T&F: SEC Outdoor Championships Begin Today in Fayetteville

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T&F: SEC Outdoor Championships Begin Today in Fayetteville

Kayla Smith
Kayla Smith

Members of the Bulldog track and field program traveled to Fayetteville, Ark., on Wednesday in preparation for the Southeastern Conference Outdoor Championships, which will be run at John McDonnell Field from Thursday through Saturday.

The Georgia women and Bulldog men will be back competing at the conference level for the first time since both taking seventh at this year’s SEC indoor meet, also held on the University of Arkansas campus in late February.  

UGA’s last trip to the Arkansas outdoor facility was for the 2009 NCAA Championships.  The last time the Bulldogs competed at the Razorbacks’ home for the SEC Outdoor Championships was in 2006.  The Georgia women completed the indoor-outdoor sweep during that visit after winning the SEC indoor crown in Gainesville, Fla., that year.

Ten combined top-10 teams will be battling each other at the SEC meet, including second-ranked LSU on the men’s side and No. 1 Arkansas in the women’s poll.  The Georgia men are 15thin the latest U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) poll while the Lady Bulldogs are 19th.

When Do The Bulldogs Start Competition?Senior Denzel Comenentia will attempt to become just the fourth competitor in SEC history to win three conference hammer throw titles (third to win three in a row) beginning at 1 p.m. on Thursday.  

Two Bulldog decathletes – freshmen Karel Tilga and Ziggy Zoller – will start their first of 10 events with the 100-meter dash at 3 p.m. on the first day.  They will complete four more events (long jump, shot put, high jump, 400m) on Thursday before wrapping up the final five events on Friday.

Freshman Sterling Lester will begin her first SEC heptathlon at 3:20 p.m. with the 100m hurdles.  Lester and the rest of the field will also complete the high jump, shot put and 200m during the meet’s first day.

Another freshman, Clay Pender, will start Georgia’s action on the track in the men’s 800m prelims at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday.

Where To Catch The SEC Championships: The SEC meet will air on SEC Network+ for the first two days of competition.  Saturday’s action will be live on the SEC Network starting at 6 p.m.  The broadcast talent includes Dwight Stones (play-by-play), Larra Overton and Jill Montgomery (analysts) and John Anderson (sideline).

Kyprianou’s Comments: “We are ready to head to Arkansas and jumpstart the postseason while trying to capitalize on some youngsters’ performances who appear to be very promising for reaching our main goal, which is having success at the NCAA Championships,” said fourth-year head coach Petros Kyprianou.  “Every time you compete at SECs, the pride and competitive juices are extremely high and we are eager to enter that mode.  Our student-athletes, while finishing up their finals, are starting to get focused on the big picture like we have preached to them all year long. 

“We are expecting bad weather in Fayetteville but we will get our warm clothes and rain gear and go head to head with some of the best in the world.  All in all, it is our favorite time of the year and we want to close our season on a high note, especially a month from now!  Go Dawgs!”

What Bulldogs Are Competing: Seniors Mady Fagan, Grace Tavani, Hailey Branch, Hayden Merrick, Comenentia, Keenon Laine, Michael Nicholls, Jonathan Raines, Daniel Navarro, Jonathan Pelham, juniors Amber Tanner, Micaiah Ransby, Kayla Smith, Marie-Therese Obst, Ansley Heavern, Jessica Drop, Darius Carbin, sophomores Aliyah Whisby, Chelsea Zoller, Halle McClintock, Michael Hans, Antonios Merlos, Johannes Erm, Justes Nance and freshmen Imani Carothers, Lester, Titiana Marsh, Emma Rose Bagwell, Courtney Long, Sakari Famous, Sam Bowers, Tilga, Pender and Ziggy Zoller are slated to compete over the weekend.

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