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Georgia Returns To Boston For NCAA Indoor Championships


Leland Barrow

Senior Associate Sports Communications Director – XC, T&F, FB

University of Georgia Athletic Association


The 11th-ranked Lady Bulldogs  and the 14th-ranked Georgia men made the trip to Boston, N.M., on Wednesday before the NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships begin on Friday and continue through Saturday in The Track at New Balance.          

 

When Do The Dogs Start?: Sophomore Christopher Morales Williams will start the meet for UGA in the semifinal round of the 400-meter dash on Friday at 4:30 p.m.  Morales Williams is coming off a Southeastern Conference Indoor Championships where he broke the facility, meet, school, collegiate and Canadian records with the fastest indoor 400m (44.49) in world history. 

 

Sophomore Kaila Jackson is first up for the Lady Bulldogs in the 60m semifinal on day one at 7:18 p.m. 

 

All of Georgia’s qualifiers in five field events will compete on Saturday.  Junior Elena Kulichenko and true freshman Riyon Rankin will begin the women’s high jump and the men’s high jump, respectively, at 1 p.m. on day two.  Morales Williams will be on the track first for the Bulldogs on Saturday in the 400m final at 4:20 p.m.

 

Where To Catch The NCAA Championships: Live streaming of the NCAA meet will air on ESPN+ (subscription site) starting on Friday and continuing through Saturday.  The broadcast talent includes Dwight Stones, Dan O’Brien, Larra Overton and John Anderson. 

 

A tape delay special of the Championships will air on ESPNU on Monday at 9 p.m.

 

Friday (6:58 p.m.): http://gado.gs/bhu

Friday (9:28 p.m.): http://gado.gs/bhv

Saturday (11:30.a.m.): http://gado.gs/bhw

Saturday (6:55 p.m.): http://gado.gs/bhy

 

Live Results: For results throughout the weekend, please visit: http://gado.gs/bha


Coach Caryl’s Comments: We know from last year’s pair of top-five finishes at this meet that it doesn’t take a big team at Nationals to have success, it just takes repeating elite performances that have already been done,” said Bulldog head coach Caryl Smith Gilbert.  “I am excited for this mixture of experienced veterans and promising underclassmen to do our best to keep Georgia’s tradition going of vying for one of the top-four trophies at the end of the meet.  The competition at NCAAs never gets easier so it will be a battle, but I believe in our eight individuals and relay team who qualified and can’t wait to see what they accomplish.  Go Dawgs!”

 

Success At Recent NCAA Indoor Championships: The Lady Bulldogs have finished in the top 10 at the NCAA Indoor Championships for eight out of the last 11 completed seasons (2020 season was canceled prior to Nationals because of the pandemic), including their run to a national championship in 2018. 

 

The Georgia men have been in the top 10 for six straight completed seasons (not counting the shortened 2020 campaign), have been in the top three three different times out of the last five NCAA meets (2018, 2021, 2023) and scored their most points in meet history (40) with their record-setting runner-up finish last year.

 

What Dogs Advanced To NCAAs?: Georgia has 12 student-athletes who are seeded in the top 16 in 10 different events, including the country’s top-ranked 400m sprinter in Morales Williams and the nation’s No. 1 shot putter in graduate transfer Alex Kolesnikoff.

           

For the Lady Bulldogs, senior Mikeisha Welcome (triple jump), Jackson (60m, 200m), Kulichenko (high jump), sophomore Aaliyah Butler (400m, 4x400m relay), senior Dominique Mustin, sophomore Haley Tate, graduate transfer Kimberly Harris, freshman Sydney Harris (4x400m relay) advanced to the final indoor meet.  One of the Bulldog sprinters will serve as the 4x400m relay alternate.

           

On the men’s side, Morales Williams (400m), Kolesnikoff (shot put), Rankin (high jump) and freshman Zavien Wolfe (triple jump) will complete their indoor season at Nationals. 

 

SEC Accolades Arrive For Dogs: Earlier this week, three Bulldogs picked up hardware after earning an SEC indoor annual award.  Morales Williams was named the SEC Indoor Men’s Runner of the Year, according to a league announcement Wednesday.

 

Morales Williams is the third Bulldog to be named the SEC Indoor Men’s Runner of the Year, including second in a row.  Elija Godwin was voted the Co-Runner of the Year last season.  Distance All-American Ian Burrell earned Georgia’s first honor of this kind in 2007.

 

Last Times In Boston: Georgia competed for the first time at The Track at New Balance in late January after the facility opened in April 2022.  The Bulldogs headed back south with a series of notable performances in their second meet of the year (Jan. 20) from the school’s NCAA qualifiers:

  • Kolesnikoff erupted on his second attempt in the shot put for a national leading mark of 20.45 meters/67 feet, 1 ¼ inches to grab top honors and rocket to second in the school record books.

  • Kulichenko cleared 1.86m/6-1.25 on her third try to win the high jump.

  • Morales Williams sped to a 46.05 to finish first in the 400m.

  • Jackson cruised to a victory in the 60m (7.20).

  • Rankin went over the high jump bar at 2.15m/7-0.50, also on his third attempt to place second.

  • Wolfe competed in his second collegiate meet and traveled 15.27m/50-1.25 to earn runner-up honors in the triple jump.

A Glimpse At The 2023 NCAA Indoor Championships: Georgia collectively had one of its most successful NCAA Indoor Championships in history to cap the 2023 season. 

 

The men set school records by taking second with 40 points thanks in large part to national titles from Matthew Boling (200m), Kyle Garland (heptathlon) and Elija Godwin (400m).  Garland’s 6,639 points was a collegiate record and only six points shy of the world record. 

 

Jackson, along with fellow sophomore sprinter Autumn Wilson, combined for four scoring spots in the 60m and 200m to help pace the Lady Bulldogs’ fifth-place finish (31 points).  Current qualifiers Kulichenko and Welcome also finished third in the high jump and fourth in the triple jump, respectively, to power the Georgia women.

 

What’s Next For The Bulldogs?: Following the NCAA Championships, the Bulldogs start their outdoor season a week later at the Yellow Jacket Invitational in Atlanta on March 15-16. 

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