UGA Track and Field: Bulldogs Travel To Virginia
April 20, 2017
ATHENS, Ga. — The Bulldog track and field teams travel on Thursday to the Virginia Challenge in Charlottesville, Va., which will be run on Friday and Saturday and marks Georgia’s final regular season away meet.
While a dozen sprinters and middle distance runners competed at the Gamecock Invitational last weekend, this will be the first action for many of the Bulldogs since the Spec Towns Invitational and Bulldog Decathlon/Heptathlon in Athens on April 7-9.
What’s Up Next For The Dogs After Virginia?: The Bulldogs return home for the inaugural Torrin Lawrence Memorial on May 6 and then will return to Columbia, S.C., for the Southeastern Conference Outdoor Championships on May 11-13. The remainder of the postseason includes the NCAA East Prelims in Lexington, Ky., (May 25-27) and the NCAA Championships in Eugene, Ore. (June 7-10).
Who Traveled For The Dogs?: The fifth-ranked Georgia men and seventh-ranked Lady Bulldogs are traveling to 35 to the University of Virginia’s campus. For the Bulldog men, seniors Devon Williams, Alex Poursanidis, Sid Vaughn, juniors Karl Saluri, Jon Moses, Alex Larsson, Bryan Kamau, sophomores Keenon Laine, Denzel Comenentia, Daniel Navarro, Jeramey Hampton, Eric Westog and freshmen Darius Carbin, Stephen Martinez, Tyler Jones and Jonathan Pelham are slated to compete.
Seniors Kendell Williams, Georgia Stefanidi, Asianna Covington, juniors Keturah Orji, Hailey Branch, Morgan Ainslie, Mady Fagan, Addy Lippitt, Tatiana Gusin, Anna Machovec, sophomores Kate Hall, Aliyah Johnson, Hayden Merrick and freshmen Louisa Grauvogel, Jessica Drop, Sam Drop, Yanely Gomez, Tairyn Montgomery and Kayla Smith will be suiting up for the Red and Black.
When Does The Virginia Challenge Start For The Dogs?: Merrick will start the competition for Georgia in the women’s hammer at 10 a.m. on Friday. An All-American long jumper indoors this year, Hall will run her first 100-meter dash as a Bulldog to jumpstart the track events for UGA at 1:30 p.m.
Navarro cranks up the action on Saturday in the 5000m at 9:35 a.m. Kendell Williams and Grauvogel, who are training for the heptathlon, are scheduled to start the javelin at 10 a.m. to begin the field events on day two.
Live Results: To check on Georgia’s progress at the Virginia Challenge, please visit the live results link at: http://gado.gs/7d5.
Kyprianou’s Comments: “We are excited to return to Charlottesville for the Virginia Challenge,” said Petros Kyprianou, who is wrapping up his second year as the Bulldogs’ head coach. “It is a great opportunity for our teams to compete in an environment similar to Eugene (Ore.) with the weather being unpredictable and a little colder than we are used to. It sounds crazy but we have to expose our student-athletes to any and all conditions so they are prepared for anything.
“We had a very good showing at this meet last year and I am expecting the same this weekend. It is a great opportunity for all of our groups to prepare for competition on a surface and in weather that is very similar to Oregon’s. I am eager to watch our distance runners run as it is traditionally a very well organized meet for runners with quality competition and cooler temperatures to achieve better times in the longer distances. The goal as always remains to keep our team healthy and happy while we provide them with the best experience we can on and off the track. We want to make sure we capitalize at the end of the season when the NCAA meet arrives.
“Our student-athletes are well trained and the coaches have done a good job in preparing and working towards maximizing each and every team member’s potential. We do have a lot of quality competitors who are trying to get healthy and it has been a struggle, but like I said earlier, the coaching staff has done a good job of making the necessary adjustments to get the best out of every situation. Virginia is the first meet of our second and most important part of the outdoor season, which means it is time to turn the heat on.”
Season Debuts: Three Bulldog First Team All-Americans, including four-time NCAA triple jump champion and Olympic finalist Keturah Orji, are set to make their season debut in Virginia. Orji, who is also a four-time scoring All-American in the long jump, is in the long jump Invitational field at 4 p.m. on Saturday. Gusin is scheduled to high jump for the first time outdoors for the Lady Bulldogs since 2015 in the Invitational event on Saturday at 7p.m. The 2017 NCAA indoor runner-up redshirted last outdoor season and took fifth at the 2015 NCAA Outdoor Championships.
On the men’s side, Saluri opens his outdoor season following a third-place national finish in the heptathlon indoors this year. He will join Devon Williams, who scored the eighth-most decathlon points in collegiate history (8,345) to win the Bulldog Decathlon two weeks ago and sits second nationally, in the open discus at 2:45 p.m. on Friday. Williams is also entered in the 110m hurdles (1:30 p.m. Saturday) and the pole vault (2 p.m. Friday).
Kendell Williams and Grauvogel will also be competing in open events after scoring the country’s top and ninth-best heptathlon totals, respectively, to go 1-2 at the Bulldog Heptathlon. The pair will run in the 100m hurdles at 2:15 p.m. on Saturday, Williams will compete in the long jump Invitational with Orji and Hall at 4 p.m. Saturday while Grauvogel is signed up for the regular long jump (12 p.m. Saturday) and both are currently in the javelin start lists (10 a.m. Saturday).
Last Weekend At The Gamecock Invitational: The Bulldogs rested everyone but the sprinters over the weekend as a group of six traveled to Columbia for the Gamecock Invitational. Sophomore Kendal Williams blazed to the country’s sixth-best time in the 200-meter dash (No. 2 wind-legal finish) of 20.32 to finish second. This time, which ranks fourth on the world list, is tied for No. 2 in the school record books and is the best for Georgia since 1980. Williams joined with junior Cejhae Greene, senior Reggie Glover and senior Maurice Freeman to take second in the 4x100m relay with a 39.70. Greene, who was only running the 100m for the second time as a Bulldog, registered a wind-legal 10.10 to win. This time ranks sixth on the NCAA list (No. 2 wind-legal finish) and is fourth on UGA’s all-time top-10 list. Greene and Williams have now both run 10.10 or better this year as Williams remains the nation’s leader with a 9.99. In the 4x400m relay, Glover, senior Ayrian Evans, Freeman and junior Gabe Blackman won by nearly two seconds after finishing in 3:08.50. Freeman and Evans were also the top collegiate finishers (second and third overall) with a 46.52 and 47.23 in the 400m. The sprinters will train through the weekend and prepare for Georgia’s upcoming home meet.
The Georgia women also sent six team members to South Carolina to compete. Junior Katie Stone was the top collegiate finisher (second overall) in the 200m after crossing the finish line with the 10th-best time in school history at 23.59. She started her day in the 100m and earned runner-up honors in the 100m with a season-best time of 11.51. Freshman Amber Tanner, junior Devon Artis and freshmen Catherine Reid and Chelsea Zoller passed the baton in the 4x400m relay to a 3:41.38 for the victory. Reid was also the top freshman finisher (seventh overall) in the 400m with a UGA best time of 54.71. In addition, Tanner was second in the 800m (2:12.08).
Updates from Georgia’s track and field and cross country teams can always be found on Twitter/Instagram (UGATrack) and Snapchat (ugatrack).