The Georgia men and women’s track & field teams are boasting preseason rankings in the country’s top 11, according to the first U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) poll of the year.
The Lady Bulldogs are one of a nationally leading eight teams from the Southeastern Conference in the top 25 and one of three league teams in the top four. Georgia is ranked fourth behind Oregon, Texas A&M and Florida in that order.
The Bulldogs are holding down the No. 11 spot in the men’s preseason rankings. All six ranked SEC teams are ranked 13th or better as the indoor season gets into gear.
This marks head coach Wayne Norton’s 16th year guiding Georgia’s track & field teams. The Howard graduate has led the Bulldog men and women to 11 top-10 and 25 top-20 team finishes at the indoor and outdoor NCAA Championships since taking over the program’s leadership in 2000.
Last year, the Lady Bulldogs scored the most points in history at indoor Nationals (40.5) to tie for third after taking fifth at the 2014 SEC Indoor Championships. Five of the six scorers at the NCAA meet return for Georgia, including high jump national champion Leontia Kallenou and pentathlon national champion and collegiate record holder Kendell Williams.
The Georgia men tied for 26th at last year’s NCAA Indoor Championships and were sixth at the SEC meet. Maicel Uibo returns for his junior season after taking second in the heptathlon at NCAAs while Nick Vena, who was one spot out of scoring at Nationals in ninth, will be back competing in the shot put.
In addition, Garrett Scantling is back in the lineup after redshirting the 2014 indoor season. Scantling won the 2013 SEC heptathlon crown and was third at that year’s NCAA Championships indoors. Outdoors in 2014, Scantling was the runner-up in the decathlon at SEC Indoors and took fourth after 10 events at the NCAA meet.
The Bulldogs open their indoor season at the Auburn Invitational in Birmingham, Ala., on Saturday, January 17. Georgia starts its outdoor campaign at home in Athens with the Georgia Relays/Combined Events on March 18-21.