Georgia’s track and field teams added another pair of individual champions to accompany another trio of school records as the Southeastern Conference Outdoor Championships wrapped up in College Station, Texas, on Saturday.
The Lady Bulldogs ended the weekend in fifth place with 64 points with Arkansas (127), LSU (120.5), Alabama (116) and Texas A&M (82) making up the top four. The Georgia men wrapped up the meet in eighth place with 48 points. Arkansas (129), Alabama (109), LSU (108), Florida (74) and Kentucky (70) were the top five finishers.
The Bulldogs leave Texas A&M with four SEC individual championships (women’s javelin, decathlon, women’s 800m, women’s triple jump), five school records (women’s pole vault, men’s 400m, men’s 4x100m relay, men’s 200m, men’s 400m) and had 20 Bulldog scorers.
On the meet’s last day, the Bulldogs had 11 scorers, three school records and two titles. Sophomore Jasmine Moore pushed her outdoor record in the triple jump to 3-0 and secured her third league crown in the event (first outdoors) with an Olympic standard mark and wind-legal effort. Also in the triple, junior Titiana Marsh rocketed to fourth on her final jump, which is No. 4 on this country’s performance list.
Senior Amber Tanner, who was second in the 800m at the 2019 SEC Outdoor Championships, accomplished the same feat that she did at the 2020 SEC indoor meet by winning the 800m in convincing fashion.
Also in the 800m final, Anna Marian Block snuck in a point after crossing the line in 2:12.20.
With Arian Smith as the leadoff, Elija Godwin, Delano Dunkley and Matthew Boling rounded out the Bulldogs’ 4x100m relay team that obliterated a four-year-old school record to take second in the final.
Boling’s finale at his first SEC outdoor meet delivered him his first Bulldog outdoor record and a bronze medal in the 200m with a wind-legal finish.
Godwin returned to the track in the 400m final and left the school record he established on Friday far behind for a bronze medal thanks to an Olympic standard time.
Boling made his second appearance on the track Saturday in the 100m final and did not
disappoint with a wind-aided (+3.2 meters/second) 9.97 to collect a silver medal while Smith also scored in the event.
Sophomore Shelby Tyler used two clearances in the high jump to take seventh and add another pair of points to the Lady Bulldogs’ total.
In the 21st of 21 events on the women’s side, Chelsea Zoller, Julia Hall, Destiny Jackson and Amber Tanner scored their team’s final point with an eighth-place finish in the 4x400m relay.
Kyprianou’s Comments: “What an outstanding day the Dawgs had with some world-class performances that are really going to make some serious noise come the NCAA Championships and the Olympic Trials,” said Bulldog head coach Petros Kyprianou. “The highlights of the day are the SEC champions in Jasmine Moore and her massive triple jump that gave her not only the win, but the desirable Olympic standard at only age 20. She also became the highest scorer for the women’s team at this meet. Amber Tanner showed that she will be a force to be reckoned with in the 800m at NCAAs. Elija (Godwin) was the top moment in the sprints after hitting the Olympic standard. Matt Boling had a tremendous meet and was our highest scorer in the men’s side with some very fast times! I am very proud of our 4x100m school record and how these guys ran with a football player in Arian (Smith), who also scored in the open 100. Overall, this was a weekend that sets our team up for a very fun and productive national meet. Now on to NCAA Prelims as we try to get as many Dawgs through to Eugene.”
The Lowdown: Moore, a native of Grand Prairie, Texas, took off on her opening attempt in the triple jump for a personal-best mark of 47-2.50, which bettered her No. 2 mark on the NCAA performance list and in the UGA record books. More importantly, it locked down her first SEC outdoor crown and delivered her an Olympic standard in the event after she had already finished with a bronze in the long jump. Moore joins former Lady Bulldog Keturah Orji as two of three Americans who have the Olympic standard in the triple jump.
Marsh relocated herself from seventh to fourth in the competition with her career-best mark in the sixth round. She went 45-4.50, which would have been No. 3 in the school record books if not for a +3.3 wind.
Tanner has now completed three 800m races this season, winning all of them and setting a school record earlier this year at the Tom Jones Memorial. The Brentwood, Tenn., who tried the hurdles and multi-events at UGA before settling on the half mile blew past the second-place finisher by more than two seconds thanks to her 2:02.94. This represented the second-fastest time in Tanner’s career and is the second 800m outdoor title in school history (Mary McClung, 1995). Block boosted Georgia’s point total to 11 in the event after managing an eighth-place finish.
Smith, Godwin, Dunkley and Boling ran their first 4x100m relay as a team and finished with the fastest time (39.02) in school history. Only LSU at 38.87 finished in front of the Bulldogs as UGA passed their 39.21 finish from the 2017 Spec Towns Invitational. Georgia’s time would rank seventh on the national list at the weekend’s start.
In a showdown of the country’s top performers in the 200m, Boling did not disappoint as he improved from his 20.27 in the prelims to a school record 20.06 in the final for third place. Boling’s time would rank third on the current NCAA list coming into the weekend and took over the No. 1 spot in the school record books previously held by the great Mel Lattany (20.14) from the 1979 SEC Championships.
After missing out in the 400m final at the 2021 SEC Indoor Championships, Godwin, a native of Covington, Ga., shot out of the blocks in Saturday’s final and finished with the country’s fifth-fastest time coming into the weekend. Godwin came around the final turn in the lead and held on to third place with a 44.61. This effort dropped his former record of 45.21 from Friday off of the top of the Bulldog list and slipped within the Olympic Standard limit of 44.70.
Boling made his way back on the track for the 100m final along with Smith. While the winner registered a 9.80, Boling finished right behind with a 9.97, which tops his wind-aided personal best of 9.98 from his time at Strait Jesuit High School in Houston, Texas. This was only Boling’s fourth collegiate 100m after matching his legal personal best of 10.21 in the prelims.
Tyler went over the high jump bar safely at 5-7 on her first try and then cleared 5-8.75 on her opening attempt to break into the competition’s top eight.
Smith, who racing in only his third collegiate race (all this weekend) and only his second 100m, managed to add a point with an eighth-place finish thanks to his 10.18.
The Lady Bulldog quartet of Zoller, Hall, Jackson and Tanner completed their four laps in 3:37.39 to get in the scoring column one final time for the Georgia women.
In one of the final events of the day, junior Sam Bowers finished just two spots away from scoring with a 10th-place finish (14:23.08) in the 5000m.
Labo Oke, who was honored in Athens over the weekend for earning his Biochemistry and Molecular Biology degree, hit a personal record of 50-6.25 between two fouls in the triple jump to take 14th. Oke did have a 3.0 meters per second wind behind him on his top effort.
Junior Karel Tilga, who started the weekend by finishing sixth in the javelin and registered a personal record of 15.13 in the 110m hurdles to take 15th, had the second-best discus performance of his career at 157-8 to take 17th in the open event on Saturday. Tilga will line up as the nation’s leader in the decathlon when the NCAA Championships arrive.
Up Next: The Bulldogs will recover and train through next weekend before those who have qualified will travel to Jacksonville, Fla., for the NCAA East Prelims on May 27-29. Then, those who advance will move on to the NCAA Championships in Eugene, Ore., on June 9-12.