Georgia’s track and field teams set two school records, established a fresh national leader and captured seven top collegiate finishes during the opening day of the Spec Towns Invitational in Athens, Ga., on Friday.
Sophomore Jasmine Moore soared a school record distance of 22 feet, 5 inches (0.4 wind) on her opening try in the long jump to be the top collegiate finisher and second overall. This performance edged Lady Bulldog legend Keturah Orji (22-4.25, 2018) for the school record, shot Moore to No. 2 on the current national list with an Olympic standard mark and made her the No. 10 all-time collegiate performer with the world’s sixth-best effort this year.
Another Georgia legend, former NCAA heptathlete champion Kendell Williams, won the long jump with a mark of 22-11.75, which is No. 4 on the current world list. Former Lady Bulldog national champion Chanice Porter was third at 22-2.50 to also break into the world’s top six this year.
In addition in the long jump, junior Titiana Marsh completed her series with 21-3.50 to take fourth. This mark moves her to No. 8 on the national list and ties her at No. 10 on the Lady Bulldogs’ all-time top-10 list.
Senior Marie-Therese Obst continued her string of high-level consistency by besting her own school record with a new national leader in the javelin. Obst saved her best effort for her finale by going 201-4, which passed her former school record of 201-1, improved her national lead and earned her the No. 7 spot on the 2021 world list.
Junior Karel Tilga left his former day one personal best in the decathlon of 4,087 far behind with a 4,355 on Friday through five of 10 events. Tilga stands in second overall behind former Bulldog All-American Garrett Scantling (4,406 points) in the 10-event competition.
On the women’s side, sophomore Anna Hall won two of four events during the heptathlon’s first day and is in the overall lead with 3,712 points over teammate graduate transfer Asya Reynolds (3,410). Hall highlighted her day one performance after clearing 6 feet, 2 inches in the high jump, which is tied for second nationally and ranks No. 6 in school history.
When Do The Bulldogs Start: Tilga and Garland are scheduled to start day two in the decathlon 110m hurdles at 10:30 a.m. ET and the discus, pole vault, javelin and 1500m will follow. Hall will begin to knock out the final three events of the heptathlon (long jump, javelin, 800m) at 12 p.m.
Sophomore Mia Anderson begins the women’s shot put at 11 a.m. to start the open events on Saturday. The first male competitors in the open events for the Bulldogs will be graduate transfer Jonathan Tharaldsen and sophomore Gavin Beverage in the shot put at 12:30 p.m.
Due to current COVID-19 protocols, only pass-list guests will be allowed in the Spec Towns Track facility for the meet.
Live Stream: ESPN will live stream the meet. Below is the link for day two:
Saturday – http://gado.gs/6sa
Live Results: For live results of the Spec Towns Invite, please visit: http://gado.gs/6sb
Kyprianou’s Comments: “We had some tremendous marks today, from Olympic qualifying marks to NCAA leading performances to school records,” said Bulldog head coach Petros Kyprianou. “The highlight has to be Jasmine Moore’s showing in the long jump. She hit the Olympic standard and broke a really tough school record held by an Olympian. I am really happy for Jasmine. Right up there too was Titiana Marsh hitting a new personal best and moving up in the school record books in the same event. The great former Dawg Kendell Williams was also sensational, hitting an Olympic standard and going the world’s third-longest distance this year as a heptathlete. The guys in the decathlon put up some monster scores in the decathlon with Karel Tilga going over 4,300 points on day one. Tilga put himself in position to hit the Olympic standard and represent his home country of Estonia along with former Bulldog Maicel Uibo and current decathlete Johannes Erm.
“Beyond that, I am really proud of Marie in the javelin showing tremendous consistency and showing she’s a big-time player in the NCAA and potentially making her Olympic team in Norway. Matthew Boling also had a phenomenal opener in the long jump and shooting up to near the top of the list in the NCAA. We are looking forward to seeing what (Matthew) can do in the 100-meter dash on Saturday. Anna Hall and Asya Reynolds are also doing some good stuff in the heptathlon and Anna is on target to score over 6,100 points. I am really happy with the effort and fight showing that this is a national championship caliber team year in and year out.”
