Less than a week after closing out their indoor season at the NCAA Championships, the Bulldog track and field teams begin their outdoor season with the Georgia Relays at their home Spec Towns Track.
The men’s hammer kicks off the meet on Friday at 12 p.m. and that event is followed by the women’s hammer at 1:45 p.m. The first event on the track is the women’s Gainey Special, which is an 800-meter sprint medley relay, at 4:40 p.m.
On Saturday, the women’s javelin is slated to begin at 11 a.m. along with the women’s 3000m steeplechase. The meet is scheduled to conclude with the men’s 4x400m relay at 3:15 p.m. on day two.
Joining Georgia in Athens for the two-day meet will be members from Albany State, Western Carolina, Clayton State, Southern Wesleyan, Drake University and University of South Carolina – Aiken.
Admission is free to this weekend’s home meet and parking will be available in the Carlton Street parking deck by Stegeman Coliseum.
This is the first action for the Lady Bulldogs since they scored a school record 45 points last weekend in Birmingham, Ala., to finish third at indoor Nationals for the third consecutive year. The Georgia men open their season after tallying nine points with three First Team All-America scorers at NCAAs to tie for 24th place.
Kyprianou’s Comments: “There is a lot of excitement among all groups as our teams can’t wait to race on our home turf,” said Bulldog head coach Petros Kyprianou. “Some of these student-athletes have waited a very long time to either open up or just to be competing at their own facility.”
The Southeastern Conference Championships do not arrive until May 12-14 in Tuscaloosa, Ala., and Kyprianou is excited to have those who have not competed in a while back on the track.
“With this being a lower-key meet, it will give our student-athletes who didn’t make it to the NCAA Indoor Championships a chance to open up and begin their quest for the outdoor Nationals,” Kyprianou said.
The hammer throw, discus and javelin, along with a variety of track events, are added to the meet schedule with the beginning of the outdoor season. Kyprianou understands his teams are fired up to start the campaign, especially with the world’s summer competition ending at the Olympics in Rio.
“Student-athletes and coaches always see the outdoor season as the real deal, especially this year being an Olympic year,” Kyprianou explained. “A lot of dreams, hopes and expectations will be tested for a lot of athletes. However, this sport rewards the hard work, focus and dedication so it is extremely important to use our indoor results as a momentum. But at the same time, we must keep in mind that this is a long season and we have to be sharp in June.
“I think we will build momentum off of our indoor success. Having the NCAA caliber student-athletes on the team should be a great way for the rest of the team to make a push forward and upwards and hopefully create potential for more NCAA Championship caliber talent. We have to keep the student-athletes healthy, happy and most importantly falling in love or staying in love with what they are doing.”
FLASHBACK – 2015 Georgia Relays: Eleven Georgia individuals and one relay team either won their events outright or had the top collegiate finish at last year’s Georgia Relays. And only four (Jenna Wargo, javelin; Braydon Anderson, javelin; Nick Vena, shot put; Drew Branch, 400m, ran a leg on the 4x400m relay) exhausted their eligibility and did not return for the Bulldogs in 2016.
The 2015 winners who are back in the lineup are: Devon Artis, 400m; Allie Castro, 1500m; Asianna Covington, discus; Shelby Ashe, hammer; Ayrian Evans, 100m; Evans, Jon Okoye, Raytez Jenkins, 4x400m relay; Ashinia Miller, discus; Alex Poursanidis, hammer.
2015 Bulldog Outdoor Postseason Recap: In 2015, the Georgia men and women both finished in the top 15 nationally. The Lady Bulldogs saw Orji win the triple jump title and the team finished fifth with 51 points while the Bulldog men had senior Maicel Uibo win his second consecutive NCAA decathlon title and his team took 15th.
At last year’s SEC Outdoor Championships, the men finished fifth and the women left Starkville, Miss., with a sixth-place finish. Orji, Uibo and Poursanidis all won individual championships and return for Georgia in 2016.
In Other Bulldogs News: On Thursday, junior Kendell Williams was named the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches (USTFCCCA) National Indoor Women’s Field Athlete of the Year, alongside Kansas State’s Akela Jones. Williams becomes the first male or female to earn three annual national indoor honors from the group in history. Last week, she captured her third consecutive NCAA pentathlon title by setting the collegiate record for the third year in a row.
Williams is currently in Portland, Ore., with Kyprianou and Orji at the World Indoor Championships. Williams starts in the pentathlon at 2:15 p.m. ET on Friday while Orji triple jumps at 2:37 p.m. on Saturday. Orji also won an NCAA title last week in Birmingham.
Where To Find Results, News: Live stats and full results from this weekend’s Georgia Relays will be posted at georgiadogs.com.
Updates from Georgia’s track and field and cross country program can always be found onTwitter/Instagram (@UGATrack).