Incoming freshman Matthew Boling won two individual gold medals and ran on a pair of record-setting relays to highlight the efforts of four Bulldogs at the Pan American Under-20 Championships over the weekend in San Jose, Costa Rica.
If the four Georgia student-athletes competing were their own national team, the combined five gold medals won by Boling and Anna Hall would rank third in the entire meet behind only the U.S. and Canada. The combined seven medals accumulated by Boling, Hall, Nicholas Yanek and Shelby Tyler would rank only behind the U.S., Canada, Jamaica, Cuba and Brazil for overall medals.
Boling became the first man to clinch the 100-meter dash and 200m double in 20 years and the first athlete to win four gold medals at a single meet of this kind since 1989 after his 4x100m and 4x400m relays set world U-20 records to win. Boling is the first athlete since American LaShawn Merritt in 2004 at the IAAF World Junior Championships in Italy to be part of setting World Junior records in the 4x100m and 4x400m relays in the same meet.
Hall (heptathlon) also brought gold home for Team USA and her native state of Colorado. Only former Georgia legend Kendell Williams’ trio of performances from 2014 (6,018 points, 5,877, 5,854) is better than Hall (5,847) on the all-time American U-20 list. However, Hall will arrive at Georgia having produced the top five all-time prep scores in the heptathlon.
Already enrolled and starting his second year at Georgia, Yanek won a silver medal in the 10,000m while incoming freshman Shelby Tyler was a bronze medalist in the high jump.
Boling sped to first-place honors in the 100m with a wind-legal personal best of 10.11. In the 200m, he left the competition behind after running the fastest legal time of his career (20.31) and finishing .25 ahead of the nearest competitor (fellow Team USA team member Kennedy Lightner).
Boling was also the anchor on the American team that clocked a U-20 world record for gold and ran the second leg on his squad that also broke the age division world record in the 4x400m relay. He took the baton from Marcellus Moore on the final leg of the 4x100m relay as Team USA registered a 38.62. Boling was second of his three other teammates to run in the 4x400m relay as the quartet crossed the finish line in 2:59.30.
Set to arrive in Athens with her freshmen teammates in a matter of weeks, Hall scored a meet record 5,847 points with the help of winning five individual events to finish with top honors in the heptathlon by more than 400 points.
Yanek, who competed indoors in 2019 for the Bulldogs but redshirted outdoors, was the second half of a 1-2 finish for Team USA as he finished his 25 laps in 31:06.06 for a silver medal.
Tyler rallied for a third attempt clearance at 5-10 to bring a bronze home in the high jump.
This summer action comes on the heels of the Georgia men finishing fourth at the 2019 NCAA Outdoor Championships in early June. This marked the program’s 10th top-four national finish since 2016, a run that includes a pair of NCAA team titles.
Next up for the Bulldogs will be the USATF Outdoor Championships in Des Moines, Iowa, on Thursday through Sunday. Rising junior Aliyah Whisby will join former Georgia team members Kendell Williams, Devon Williams, Keturah Orji, Mady Fagan and Keenon Laine, who all still train in Athens, for the meet. Former Lady Bulldogs Kate Hall and Lynna Irby are also expected to compete.
Also of note, Whisby and Orji have been selected to compete in the long jump for Team USA at the Pan American Games in Lima, Peru, on Aug. 6-10. Laine, who recently completed his UGA career in June, has also been selected to represent America at the meet in the high jump.