Lady Bulldog senior Marie-Therese Obst won the javelin crown as one of three Georgia scorers during day one of the Southeastern Conference Outdoor Championships in College Station, Texas, on Thursday.
The Georgia women scored 10 points on the first day with two of 21 events scored to put themselves in fourth while Alabama (19) has taken the early lead. The Bulldog men tallied five points for eighth place and Arkansas (22) is currently atop the leaderboard.
Obst, a native of Oslo, Norway, sent her opening attempt in the women’s javelin 187 feet, 11 inches to capture Georgia’s 13th SEC title in the event and first since 2012.
“I already knew in the warm-up that today was about who can manage the wind the best,” said Obst. “It was a pretty harsh headwind so I’m just glad I managed it somehow and got away with a win. That was the main goal and now it’s back to the lab and hope to throw further at Prelims and Nationals.”
Coming into the meet as the national leader in the decathlon, junior Karel Tilga will be competing in the javelin, 110-meter hurdles and discus at SECs. On Thursday, Tilga sent his second attempt 217-1 to finish sixth in the javelin and scored three points for the Bulldogs.
Junior Alencar Pereira worked up to a career best on Thursday during his first year with Georgia to move from eighth to seventh on his final toss in the hammer throw.
Three Bulldogs also qualified for running finals on Thursday evening. Senior Amber Tanner and junior Anna Marian Block (800m) and sophomore Matthew Boling (200m) advanced to the final round in their events.
In the multi-events, redshirt sophomore Kyle Garland, who is working to complete his first collegiate decathlon after redshirting in 2019 and not competing in 2020, has taken a commanding lead in the decathlon. Following five events, he has scored 4,377 points to put him at least 400 points in front of the other 14 competitors. One of those competitors, teammate Ziggy Zoller, was sixth at the 2019 SEC Outdoor Championships and is positioned in that spot again with 3,757 points.
Sophomore Anna Hall closed her final two events of the heptathlon with personal records to score a day one career-best tally (3,724) and sit in second place overall. Graduate transfer Asya Reynolds, who has done only a single heptathlon with the Lady Bulldogs but seven with Michigan State, had four UGA career bests and sits in sixth overall (3,531), positioning herself only 13 points behind fifth place.
When Do The Bulldogs Start Day 2: Garland and Zoller are scheduled to start day two in the decathlon 110m hurdles at 2:45 p.m. ET and the discus, pole vault, javelin and 1500m will follow. Hall and Reynolds will begin to knock out the final three events of the heptathlon (long jump, javelin, 800m) at 3:35 p.m.
Sophomore Mia Anderson and freshman Charlotte Williams begins the women’s hammer throw at 3 p.m. to start the open events on Saturday. Georgia’s first event on the track during day two will be Tilga running the open 110m hurdle prelims at 7 p.m.
Live Stream: ESPN will live stream the meet. Below is the link for day two:
Friday – http://gado.gs/6zb
Saturday’s action will be televised on the SEC Network from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. The link for Saturday’s action is below:
Live Results: For live results of the SEC Championships, please visit: http://gado.gs/6zf
Kyprianou’s Comments: “Day one at SECs was a nice momentum starter for our young men and women,” said said Bulldog head coach Petros Kyprianou. “When you open the meet with an SEC champion in the javelin, you got to be feeling very confident for the postseason as a whole! Marie has been a breath of fresh air for our throws crew and showed she is the one to beat for the NCAA title. The combined event crew as usual are keeping the tradition strong and both Kyle (Garland) and Anna (Hall) are holding strong to challenge for the titles. Kyle is on pace for something extraordinary that only rivals his teammate (Karel) Tilga on the world list! Nice surprise is our newcomer Asya Reynolds setting up for a massive personal record score in the heptathlon that shows a score that will be in the top five nationally. Our ladies in the 800m took care of business and qualified along with Matthew in the 200m. Overall an outstanding day for the Dawgs!”
The Lowdown: Coming in as the national leader, Obst set the tone from her first try and edged Auburn’s Kylee Carter, who is ranked second in the NCAA, by three feet and five inches. This marked Obst’s sixth straight victory of the 2021 season as she will now ready for the NCAA East Prelims.
Despite four fouls to end the competition, Tilga lifted his second try in the javelin 217-1 and took sixth to score for his first of three opportunities on the weekend.
