T&F: Georgia Wins Two National Titles

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T&F: Georgia Wins Two National Titles

Georgia’s Marie-Therese Obst during the Spec Towns Invitational at the Spec Towns Track in Athens, Ga., on Friday, April 9, 2021. (Photo by Rob Davis)

Senior Marie-Therese Obst (javelin) and junior Karel Tilga (decathlon) collected national titles in their respective events during the second day at the NCAA Outdoor Championships in Eugene, Ore., on Thursday.

The fourth-ranked Georgia women are leading with 20 points through six of 21 scored events.  Oregon (14), Arkansas (13), North Dakota State (13) and Ohio State (13) round out the top five.  LSU (24) is leading the men’s side through seven of 21 events and Texas (17), Mississippi State (17), Kansas (13.5) and Michigan (13) make up the rest of the top five.  The Bulldog men are in a seven-way tie for seventh place with 10 points.





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.

Georgia also had an additional duo of scorers.  Sophomore Jasmine Moore shot 21 feet, 10 inches on her fifth of six tries in the long jump to improve her finish at the 2021 NCAA indoor meet by five spots to earn a bronze medal.  Senior Kayla Smith scored for the second time in her outdoor career and first time since 2017 by taking fifth in the pole vault for another expected First Team All-America certificate.

Obst, a native of Oslo, Norway, put down a dominant six-throw series in the javelin and managed to tally nearly a six-foot victory.  Fifteenth at the 2018 NCAA meet, Obst becomes the fourth Lady Bulldog to win an NCAA javelin title and first since Freya Jones left Eugene with one as a freshman in 2013.  With this being Obst’s final collegiate meet, she finishes as the collegiate No. 4 all-time collegiate performer in her event and will now continue to battle at international meets for a spot in the 2021 Olympics.





Georgia’s Karel Tilga during the Spec Towns Invitational at the Spec Towns Track in Athens, Ga., on Saturday, April 10, 2021. (Photo by Rob Davis)

Tilga scored the second-best total of his career (8,261 points) in just his fourth collegiate decathlon to capture the crown.  This marks Georgia’s second NCAA decathlon title in a row after Johannes Erm collected the 2019 championship (2020 outdoor season was canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic).  

A native of Tartu, Estonia, Tilga becomes the third competitor in history to sweep the combined events at NCAAs in the same year after he edged teammate Kyle Garland for the national heptathlon championship in March.  Tilga came into the meet as the national leader and his performance featured four combined event personal records.  While Michigan’s Ayden Owens won the final event (1500 meters), Tilga locked down a 147-point victory over Owens thanks to his complete two-day performance.

Unlike their teammates, Tilga and graduate transfer heptathlete Asya Reynolds, who starts her two-day competition on Friday, advanced to the NCAA Championships from their national rankings and did not have to compete at the NCAA East Prelims two weeks ago.

Georgia had a single qualifier with its only entry in a running event on the meet’s second day.  Senior Amber Tanner ran out of the first heat in the 800m semifinal and won to automatically qualify for her first NCAA outdoor final in the event.

Three other Bulldog entries also qualified for running finals on Wednesday and will compete on Friday.  The Bulldog quartet in the 4x100m relay along with sophomore Matthew Boling in the 100m and in the 200m.

When Do The Bulldogs Start Day 3: Reynolds is scheduled to start the heptathlon 100m hurdles at 3 p.m. ET and the high jump, shot put and 200m will follow on Friday. 

The 4x100m relay team is the first competitors on the men’s second day at 8:02 p.m.

Where To Catch The NCAAs: ESPN has exclusive rights to broadcast the meet and will feature the Nationals on a variety of platforms:

Friday: 3-10:30 p.m., ESPN3; 8-10:30 p.m., ESPN2

Saturday: 2-8:30 p.m., ESPN3; 6-8:30 p.m., ESPNU

Live Results:To check out live results throughout the four-day season finale, please check: http://gado.gs/75t

The Lowdown: Obst, who did not make it out of the NCAA East Prelims in 2019 and was unable to compete in 2020 because of the pandemic, wrapped up a sensational senior season with her victory.  Not counting the qualifying Prelims, Obst was 7-0 in the javelin this season, including her SEC title a month ago.  On Thursday, Arizona State’s Alizee Minard made a statement with an opening toss of 190 feet to set the competition’s tone and take an early lead.  However, Obst overtook Minard on her second try (191-10) and then posted another pair of throws measuring over 190 feet, including her winning toss of 195-10 in the fifth round.

Starting Thursday 124 points up in the decathlon, Tilga trailed by one point following day two’s first event, the 100m hurdles, which represented the competition’s sixth of 10 events.  Tilga was second in the fifth heat and 16th overall after running a 15.20.  In the discus, Tilga approached his personal record with a second toss of 152-5 for 797 points.  This put him third in the event and back into the overall lead by 70 points with the pole vault up next.

Tilga had a pair of clearances in the pole vault and finished with a mark of 14-9.50 for 763 points.  Following this eighth event, he still had an edge headed into the ninth event of 10 points.  Tilga started with this best mark in the javelin, a toss of 207 feet that scored him 785 points, and followed with a pair of fouls.  Going into the 1500m finale, Tilga held a 210-point lead over Owens.

In the last battle of the decathlon, Tilga completed his 10 events by running a 4:35.77 in the 1500m to tally his final 707 points.

Moore, a native of Grand Prairie, Texas, made her way to the infield for the first of two times this week and left this time with a bronze medal.  Answering two opening fouls with a leading jump of 21-8.25, Moore eventually worked up to a toss of 21-10 on her fifth try.  This scored the Lady Bulldogs their first six points of the meet and .  Moore will return to the track on Saturday in the triple jump, an event that she is ranked second nationally.

Smith, a native of Indianapolis, Ind., entered in at 13-3.50 and after clearing the height on her first try, she had second attempt clearances at 13-9.25 and 14-1.25 on her second attempts.  Smith’s last collegiate clearance was a third attempt of 14-3.25 to finish fifth.  Tying for eighth at the 2017 NCAA Outdoor Championships, Smith fought through six surgeries over her six-year career to finish as a four-time All-American.

Tanner, a native of Brentwood, Tenn., ran the third 2:01 of her outdoor career (2:01.82) to win her heat to qualify automatically and have the fastest overall qualifying time.  Staying near the front of a loaded pack on the first lap, Tanner overtook the leader on the final backstretch and won by nearly half a second.

Tanner will race in the 800m final on Saturday at 7:14 p.m.

Marsh joined Moore in the long jump and will again compete with her teammate in the triple jump on Saturday.  In the long, Marsh had a top mark of 20-3.75 on her second try to finish 17th overall.





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