ATHENS, Ga. — The Bulldog track and field program traveled to Knoxville, Tenn., on Wednesday in preparation for the Southeastern Conference Outdoor Championships, which run at the Laporte Stadium from Friday through Sunday.
The sixth-ranked Georgia women and Bulldog men will be back competing at the conference level for the first time since taking second and fifth, in that order, at this year’s SEC indoor meet in late February. The Lady Bulldogs went on to win the program’s first national team title at the NCAA Indoor Championships while the Georgia men finished with their top indoor national finish in history, taking third.
Eleven combined top-10 teams will be battling versus each other at the SEC meet, including top-ranked Florida on the men’s side and No. 1 LSU in the women’s poll.
When Do The Bulldogs Start Competition? Senior Karl Saluri starts the meet for the Bulldogs in the decathlon’s first event (100-meter dash) at 1:30 p.m. on Friday. He and the field will complete four more events (long jump, shot put, high jump, 400m) on the first day before wrapping up his final five on Saturday.
Junior Joe Kimura Smith begins the open events for Georgia in the men’s javelin at 3 p.m. on Friday. Sophomore Amber Tanner and freshman Halle McClintock are the first Lady Bulldogs on the track in the 800m prelims, also at 3 p.m.
Where To Catch The SEC Championships: The SEC meet will air on SEC Network+ for all three days of competition. Sunday’s action will be live on the SEC Network 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: “Finally, we are arriving at the most fun time of the year in my opinion, the championship season,” said head coach Petros Kyprianou. “While we battle some injuries, our student-athletes are excited to compete for individual and team glory in the next few weeks. It is the time that true competitors rise to the occasion and above all problems. It will be nice to be 100 percent healthy, but it is what it is.
“We will give it all we have with no excuses and everyone understands that part. Our teams are more designed for NCAA competitions rather than SECs but we will strive to gather as many individual titles as we can in every event area. That will set us up for Prelims and hopefully qualify as many as we can for Eugene (NCAA Championships). That is the main goal, that is the main reason why we show up to work every day. All in all, I am eager to start this championship season and see our student-athletes have some fun. Go Dawgs!”
What Bulldogs Are Competing: Seniors Cejhae Greene, Jon Moses, Henry Dwyer, Eric Westog, Bryan Kamau, Saluri, Alex Larsson, Addy Lippitt, Tatiana Gusin, Keturah Orji, Emily Savage, Anna Machovec, Aliyah Johnson, juniors Kendal Williams, Joe Kimura Smith, Jeramey Hampton, Raytez Jenkins, Mary Terry, Keenon Laine, Michael Nicholls, Austin Sprague, sophomores Tiffany Yue, Tanner, Jessica Drop, Samantha Drop, Yanely Gomez, Micaiah Ransby, Kate Hall, Louisa Grauvogel, Tairyn Montgomery, Darius Carbin, Mecole Hardman, Jonathan Pelham and freshmen Michael Hans, Johannes Erm, Justes Nance, Halle McClintock, Lynna Irby, Tara Davis, Marie-Therese Obst, Antonios Merlos and Eric Stokes are slated to compete over the weekend.
A Flashback From The 2017 SEC Outdoor Championships: Georgia traveled to Columbia, S.C., for last year’s league meet and it included a host of performances that helped build momentum going into the NCAA Outdoor Championships:
Comenentia picked up victories in the shot put (65-7.50) and hammer throw (234-3) before finishing fifth in both events at Nationals for two First Team All-America certificates.
Comenentia’s training partner, graduated senior Alex Poursanidis, was third at SECs in the hammer and then seventh at the NCAA meet to close his career.
Graduated senior Kendell Williams was runner-up in the open 100m hurdles (12.92), fifth in the high jump (5-10.75) and eighth in the long jump (20-10.75) before capturing her third NCAA heptathlon title a month later.
Kendell Williams’ older brother, Devon Williams, clipped Florida’s Grant Holloway in the 110m hurdle final with a school record 13.37 and was eighth in the long jump (25-3.50). He went on to take second in the decathlon at the NCAA Championships.
Gusin outdueled teammate Mady Fagan (redshirting 2018 outdoor season) for the high jump crown with matching 6-2 clearances. Fagan topped Gusin at NCAAs as the Lady Bulldog duo went 1-2.
Laine reached 7-4.50 to win the SEC high jump mark and then was fourth at the NCAA meet.
Hall traveled 21-10.75 for fourth in the long jump before setting a school record and capturing the NCAA title with a mark of 22-1.
Orji put up a best mark of 45-9.25 to win her third SEC outdoor triple jump title in a row. Orji was also fifth at SECs in the long jump (21-1.50).
Greene sped to a third-place finish in the 100m (10.20) a month before he clocked the third-fastest time in UGA history (10.05) to finish just out of scoring at NCAAs.
A Glimpse From The Dogs’ Last Action: The Bulldogs’ fifth and final regular season meet weekend of the year was in their backyard with the second annual Torrin Lawrence Memorial.
Here is a breakdown of Georgia’s highlights from Athens:
Comenentia surged to second in the school record books in both the shot put and discus with a pair of victories. He reached 67-8 in the shot to take over the No. 2 spot nationally and followed that up with a mark of 192-11 to claim the No. 12 spot on the NCAA’s discus list.
In a women’s long jump comp that featured three at 21-9 or better, Hall hit a season-best mark of 21-9, which ties Davis for the No. 4 spot on the national list, to take third as she begins his pursuit for her first SEC outdoor crown and her second straight NCAA outdoor title.
Hall, Irby, Ransby and Davis combined to clock the third-fastest 4x100m relay time in history with a 44.02 for first-place honors.
Ransby also won the 200m after registering the 10th-best time in UGA history with a 23.47.
Gusin, who remains the NCAA leader with a 6-2 clearance, was the top collegiate finisher after reaching 6-1.25 on her second try.
Williams and Greene went 2-3 overall with a 10.22 and a 10.28 in the 100m.