The Bulldogs open their indoor season at the Orange & Purple Classic in Clemson, S.C., on Saturday morning. Florida, Georgia Tech, JC Smith University, North Carolina A&T, Limestone College, Florida International, Emmanuel College, Alabama A&M, Alabama State, Florida A&M and Georgia State (women) are scheduled to join Georgia in the Tigers’ newly opened six-lane banked Mondo track.
The team is very excited to jumpstart the 2017 season,” said Petros Kyprianou, who will be starting his second year as the Bulldogs’ head coach and ninth year with the program. “We have been very fortunate with our preparation and good weather and everyone has survived the fall training with only minor injuries. The hardest part for our sport is to stay healthy and use all the meets leading up to the championship season as a chance to first progress, then qualify for the NCAA meet and then finally remain healthy.
We have been talking about this season opener since September 1,” Kyprianou said. “Clemson has a tremendous world-class new indoor facility and I am very excited to test it out and see if our teams feel good about it so we can make it our ‘second’ home as far as competition is concerned. This first meet will serve as an early test to see where we are, clean up the engines, shake off the dust and set the tone for the true opener in two weeks at the beautiful NCAA site facility of Texas A&M.
Georgia starts 2017 on an incredible run over the last four years. The Bulldogs have combined for eight top-10 national team finishes since the 2013 season thanks in large part to having 16 NCAA champions who have set a handful of collegiate records over that span.
Two of the three Lady Bulldogs who are responsible for four of the five national crowns from 2016 are again on Georgia’s roster. Those two NCAA champs – senior Kendell Williams (pentathlon, heptathlon) and junior Keturah Orji (triple jump) – along with a pair of Bulldog men – juniors Karl Saluri (heptathlon, decathlon) and Cejhae Greene (sprints) – were all on Olympic teams over the summer in Rio and will be competing for the Red and Black in 2017.
In addition, a talented array of freshmen and transfers also has joined the program and has Kyprianou and his coaching staff excited about the coming campaign.
Like I said earlier, on paper we have a lot of talent who we expect to serve as leaders and hold the younger and newer student-athletes accountable for pushing themselves to their limits and helping the team make a statement,” said Kyprianou. “We also have a very strong core of upperclassmen leaders who have already stepped up and set the tone on where this team is headed. Mostly I am eager to see where the newcomers stand and how they handle there first collegiate meet.
We have finally assembled a complete team in my opinion and I expect all groups to show signs of greatness. This was our motto in the beginning of the year: ‘Find your greatness and start your legend’ and we intend to carry that out.