Georgia Track and Field To Continue Postseason Competition At NCAA East Prelims

LEXINGTON, Ky. --- Georgia’s track and field teams are set to compete in the NCAA East Prelims on the campus of the University of Kentucky from Wednesday through Saturday as individual Bulldogs look to punch their tickets to the NCAA Outdoor Championships in June.

The eighth-ranked women’s squad and the 15th-ranked men’s team will be represented by a combined 29 athletes in 24 events. Each individual event will feature 48 competitors from the East Region while 24 teams will compete in each relay.

The NCAA West Prelims, which will take place in Fayetteville, Ark., from Wednesday through Saturday, will take on the same format as the Kentucky-hosted meet. The top 12 competitors in each event from both regions will advance to the NCAA Outdoor Championships, which will be held on the campus of the University of Oregon from June 5-8.

Ella Rush automatically qualified for the NCAA Championships with her personal-best mark of 5,606 points in the heptathlon, set at the SEC Outdoor Championships two weekends ago.

When Do The Bulldogs Start?: The NCAA East Prelims will begin with the men’s first round on Wednesday followed by the women’s opening round on Thursday. The men will then compete in the quarterfinals on Friday followed by the women on Saturday. All field events will feature one round in Lexington to qualify for the Oregon meet while running events will hold first round and quarterfinal races.

Marc Minichello will look to punch his ticket to the NCAA Championship meet first on Wednesday, competing in the javelin at 12 p.m. Jehlani Gordon and Micah Larry will kick off Georgia’s day on the track at 7 p.m. when they participate in the first round of the 100-meter dash.

On Thursday, Stephanie Ratcliffe will open the day in the hammer throw at 10 a.m. while Charlotte Augenstein competes for Georgia in the 1500m at 6:30 p.m.

Where To Catch The NCAA East Prelims: There will be live ESPN coverage of all four days of the NCAA East Prelims. The meet will be live streamed on ESPN+ on each day in Lexington.

ESPN+ Info:

Day One – Wednesday, May 22

ESPN+ – 5:58 p.m.:

Day Two – Thursday, May 23

ESPN+ – 5:58 p.m.:

Day Three – Friday, May 24

ESPN+ – 4:58 p.m.:

Day Four – Saturday, May 25

ESPN+ – 4:58 p.m.:

Live Results: For results throughout the weekend from the NCAA East Prelims, please visit:

Coach Caryl’s Comments: “We have reached the point of the season where improvements and personal bests are welcomed, but the key for the next four days is doing whatever it takes round by round to finish in the top 12 and qualify for Eugene,” said Georgia head coach Caryl Smith Gilbert. “We have put in the training and preparation necessary, and now I’m excited for us to get a step closer to our final goals. GO DAWGS!”

What Bulldogs Are Competing?: The Lady Bulldogs have qualified 16 individuals in a total of 13 events. Individually, Kaila Jackson (100m, 200m), Karsen Phillips (100m), Aaliyah Butler (400m), Haley Tate (400m), Sydney Harris (400m), Kimberly Harris (400m), Augenstein (1500m), Zoe Pollock (400m hurdles), Dominique Mustin (400m hurdles), Elena Kulichenko (high jump), Rush (long jump), Mikeisha Welcome (triple jump), Leah Anderson (triple jump), Kelsie Murrell-Ross (shot put), Ratcliffe (hammer throw) and Erin McMeniman (javelin) will compete for the women’s squad this week. In the relays, Jackson, Kimberly Harris, Phillips and Butler are expected to compete in the 4x100m relay while a combination of Butler, Sydney Harris, Kimberly Harris, Mustin, Tate and Pollock will run in the 4x400m relay.

