Tallahassee.
Come Friday, Georgia’s senior javelin thrower Marie-Therese Obst became the No. 4 all-time collegiate performer in the javelin with her win at the Florida State Relays. Obst had a remarkable 201 feet toss to win the competition by nearly 17 feet. This throw for the record books topped her previous school record of 195 feet set last weekend at the Yellow Jacket Invitational. The 201-foot throw is the longest since current NCAA record holder Maggie Malone of Texas A&M threw a 204-1 in 2016 at the NCAA Championships. Obst now ranks fifth on the 2021 world list, thanks to this throw.
Saturday in Raleigh, the day for the Bulldogs, was highlighted by Athens, Ga native and sophomore long-distance runner Anna Marian Block. She ran the fifth fast 800m in school history with a 2:06.3 time. Overall, the Bulldogs had great showings in both events all weekend.
Big wins and exceptional finishes for many Georgia sports teams capped off a great weekend for the Dawg people! Go Dawgs!!