On top of the top collegiate finishes by Moore and Obst, senior Kayla Smith won the women’s pole vault, Boling grabbed top honors in the men’s long jump, junior Elija Godwin finished first in the men’s 200m, sophomore Caleb Cavanaugh crossed the finish line first in the 400m hurdles and freshman Charlotte Williams rounded out day one with an outright win in the women’s hammer throw.
Smith, a graduate in her sixth year with Georgia, became one of nine women nationwide to hit at least 14 feet in the pole vault during her second victory of the season. She went over the bar at 14-1.25 on her opening attempt and then made three unsuccessful attempts at 14-7.25, which would have been a school record.
Boling, a Houston, Texas, native, made his outdoor collegiate debut and did not disappoint in the long jump. Opening with a foul, Boling took the lead on his second try at 25-8. Arkansas State’s Carter Shell momentarily moved into first place with an effort of 26-1.50. However, Boling’s next mark of 26-2.75 locked down the victory on his next attempt. He eventually worked up to a mark of 26-3.75 on his final try, which leads the SEC and is No. 3 nationally and No. 2 in the school record books as the top performance for UGA since 1994 (Marcus Bailey, school record 26-5.50).
Fresh off First Team All-America honors in the indoor 4x400m relay, junior Elija Godwin sped to a win in the 200m with a 20.53. This is the seventh-fastest time in school history and puts him 12th on the national list.
Cavanaugh, who joined Godwin and Boling on the All-American relay team, finished first in his collegiate debut of the 400m hurdles. Cavanaugh registered a time of 52.74 to complete his lap with the fastest time.
Williams surged into the lead at 187-10 on her first attempt in the hammer and never looked back. She eventually improved to 193-2 on her fourth try and edged Eastern Michigan’s Kadian Clarke (187-7) for the win. Sophomore Mia Anderson had a personal record of 171-6 and finished fourth in just her third collegiate meet in the event.
Junior Alejandro Collins improved for the second consecutive meet, hitting 195-9 for third place in the javelin. Also taking third in the hammer throw was junior Alencar Pereira, who reached 212-3 on his opening toss.
Known for their dominance in the multi-events, both Hall and Tilga are in position to post big scores in the heptathlon and decathlon, respectively, after day one personal bests.
Asya Reynolds is in second overall after going 13.94 in the 100m hurdles, 5-3.25 in the high jump, 42-4.25 in the shot put and 24.27 in the 200m.
Hall began her first collegiate outdoor combined events competition by taking second in the 100m hurdles behind Kendell Williams. Hall clocked a 13.64 for 1,030 points and trailed Williams by 79 points. Hall did not disappoint in her featured event with a 6-2 clearance in the high jump to win by nearly a foot. Starting with four first attempt clearances, Hall cleared her final height on her last try for 1,080 points and moved into the overall lead.
Hall slipped in the shot put after taking fifth with a top effort of 36-11.75 for 613 points, but still held the lead. She wrapped up her opening day by winning the 200m with a time of 23.91 for 989 points. Thanks to her finish, Hall held more than a 300-point lead going into day two with 3,712 points.
Tilga began his day by taking fifth in the decathlon 100m thanks to an 11.13 for 832 points. His string of personal bests began in the long jump as the Tartu, Estonia, native popped a winning effort of 25-2.75 on his first attempt, which scored him 982 points and improved his spot to No. 4 in the overall standings.
Tilga launched his second attempt in the shot put 50-3.25 to finish second and add another 809 points. This crept him into third place overall. In the high jump, Tilga started with five first attempt clearances before working up to a second try clearance at a personal record of 6-10.75. He scored 896 points with his second-place finish in the event and remained in third (seven points from second).
The decathlon’s finale on Friday was the 400m and Tilga managed yet another personal best. He finished in 49.53 to tally 836 points and scooted into second place as the day ended with 4,355 points behind Scantling.