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T&F: UGA tallied their seventh top-10 finish out of the last nine years to end the women’s portion of the NCAA Outdoor Championships
The Georgia women tied with Tennessee for 10th with 19 points, while Texas (83), Florida (51) and Arkansas (46) comprised the top three finishers.
Sophomore Elena Kulichenko collected a bronze medal in the high jump after surpassing six feet for the sixth time this season to add six points to the Lady Bulldogs’ total late in the meet.
Two days after setting a school record in the 4×100-meter relay, Kaila Jackson, Autumn Wilson, Brandee Presley and Aaliyah Butler combined to lower that school record to 42.87 in the event final to take sixth. This marks the first time a Lady Bulldog 4x100m relay team has scored at outdoor Nationals since taking fifth in 2002.
Saturday also marked the final collegiate meet of fifth-year senior Titiana Marsh’s career. Marsh was a model of consistency in the program as she competed in her ninth NCAA indoor or outdoor meet. She took fifth in the triple jump for the second year in a row, breaking into the scoring column in the event at her third straight NCAA Outdoor Championships.
Other than the decathlon running Wednesday-Thursday and the heptathlon going Friday-Saturday, the meet is set up to be a men’s competition on Wednesday and Friday and a women’s competition on Thursday and Saturday.
Highlighted by freshman Will Sumner’s win in the 800m, the Bulldog men finished seventh on Friday with 28 points while Florida (57), Arkansas (53) and Stanford (44) made up the top three. This marked their sixth straight top-10 national outdoor finish.
In addition to Kulichenko in the high jump and the Lady Bulldog 4x100m relay team, Jackson (fourth – 100m), Marsh (fifth – triple jump) and Mikeisha Welcome (eighth – triple jump) scored.
The following Bulldogs also scored as the men’s portion of the meet wrapped up on Friday: Sumner (800m), Caleb Cavanaugh (sixth – 49.20), 4x400m relay of Christopher Morales Williams, Matthew Boling, Caleb Cavanauagh, Sumner (seventh – 3:03.22).
On Thursday, fifth-year senior Kyle Garland piled up 8,630 points (No. 3 all-time collegiate score) in the decathlon to earn a silver medal. Garland jumpstarted his second and final day of the dec by rocketing to a collegiate all-time best in the 110m hurdles with a personal best of 13.54. He now owns three out of the top four all-time collegiate scores.
Graduate transfer Marc Minichello scored for the second consecutive year in the javelin, taking fourth and giving the Bulldogs their first five points of the meet on Wednesday.
Results: To check out results throughout the four-day season finale, please check: http://gado.gs/ank
The Lowdown: Kulichenko, a native of Odintsovo, Russia, posted a pair of first-attempt clearances in the high jump before lifting her body over the bar at 1.87 meters/6 feet, 1 ½ inches on her second try. Following two misses at 1.90m/6-2.75, Kulichenko made the decision to raise the bar to 1.90m/6-2.75 for her third attempt with eventual champion Ball State Charity Griffin and came up short. This marks an eight-spot improvement for Kulichenko from her freshman showing in 2022.
The Georgia women started the fourth and final night of action off by leaving the fourth school record of the meet behind in the 4x100m relay. Featuring true freshmen on the first, second, and anchor legs and a recent graduate in Presley on the third leg, the Lady Bulldogs finished just .02 behind fifth-place Ohio State after finishing the season ranked eighth nationally.
Jackson took the Mike A. Myers Stadium track again in the 100m final and posted the top finish for a Lady Bulldog in the event since Debbie Ferguson, who was a four-time scorer in the 100m, including earning the 1998 title, was the runner-up in 1999. Racing out of lane eight, the Redford, Mich., native bolted out of the blocks for an early lead before hanging on for fourth place with a wind-aided 10.96 (+2.3) in a race that featured five sub-11 second finishers.
The Georgia women managed a duo of scorers in the triple jump to come away with another five points. Marsh traveled a season-best 13.67m/44-10.25 (wind +2.2) on her third attempt to hold off the sixth-place finisher by a half inch. Welcome, who already had an 11th and a ninth-place finish in the triple jump at this meet in the past on her resume, waited until only her second try to soar 13.62m/44-8.25 and score for the first time in her career with an eighth-place showing.
The meet concluded with Butler, Haley Tate, Presley, and Dominique Mustin competing in the 4x400m relay after setting a school record in the semifinal. The quartet ran a 3:30.55 to take ninth.
Up Next: Qualified current and former Bulldogs will next compete at the USATF Championships in Eugene, Ore., on July 6-9. This meet will serve as the qualifying event for the 2023 World Athletics Championships in Budapest, Hungary (Aug. 19-27).
Photo/Video Replay: 2022 National Championship Game – January 10, 2022 – Georgia 33, Alabama 18
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