Georgia track and field team mates Kendell Williams and Karl Saluri are aiming for a sweep of the Bulldog Decathlon/Heptathlon after taking early leads under overcast skies and breezy conditions in Athens on Wednesday afternoon.
Williams, who won the 2014 NCAA heptathlon title and was the national runner-up last year, is leading the heptathlon by 165 points over former Lady Bulldog All-American Quintunya Chapman through four of seven events. She has scored 3,715 points following Wednesday’s 200-meter dash with the long jump, javelin and 800m coming on Thursday.
After the first five events of the decathlon, Saluri is more than 200 points up on his day one personal record and is in the overall lead with 4,162 points. His teammate junior Devon Williams is also heading the direction of a new career high with 4,087 points for fourth place. The 110m hurdles, discus, pole vault, javelin and 1500m will wrap up the decathlon on Thursday.
“I thought both groups did a good job battling the wind and colder temperatures and got off to a positive start,” said Bulldog head coach Petros Kyprianou. “Kendell is working to get her NCAA qualifying score and she’s well on the way to that. Karl is well ahead of his (personal record) pace and Devon is setting himself up to score the most points in his career as well. I’m happy for them so far and we need to hold our ground on Thursday. We are looking for even more out of this crew during the second day.”
Kendell Williams started her day in the heptathlon by leaving the field behind in the 100m hurdles for 1,066 points. She finished .21 seconds ahead of her former teammate and training partner (Chapman) thanks to a time of 13.39.
Williams added another 991 points to her total in the high jump. Posting a career-best clearance of 6 feet at this meet in 2014, Williams reached 5-11.25 on her third and final try on Wednesday to win her second event of the competition. This effort ranks fourth on the current national performance list.
Starting her shot put series nearly four feet from where she finished on the day, Williams had a foul on her second try. Then, the Marietta, Ga., native launched the longest throw of her career (42-1.25) to score 716 points and finish third.
In the final event of the opening day, Williams again finished third overall in the 200m after running a 24.41 for 942 points.
During the decathlon, Saluri made his outdoor debut for the Bulldogs in the 100m and won with a 10.66. This finish gave the Estonia native 938 points to start the competition with an early edge.
Saluri worked up to a third long jump attempt of 24-4.25 to take fifth in the competition. He kept the overall lead with his performance thanks to the 915 points scored.
With three fair attempts in the shot put, Saluri stayed at the No. 1 spot overall with his toss of 46-10.75. Bulldog volunteer assistant coach Gonzalo Barroilhet (47-3.50) won the event as Saluri scored 746 with his performance.
Saluri finished his day just as he had started – with a victory. He blazed to a time of 48.34 for 893 points in the 400m.
Devon Williams was third overall in the 100m to start his day after completing the race in 10.84. This trimmed .03 seconds off his time from this meet last year and scored him 897 points.
Adding more than a foot to his season-best performance in the long jump that came at last year’s Bulldog Decathlon, Williams registered a personal record of 24-9.25 on his second try this year. This scored him 947 points and propelled him into second place overall.
Williams continued his impressive first day with a career-best effort in the shot put. Improving on his second and third attempts, he tallied a three and a half foot personal best with a mark of 43-6 for eighth place. The 683 points helped surge Williams into second place through three events.
Williams wrapped up his day by clocking a 49.52 for 837 more points.
Senior Maicel Uibo continued his training by competing in three of five events. Uibo ran his fastest time in the 100m since the 2014 season. He finished seventh for 841 points after clocking an 11.09. Uibo ran an 11.10 during his journey to his second consecutive national decathlon title at last year’s NCAA Championships.
After sitting out the long jump, Uibo returned to finish third in the shot put. He watched his third throw travel 46-8 for 742 points. Uibo completed his day by running a 51.37 in the 400m.
The final three events of the Bulldog Heptathlon will start at 12 p.m. on Thursday. The last five events of the Bulldog Decathlon will begin at 1:30 p.m. on the meet’s second day.
Live stats and full results from the Bulldog Decathlon/Heptathlon will be posted at georgiadogs.com.
Updates from Georgia’s track and field and cross country program can always be found on Twitter/Instagram (@UGATrack).
Bulldog Heptathlon – Day One Results
Name 100mH HJ SP 200 Day 1 Total
Kendell Williams 13.39 (1066) 5-11.25 (991) *42-1.25 (716) 24.41 (942) 3,715 (1st)
Bulldog Decathlon – Day One Results
Name 100mH HJ SP HJ 400m Day 1 Total
^Karl Saluri 10.66 (938) 24-4.25 (915) 46-10.75 (746) 6-0.75 (670) 48.34 (893) *4,162 (1st)
Devon Williams 10.84 (897) *24-9.25 (947) *43-6 (683) 6-3.25 (723) 49.52 (837) *4,087 (4th)
Maicel Uibo 11.09 (841) DNS 46-8 (742) DNS 51.37 (753) DNF
^outdoor debut as a Bulldog