The sixth-ranked Georgia women and 16th-ranked Bulldog men traveled to College Station, Texas, on Wednesday in preparation for the Southeastern Conference Outdoor Championships at the E.B. Cushing Stadium scheduled for Thursday through Saturday.
When Do The Bulldogs Start?: Junior Alencar Pereira begins the action in the men’s hammer throw at 1 p.m. ET on Thursday. Redshirt sophomore Kyle Garlands and junior Ziggy Zoller start the decathlon competition for Georgia with the 100-meter dash at 3 p.m. on the first day followed by the long jump, shot put, high jump and 400m. Sophomore Anna hall and graduate transfer Asya Reynolds being their heptathlon with the 100m hurdles at 3:20 p.m. followed by the high jump, shot put and 200m. The first event on the track for the Bulldogs is the 800m prelims with junior Clay Pender slated to run at 7:30 p.m.
The Bulldogs last competed in the postseason outdoors in 2019 after Georgia’s 2020 seasons ended unexpectedly following last year’s SEC indoor meet because of the COVID-19 pandemic. After traveling to Albuquerque, N.M., for 2020 NCAA Indoor Championships, the meet was canceled a day before the action began. The outdoor season was later canceled as well because of the pandemic.
Tickets for the SEC Championships are available up to 50 percent capacity of the facility. All guests will be required to wear a face covering and mask.
Who Is Ranked In The SEC?: A total of 17 SEC men and women’s track and field programs are included in the latest U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) top 25 national rankings released Monday, including nine in the top 10. A nation-leading eight SEC men’s teams are ranked: No. 1 LSU, No. 8 Florida, No. 10 Texas A&M, No. 11 Alabama, No. 13 Arkansas, No. 14 Tennessee, No. 16 Georgia and No. 18 Kentucky.
A nation-best nine SEC women’s teams are also ranked in the top 25: No. 1 LSU, No. 2 Arkansas, No. 3 Texas A&M, No. 6 Georgia, No. 7 Alabama, No. 10 Florida, No. 18 Auburn, No. 23 Kentucky and No. 25 South Carolina.
Where To Catch The SEC Championships: The ESPN broadcast talent includes Dwight Stones, Dan O’Brien, John Anderson and Jill Montgomery during the meet coverage.
SEC Network+ info:
Thursday, May 13 (6:40 p.m. ET – 10:30 p.m.)
Friday, May 14 (5:35 p.m. – 10:30 p.m.)
SEC Network info:
Saturday, May 15 (6 p.m. – 10 p.m.)
Live Results: For results throughout the weekend, please visit: http://gado.gs/6zf
Kyprianou’s Comments: “The beginning of the Championship season signals the real ‘go time’ for the Dawgs as this has been our favorite time of the year as long as I can remember,” said sixth-year head coach Petros Kyprianou. “The satisfaction of completing finals week along with some rest and recovery add some spice to our young men and women’s desire for glory at the NCAA Championships. The SEC Championships presents a preview of the NCAAs at a very nice Texas A&M facility. We are looking forward to some great performances along with potential Olympic Trials qualifying, which matches our mission of qualifying as many student-athletes to Nationals as possible. We will be resting or modifying some of the entries during SECs so we can be fresher and maximize our potential as a team at NCAAs. This has been the blueprint of this team the last six seasons and this year is no different. We will jump-start our Championship season in College Station with our vision locked in toward Eugene! Go Dawgs!”
What Bulldogs Are Competing?: For the Lady Bulldogs, graduate transfers Julia Hall, Reynolds, seniors Jessica Drop, Samantha Drop, Destiny Jackson, Halle McClintock, Kayla Smith, Marie-Therese Obst, Amber Tanner, Chelsea Zoller, juniors Anna Marian Block, Imani Carothers, Sakari Famous, Titiana Marsh, sophomores Sara Bailey, Hall, Jasmine Moore, Kaeli Thompson, Shelby Tyler, redshirt freshmen Mia Anderson, Grace Jauch and freshman Charlotte Williams traveled for SECs.
