One relay team and five individual entries on the track competed and all six qualified for the NCAA Championships to highlight the third day of the NCAA East Prelims on Friday.
This officially ended the men’s portion of the Prelims. In addition to decathlete Karel Tilga who automatically qualified for Nationals, the Bulldogs finished with six individual qualifiers and Friday’s relay qualifier.
The foursome of Arian Smith, Elija Godwin, Delano Dunkley and Matthew Boling set a school record in the 4×100-meter relay for the second meet in a row to have the second-fastest qualifying time and book their spot to Nationals.
Boling and Smith returned to the track in the 100m quarterfinal and each locked in their spots for Eugene with a 10.09 and 10.10, respectively.
Another relay leg, Godwin, secured his first invitation in an individual event to the NCAA Outdoor Championships by automatically qualifying with a 400m time of 45.41.
Sophomore Caleb Cavanaugh provided the Bulldogs yet another sprinter in the Nationals field after flying to the fastest time of his career in the 400m hurdles.
In the third to last event of the night, Boling increased his workload at the NCAA Championships to three events after running the fourth fastest 200m time in the quarterfinals.
There are 48 competitors from the East Region in every individual event and 24 in the relays. The NCAA West Prelims is running simultaneously in College Station, Texas, with the same format. The top 12 in each event from both regions advance to the NCAA Outdoor Championships in Eugene, Ore, on June 9-12.
During Thursday’s action, the Lady Bulldogs had a pair of top-five finishers in the long jump to extend the seasons of both sophomore Jasmine Moore and junior Titiana Marsh. This will also mark the third trip to the NCAA Outdoor Championships for senior Kayla Smith after the Indianapolis, Ind., native had three first attempt clearances in the pole vault. In addition, senior Marie-Therese Obst lifted her opening attempt in the javelin 179 feet to advance to Nationals after taking second overall.
Georgia also had two qualifiers for Saturday’s quarterfinals on Thursday. Junior Imani Carothers (100m hurdles) and senior Amber Tanner (800m) each had times that will send them into the quarterfinals of their races on Saturday.
On Wednesday, junior Alencar Pereira advanced to the NCAA Championships with a personal-best toss in the hammer throw.
Two Bulldogs ranked in the nation’s top five in the multi-events earned the right to skip the Prelims by automatically qualifying for the NCAA Championships (Asya Reynolds – heptathlon; Tilga – decathlon). Anna Hall (high jump, long jump) and Kyle Garland (long jump, 110m hurdles) were also in that category, but chose to compete in open events and not compete in the heptathlon and decathlon, respectively, in Eugene.
Kyprianou’s Comments: “With the men’s events completed, I am very excited for our young men as every runner who competed today advanced to Eugene,” said head coach Petros Kyprianou. “They jumped on the ship for the ‘ship that so far includes teammates in the women’s long jump, javelin, heptathlon, decathlon and hopefully more on Saturday! Clearly the highlight has to be our 4x100m relay and the magnificent school record of 38.57. Matt, Elija, Delano and their football ‘platinum flash addition’ in Arian Smith showed they are contenders for a place on the NCAA podium. I am impressed in how Arian has quickly adjusted to the track since he didn’t have more than two full weeks with us and still ran a 10.1! I have told both Arian and Coach (Kirby) Smart that I do not believe there is a football player on the planet right now who can run a 10.1 on the track with spikes. Overall a great day for the Dawgs!”
When Do The Bulldogs Start Competition? Similar to the NCAA Championships, this meet is set up where one gender competes one day and then the other gender competes the next, and that pattern is followed all four days.
The women’s second day of action and the final day of the overall meet will be on Saturday. Hall is slated to high jump at 1 p.m. ET while Carothers is scheduled to be the first Georgia competitor on the track at 6:45 p.m. in the 100m hurdle quarterfinals.
Temperatures are expected to be in the low 90s with partly cloudy to mostly sunny skies for the meet. The winds are predicted to hover around 10 miles an hour each competition day.
Live Results: For live results, please click on: http://gado.gs/72u
Live Stream: The NCAA East Prelims will be live streamed by ESPN all four days.
Here are the links for the remaining days:
Day 4 (Saturday) – http://gado.gs/732
The Lowdown: Smith, Godwin, Dunkley and Boling all punched their first tickets to the NCAA Outdoor Championships after flying to a 38.57 to have the second-fastest qualifying time of the quarterfinals. This same Bulldog quartet was the runner-up at the SEC Championships after registering a 39.02, which at the time toppled a four-year-old school record.
Boling, who earned runner-up honors in the 100m at SECs, was third in his heat and ninth overall in the 100m quarterfinals with a windy 10.09. Two heats before, Smith raced in his third collegiate 100m race and was 11th overall with the fastest windy time of his career at 10.10.
Also qualifying for the 2021 NCAA Indoor Championships in the 400m, Godwin was third in his heat and fifth overall thanks to his 45.41 in the quarterfinals. He set a school record in the event last time out at the league meet thanks to a 44.61.
Cavanaugh bettered his No. 6 spot in the school record books with a 50.88 in the 400m hurdles and snagged the 11th of 12 spots for the NCAA meet. This showing came after he missed the final at the SEC Championships by five spots.
Similar to the windy conditions in his 100m, Boling made the best out of a 2.6 meters/second wind and ran the second-fastest time of his career in the 200m with a 20.16. He won the third heat and will now prepare to defend his 2021 NCAA indoor title in the event.
Oke finished his Bulldog career in style with the longest triple jump of his life to take 22nd. Oke’s top mark of 51 feet, ¾ inches goes down at the 10th-longest jump in school history.