Dawgs Ready for SEC Indoor Championships

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Dawgs Ready for SEC Indoor Championships

Photo by Elliott Hess
[break] Georgia’s top-10 ranked track and field teams arrived in Lexington, Ky., late Wednesday night as they prepare for the coming SEC Indoor Championships.

The second-ranked Lady Bulldogs and the seventh-ranked Georgia men, according to the latest U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) polls, will compete against the league’s other 13 schools in Kentucky’s Nutter Field House on Friday and Saturday.  Five SEC teams are ranked in the top 10 of both the men and women’s national polls.

“Because the other regular season meets have been so strong, so high-powered,” head coach Wayne Norton said.  “We have talked to the team about going out and not changing anything and just do what we do.  We don’t need miracles, we just need to do what we’ve been doing since January 17 and if we do that, good things will happen.

Norton is hoping his teams can have similar results to the Georgia swimming and diving team that won the SEC women’s team title last week.

“I’m going to steal a quote from (Bulldog swimming coach) Jack Bauerle,” Norton said.  “He said something like ‘sometimes you need to be in a war to know how to win a war.’  The SEC, for swimming and track, is a war and since the start of the season we have been in that war.  This meet is just a stepping stone to the NCAAs in another couple of weeks.”

The SEC Network + will provide live links for SEC Championships on Friday and Saturday.  Here is the broadcast info:
Friday – 3:50 p.m.-9 p.m.:  http://es.pn/1znNIkc
Saturday – 1:50 p.m.-6:30 p.m.:  http://es.pn/1BmaBtZ

The SEC meet will also air as part of a 90-minute show on ESPNU on Monday, March 9, beginning at 7:30 p.m.  The broadcast talent includes Dwight Stones (play-by-play), Larry Rawson (analyst) and Jill Montgomery (sideline reporter).

The SEC meet begins with the first event of the heptathlon on Friday morning at 10 a.m.  Juniors Garrett Scantling and Maicel Uibo and sophomore Devon Williams will represent the Bulldogs in the multi-events, starting with the 60-meter dash and ending Friday with the fourth of seven events, the high jump.

Scantling, who leads the nation (5,886 points), won the 2013 SEC title while Uibo, who is ranked second nationally (5,847), captured the 2014 conference heptathlon and decathlon championships.  Williams checks in at the No. 3 spot in the SEC and No. 10 nationally with 5,538 points.  All three Bulldogs scored the above totals at Kentucky earlier this year.

Shortly after the start of the heptathlon, sophomore Kendell Williams, senior Quintunya Chapman and freshman Aliyah Johnson will compete in the 60 hurdles at 10:15 a.m. to start the pentathlon and end the competition with the 800 later on Friday.  Williams was the runner-up at last year’s SECs before winning the NCAA crown with a collegiate record score of 4,635.  She is the current national leader after scoring the country’s second-best all-time collegiate pentathlon score of 4,609 earlier this year in Kentucky.

Chapman was eighth at the 2014 SEC Indoor Championships before earning First Team All-American honors in the heptathlon outdoors last year.  Johnson will be competing in just her second collegiate pentathlon.

The meet’s open events start at 1 p.m. on Friday with the women’s pole vault (Morgann Leleux, Georgia Stefanidi), women’s long jump (Chanice Porter, Keturah Orji) and men’s high jump.

Three Georgia team members return to the SEC indoor competition as defending champions.  Sophomore Leontia Kallenou swept the indoor and outdoor league and NCAA meets last year in the high jump, including a meet record of 6 feet, 2 ¾ inches at the 2014 SEC indoor meet.  Leleux captured her third SEC title (first indoors) in the pole vault last year and comes into this meet seeded second.

On the men’s side, Uibo bridged his 2014 SEC heptathlon into a runner-up finish at last year’s NCAA Championships with a school record score of 6,044 points.  Scantling redshirted last year’s indoor season.

The Georgia women finished sixth with 64.50 points at the 2014 SEC meet in College Station, Texas, while the Bulldog men scored 39 point and were sixth.  The Lady Bulldogs went on to score a program record 40.5 points to tie for third place at the 2014 NCAA Indoor Championships.  The Georgia men tied for 26th after Uibo scored eight points with a national runner-up finish in the heptathlon.

Full results and a recap from the SEC Indoor Championships will be located at georgiadogs.com.  Updates from this meet and throughout the season will be posted on Twitter at @UGA_XCTF.

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Greg is closing in on 15 years writing about and photographing UGA sports. While often wrong and/or out of focus, it has been a long, strange trip full of fun and new friends.