On the men’s side, graduate transfer Jonathan Tharaldsen, seniors Delano Dunkley, Michael Hans, Ahmed Magour, Justes Nance, Darius Carbin, juniors Elija Godwin, Labo Oke, Pereira, Alec Collins, redshirt sophomores Garland, Pender, Zoller, Nicholas Yanek, sophomores Matthew Boling, Sam Bowers, Caleb Cavanaugh, Wesley John, Karel Tilga, Gavin Beverage and freshman Arian Smith will represent Georgia.
Top-10 Bulldogs Abound: The Bulldogs have nine individuals who are ranked in the top 10 nationally in a 10 different events (SEC rankings also listed).
For the men:
Long jump – 7th – Boling (26-3.75) *4th in SEC
Shot put – 8th – Tharaldsen (65-7) *1st in SEC
Decathlon – 1st – Tilga (8,484 pts.) *1st in SEC
For the women:
800m – 4th – Tanner (2:01.36) *2nd in SEC
High jump – 4th – Hall (6-2) *4th in SEC
Pole vault – 3rd – K. Smith (14-8.25) *3rd in SEC
Long jump – 2nd – Moore (22-5) *1st in SEC
Triple jump – 2nd – Moore (46-10) *1st in SEC
Triple jump – 7th – Marsh (44-8) *4th in SEC
Javelin – 1st – Obst (201-4) *1st in SEC
Heptathlon – 2nd – Hall (6,200 pts.) *2nd in SEC
Bulldogs Vying For Bowerman: The Bowerman, which is presented annually by the USTFCCCA to the most outstanding male and female NCAA track and field student-athletes in the nation, announced its 2021 Pre-Conference Championships Watch Lists. Marie-Therese Obst was featured for the Georgia women and Karel Tilga for the Bulldog men. Collegiate record holder Keturah Orji brought home the 2018 Bowerman for the Lady Bulldogs.
- Obst, a native of Oslo, Norway, is 5-0 this season in the javelin and has set the school record three times. The USTFCCCA National Women’s Athlete of the Week has been named the SEC Women’s Field Athlete of the Week three times in 2021. Obst leads the nation and is the No. 4 all-time collegiate performer with a mark of 201-4, which is two feet and nine inches from the collegiate record (Maggie Malone, 2016). She is currently ranked 12th nationally and is trying to become the fourth Lady Bulldog in history to win an NCAA javelin title and first since 2013 (Freya Jones).
- Tilga, a native of Tartu, Estonia, exploded for a school record 8,484 points to win the Spec Towns Invitational decathlon. He is the No. 2 all-time collegiate performer with the No. 2 all-time collegiate performance (trails only Texas A&M’s Lindon Victor, 8,539, 2017) and is currently the world leader. Tilga, who was the USTFCCCA National Men’s Athlete of the Week and the SEC Men’s Field Athlete of the Week after his record-setting performance, will be vying to become the fourth Estonian decathlete in Bulldog history to win a decathlon national championship and first since his fellow countryman Johannes Erm captured the 2019 title.
Also of note: Matthew Boling is receiving votes on the men’s list as well.
A Glimpse At The 2019 SEC Championships: With the 2020 outdoor season canceled, the Bulldogs last competed at an SEC Outdoor Championships in 2019. That year, the men were ninth with 43 points and the women took 10th with 42.5 points. Tanner held off the nearest competitor in the 800m by .22 for runner-up honors, Jessica Drop was third in the 5000m and Kayla Smith managed to tie for fourth in the pole vault to highlight the Lady Bulldog scorers, all of whom are returners. On the men’s side, Denzel Comenentia won the shot put and earned silver medal honors in the discus and hammer throw to win his second straight Commissioner’s Trophy at the SEC outdoor meet as the event’s top scorer on the men’s side. Tilga was also second in the decathlon. This season, Tilga will be competing in the open javelin, 110m hurdles and discus at SECs as he readies for the decathlon at NCAAs.
What’s Next For The Bulldogs?: After the SEC meet, the Bulldogs will train through the next weekend before traveling to Jacksonville for the NCAA East Prelims (May 27-29). The NCAA Championships will arrive in Eugene, Ore., for the first time since 2018. That year, the Bulldog men captured the team national championship in the last meet before Hayward Field was renovated.
Speaking of Oregon’s facility, the U.S. Olympic Trials will arrive at the same facility from June 17-27.