Boasting top-10 national rankings all indoor season, the Bulldog track and field teams traveled to Fayetteville, Ark., on Wednesday in preparation for this weekend’s Southeastern Conference Championships.
Postseason Begins . . . : Georgia traveled 39 competitors to the University of Arkansas’ campus to compete at the Randal Tyson Track Center. Junior Kendell Williams, who is the defending SEC champion and two-time defending NCAA winner, and graduate transfer Xenia Rahn start the action in the pentathlon’s first event (60-meter hurdles) at 12 p.m. ET on Friday.
Four Bulldogs, who are all ranked in the country’s top 12, begin in the opening event of the heptathlon (60m) at 12:15 p.m. during the first day. Senior Garrett Scanting has won two of the last three conference hep titles and senior Maicel Uibo won the other during that span. The open events are slated to start with the men’ 60m hurdles and pole vault at 5 p.m.
Day two kicks off with the final three events of the heptathlon at 12:15 p.m. on Saturday while the open events have a scheduled start time of 2 p.m.
The SEC Championships will be streamed live on SEC Network + Friday from 4:55-9:15 p.m. and Saturday from 3:55-8:30 p.m. The meet will also air as part of a two-hour show on ESPN on Sunday at 7 p.m. The broadcast talent includes Dwight Stones, Larry Rawson and John Anderson.
Kyprianou’s Comments: “The postseason has arrived and we are energized about arriving at this point in the year,” Bulldog head coach Petros Kyprianou. “(Thursday) is kind of a final tune-up practice for us, a time for us to concentrate on the task at hand. We are looking forward to competing against many of the nation’s top teams this weekend.
“I told the team that it is their time to shine. We need to think of this meet as if it were the start of the playoffs. I told them we are here for a reason and I hope they answer the call.”
Where The Bulldogs Rank: The Georgia women are ranked second in the latest U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) national poll. The Bulldog men are ranked eighth nationally going into this weekend. The women’s ranking matches the team’s top final NCAA indoor finish in history while the men’s top final ranking of all-time is sixth.
A total of 13 SEC men’s and women’s teams are ranked among the nation’s top 25. A national-leading six SEC men’s teams are nationally ranked this week, all six in the top 10. In addition, a national-leading seven SEC women’s teams are in the top-25 poll, including four of the top-10.
Who Is Representing The Red And Black: The following Lady Bulldogs are traveling to the Razorbacks’ home facility: Xenia Rahn, seniors Chanice Porter, Ashley Henry, Brooke Koblitz, Shelby Ashe, juniors Kendell Williams, Leontia Kallenou, Georgia Stefanidi, Morgan Green, Tatiana Gusin and sophomores Keturah Orji, Mady Fagan, Hailey Branch, Devon Artis, Katie Stone, Kate Northrop,Natalie Bordes, Aliyah Johnson and Asianna Covington.
The following Georgia men will be joining them: seniors Ashinia Miller, Jimmy Hicks, Garrett Scantling,Maicel Uibo, Christian Harrison, Kisean Smith, Zack Sims, Steven Spevacek, Ayrian Evans, juniorsReggie Glover, Alex Poursanidis, Sid Vaughn, Derrick White, Maurice Freeman, sophomores Karl Saluri, Bryan Kamau, Raytez Jenkins and freshmen Denzel Comenentia and Jeramey Hampton.
Now, Where The Bulldog INDIVIDUALS Rank: With SECs here and the NCAA Championships set to begin in Birmingham on March 11-12, Georgia is concentrating on placing as many competitors as possible in the top 16 on the NCAA descending order lists.
Here’s who is currently ranked in the top 16: MEN – Garrett Scantling – Heptathlon – 1sts (6,020 pts); Maciel Uibo – Heptathlon – 4th (5,854 pts); Ashinia Miller – Shot put – 5th (65 feet, 1 ½ inches); Denzel Comenentia – Shot put – 11th (63-0); Karl Saluri – Heptathlon – 9th (5,686); Devon Williams – Heptathlon – 12th (5,657).
WOMEN – Keturah Orji – Triple jump – 1st (44-5.50); *Kendell Williams – Pentathlon – 2nd (4,558 pts); *Kendell Williams – High jump – T-2nd (6-1.50); Chanice Porter – High jump – T-2nd (6-1.50); Chanice Porter – Long Jump – T-3rd (21-7.25); Tatiana Gusin – High jump – T-7th (6-1.25); Keturah Orji – Long Jump – 6th (21-4.25); *Xenia Rahn – Pentathlon – 9th (4,212); *Kendell Williams – Long jump – T-11th (20-11.25); Mady Fagan – High Jump – T-12th (6-0); Kendell Williams – 60 hurdles – 16th (8.20).
*mark achieved in multi-events
FLASHBACK – A Look At The 2015 SEC Indoor Championships: The Georgia women finished sixth at last year’s SEC Championships with 50 points before finishing third (37) at the NCAA Championships. The Bulldog men wrapped up the league meet with 46 points for eighth place and then scored 12 points to tie for 15th at NCAAs.
Champions Return: Four Georgia team members captured conference crowns at the 2015 SEC Indoor Championships, and all returned for this year’s meet. Scantling won the second heptathlon title of his career with 6,036 points before finishing second at the NCAA Championships by only two points (6,068).
The other three Bulldog champs were on the women’s side. Leontia Kallenou matched her 2014 meet record mark of 6-2.75 to win her second consecutive high jump crown. Only one competitor (Maria Galloni, Florida, 1990-92) has won three SEC titles in a row in the event. After bringing the 2014 NCAA pentathlon title back to Athens with a collegiate record performance, Kendell Williams won her first SEC indoor title with 4,519 points. Finally, Keturah Orji made the best out of her first trip to SECs with a triple jump crown (45-0.25). Orji ended up sweeping the SEC circuit by also winning outdoors.
While they did not finish first in 2015, a handful of Georgia competitors have also won SEC titles during their careers. Chanice Porter locked down the 2013 long jump championship. With Scantling sidelined for the season, Uibo won the 2014 heptathlon crown before winning his first of two NCAA decathlon titles outdoors.
Last Trip To Fayetteville: Trips to the Randal Tyson track are customary, and the Bulldogs have already visited there once this year. Georgia completed the 2016 Razorback Invitational with four victories and 10 updates to the school’s all-time top-10 lists. The multi-events shined brightly, recording five different scores that remain on the national top-10 lists heading into the postseason. Scantling won the heptathlon with the country’s No. 1 score while Uibo stands fourth nationally and Saluri is ranked ninth in the country following their results at the Razorback meet. Also for the men, Ashinia Miller lifted a season-best shot put mark of 65-1.50 to grab the fifth spot on the national list.
For the Georgia women, Williams, who is the two-time collegiate record holder in the indoor multis, shot to No. 2 on the national list in the pentathlon and Rahn moved to No. 9 in the country through her first five combined events with UGA.
Chanice Porter tied the school record in the long jump (21-7.25) to win with a mark that remains the country’s third best this year. Two spots behind Porter was Keturah Orji, who soared a personal-record distance of 21-4.25. This ranks sixth currently on the national list.
Where To Find Results, News: Live stats and full results from this weekend’s meet will be posted at georgiadogs.com.
Updates from Georgia’s track and field and cross country program can always be found onTwitter/Instagram (@UGATrack).