Pereira, a native of Brazil, opened at 217 feet and finished with the longest throw of his Bulldog career with a mark of 219-4 (his previous career best was 219-3). Pereira arrived to Georgia from Nebraska and scored the Bulldogs’ their first two points of the meet.
The Bulldogs also had three qualifiers on Thursday. Tanner, who captured the 2020 SEC indoor 800m title, had the top qualifying time in the 800m after winning the third heat at 2:05.18. Tanner’s victory was nearly a second ahead of the nearest competitor.
Block, who was racing at her first SEC outdoor meet, ran her first lap in 1:01.55 to surge into the lead in the first heat and ended up second to also automatically qualify for the 800m final. Block ran the second-fastest time of her career at 2:06.20 to be the fourth overall qualifier.
The Lady Bulldogs will race in the 800m final on Saturday at 7:55 p.m.
A season after winning this year’s NCAA indoor 200m, Boling cruised into the win in the fourth heat of the 200m prelims and was second overall. His personal record of 20.27 moved him from fifth to third on the school’s all-time list and into the No. 10 spot on this year’s national list.
Boling will take the track in the 200m final on Saturday at 8:25 p.m. He also is set to race in the 100m prelims at 9:10 p.m. on Friday.
Garland won the opening heat and finished second overall in the 100m to start the decathlon. He clocked a personal best 10.89 for 885 points as he works to complete his first collegiate dec. Garland returned in the long jump and sandwiched a career-long mark of 24-10.50 to score 955 points and set a facility record.
Garland tallied his second victory in the row as the shot put arrived. He again had his best performance on his second of three attempts after his mark measured 49-1.75 for 788 points. Approaching former Bulldog Maicel Uibo’s meet record in the dec high jump (7-1.75), Garland won the high jump after going over the bar at 7-1 on his second try for 953 points to extend his lead even further.
Garland concluded his day with a 50.40 in the 400m, which was sixth in the race and earned him 796 points. He managed to stay ahead of Auburn’s David Edmondson (3,953) by 424 headed into the final five events on Friday.
Zoller was third in Garland’s heat and sixth overall after trimming .01 off his time in the 100m from the 2019 SEC meet. Zoller crossed the finish line in 10.97 for 867 points. In the long jump, Zoller worked up to a personal-best try of 22-9 to add 797 to his total as he worked to complete his first decathlon of his collegiate career.
Zoller started his shot put series with the longest toss of his life at 40-4.75 to secure another 625 points. He secured 602 points with a 5-9.75 clearance in the high jump. Then, Zoller topped the field in the 400m to end the day with a 48.90. His final 866 points gave him a 32-point edge over the seventh-place competitor with the 110m hurdles set to start the day two events.
The heptathlon also began on the meet’s first day. Hall missed entering into the school’s all-time top-10 list by only .02 in the 100m hurdles with a personal record. She registered a 13.53 for 1,046 points to start in sixth place. In the high jump, Hall had a first attempt clearance at 5-9.75 to add 941 points to her total.
Hall made ground back up in the overall standings with a mammoth personal best in the shot put for 731 points. Starting with an effort of 41-5.25, which also would have been the best of her career, Hall followed with a mark of 42-10.25 to take second in the event and close the gap between the leader and second place overall.
Hall completed her half lap in the 200m with the fastest time of her career (23.74) to score her final 1,006 points of the day. With her performance, Hall closed to within 196 points of Texas A&M’s Tyra Gittens, who Hall topped for the 2021 SEC pentathlon crown indoors.
Reynolds matched Hall with a career best in the 100m hurdles after speeding to a 13.72 for 10th place and 1,018 points. Reynolds managed a second personal record when the high jump arrived, going 5-3.75 on her third and final attempt to score 759 points.
Reynolds, who has gone longer than 44 feet in the open shot, also had her top effort on her second try and won the event. She reached 43-10.50 to notch 752 points and crept into sixth place, trailing fifth by only 16 points. Reynolds wrapped up her first day by finishing one spot behind Hall in the 200m with a personal-best time of 23.78. This gave Reynolds 1,002 points as the Cleveland, Ohio, set herself up to fly past her previous career-high total set with the Spartans.
Also of note, senior Chelsea Zoller, who joins 11 other teammates at the meet who are receiving their degree from UGA this weekend, was 12th in the 400m hurdle prelims with the second-fastest time of her career (1:00.02).
Another pair of graduates, Nicholas Yanek and Samantha Drop, were ninth in their 10,000m races. Yanek registered a 30:17.46 after 25 laps while Drop completed the day with a 34:58.63.