The UGA track and field and cross country program has signed a group of “hungry dawgs” who are determined to keep Georgia’s recent streak of top national finishes alive, according to Bulldog head coach Petros Kyprianou, who was named the 2017 U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) National Women’s Head Coach of the Year.
The Bulldogs added 21 signees during the early period, including 12 women and nine men. The class hails from as close as neighboring Watkinsville and to as far as Greece and Estonia. The men’s class has been picked as the country’s top early signing period class by MileSplit.com.
These signees will join a men and women’s teams that have generated a number of exceptional performances recently. The Lady Bulldogs finished as the national runner-up at both the 2017 NCAA Indoor and Outdoor Championships and have finished in the country’s top five at the last eight Nationals. The Georgia men were fourth at the 2017 NCAA Indoor Championships and sixth at last year’s NCAA outdoor meet. They have also been as high as sixth at another NCAA Championships over the last four years.
In addition, distance coach Patrick Cunniff led the 2017 women’s cross country team to the NCAA Championships after taking second at both the Southeastern Conference Championships and the NCAA South Regional. At the NCAA Championships, the Lady Bulldogs finished 17th, which was their top finish since 2006, with the help from a school record two All-Americans in sophomores Sam and Jessica Drop.
“I am very excited to announce our 2018 signees at the end of this early signing period,” said Kyprianou, who is entering into his third year leading the program. “The coaching staff has done a tremendous job in identifying and hitting the recruiting trail earlier this year to develop these invaluable relationships between coaching staff and student-athletes early in the process. We try to be precise, efficient and sharp when it comes to signing the right ones who fit our philosophy and vision for our program.
“This is a group of hungry ‘dawgs’ who want to come in and continue the legacy of the 2016-2017 teams that helped us bring some serious hardware back to Athens. Highlighted by those with potential to be heavy hitters at the NCAA level from the state of Georgia and beyond including world-ranked prospects Elija Godwin, Kyle Garland, Karel Tilga, Titiana Marsh, Imani Carothers, Antonios Merlos and others, I feel like this class will complement last year’s elite group very well. Now our job, which is the hardest part in this process, is to have them on campus and develop their outstanding talents while they enjoy the Georgia student-athlete experience. Go Dawgs!”
Here is a list of the Bulldog signees:
Emma Rose Bagwell (Roswell, Ga.) – 800m (2:15.42); 1600m (5:09.67)
Anna Marian Block (Athens, Ga.) – Mile (4:46.67); 800m (2:10.36)
Imani Carothers (Chicago, Ill.) – 100m Hurdles (13.72); Long Jump (6:01.m); Triple Jump (13.05m)
Grace Clements (Bremen, Ga.) – 5k XC (18:16.97)
Kaylee DuPont (Cumming, Ga.) – 5k XC (17:38.49); 1600m (5:01.75); 3200m (10:53.85)
Skylar English (Dacula, Ga.) – 5k XC (18:31.83)
Sakari Famous (Hamilton, Bermuda) – High Jump (1.80m)
Courtney Long (Acworth, Ga.) – Pole Vault (3.96m)
Titiana Marsh (Chester, Va.) – Triple Jump (13.23m); Long Jump (6.22m)
Nicole Pachuta (Watkinsville, Ga.) – 5k XC (18:18.83); 1600m (5:01.98)
Erika Plummer (Flowery Branch, Ga.) – 5k XC (18:36.72); 1600m (5:08.73)
Jayda Woods (Cold Spring, Minn.) – 800m (2:14.35); 1600m (5:09.90)
Sam Bowers (Milton, Ga.) – 5k XC (14:50.25); 3200m (9:16.32); 1600m (4:16.41)
Tyler Fox (Suwanee, Ga.) – 1600m (4:21.80); 5k XC (15:29)
Kyle Garland (Fort Washington, Penn.) – Decathlon (7,217 pts.)
Elijah Godwin (Covington, Ga.) – 200m (20.71); 400m (45.83)
Michael Malkowski (Milton, Ga.) – 1600m (4:15.63); 5k XC (15:30.08)
Antonios Merlos (Loutraki, Greece) – High Jump (2.20m)
Michael Nicholls (Bridgetown, Barbados) – 60m Hurdles (7.90); 110m Hurdles (13.76); 400m Hurdles (52.33)
Karel Tilga (Tartu, Estonia) – Decathlon (8,002 pts.)
Nicholas Yanek (Milton, Ga.) – 5k XC (15:01.97); 3200m (9:19.64)
The Bulldog track and field teams will crank up 2018 on January 6 at the Orange and Purple Classic in Clemson, S.C.