On the men’s side, 13 individuals are slated to compete in 11 events. Jehlani Gordon (100m), Micah Larry (long jump, 100m), Christopher Morales Williams (400m), Hossam Hatib (400m), Wesley John (3000m steeplechase), Riyon Rankin (high jump), Nikolai van Huyssteen (pole vault), Zavien Wolfe (triple jump), Alexander Kolesnikoff (shot put), Gavin Beverage (shot put) and Marc Minichello (javelin) are all set to compete individually in Lexington. Larry, Gordon, Jordan McKenzie and Morales Williams are qualified in the 4x100m relay, and a combination of Morales Williams, Hatib, Gordon, McKenzie and Mekhi Gammons will take the track in the 4x400m relay.

LAST WEEK’S FLASHBACK – SEC Outdoor Championships (May 9-11): The Bulldogs began the postseason at the SEC Outdoor Championships in Gainesville, Fla., two weeks ago. The women’s team collected 72 points for a fifth-place finish while the men’s squad placed eighth with 50 points. Morales Williams and Kulichenko led the Bulldogs with SEC titles and facility records in the 400m and high jump, respectively, while setting national records for Canada (44.05) and Cyprus (1.95 meters/6 feet, 4.75 inches). Additionally, Morales Williams took over the world lead in the 400m with his time. Minichello added a third SEC title for the Bulldogs with his mark of 77.92m/255-7 in the javelin, earning his second conference title in the event in as many years.

The Bulldogs also set four school records on the meet’s final day, with Morales Williams (400m – 1st place, 44.05), Kulichenko (high jump – 1st, 1.95m/6-4.75), Butler (400m – 4th, 49.79), and Jackson (100m – 2nd, 10.95) rewriting the Georgia record books with their performances. Jackson (100m), Mustin (400mH), Welcome (triple jump), Ratcliffe (hammer), Larry (long jump), and van Huyssteen (pole vault) all earned silver medals in Gainesville while Rush took bronze in the heptathlon. In three days of competition, the Bulldogs posted 22 scoring performances.

Diploma Dawgs: Eight Bulldogs who will compete at this weekend’s NCAA East Prelims officially earned degrees from UGA earlier this month. The recently graduated Bulldogs who are set to compete in Lexington are Augenstein, John, Kolesnikoff, McMeniman, Minichello, Mustin, Pollock, and Welcome.

Outdoor SEC Honors: Minichello was named Southeastern Conference Men’s Co-Field Athlete of the Week following his javelin performance at the Hurricane Collegiate Invitational on March 23. The graduate student posted a mark of 82.32m/270-1 to win the javelin throw and move into the national lead by more than 10 feet. The 2022 NCAA javelin champion is the No. 12 all-time collegiate performer and No. 2 in Georgia history in the event.

The Bulldogs added two more weekly SEC honors following the Tom Jones Memorial Invitational on April 12-13. Kulichenko was named SEC Women’s Field Athlete of the Week after her win in the women’s high jump invite while Rankin’s runner-up performance in the men’s high jump invite earned him SEC Men’s Freshman of the Week honors. Kulichenko’s mark of 1.92m/6-3.50 moved her to second in the NCAA this season while Rankin’s top jump of 2.21m/7-3 is currently tied for ninth nationally, including first among freshmen.

Rankin added a second SEC Freshman of the Week award for his performance at the LSU Invitational on April 27. The Brunswick, Ga., native cleared a height of 2.20m/7-2.50 to finish second in the high jump, marking his second-best performance of the season.

Dawgs In The Top 10: Heading into the NCAA East Prelims, 12 Bulldog qualifiers are ranked in the top 10 nationally in their respective events.

For the women:

High Jump – 2nd – Kulichenko (1.95m/6-4.75)

400m – 4th – Butler (49.79)

Shot Put – 5th – Murrell-Ross (18.33m/60-1.75)

200m – 5th – Jackson (22.38)

100m – 6th – Jackson (10.95)

4x400m Relay – 7th – Butler, K. Harris, S. Harris, Tate (3:27.02)

400mH – 8th – Mustin (55.60)

Hammer – 10th – Ratcliffe (67.68m/222-0)

For the men:

400m – 1st – Morales Williams (44.05)

Javelin – 1st – Minichello (82.32m/270-1)

400m – 8th – Hatib (45.12)

High Jump – T-9th – Rankin (2.21m/7-3)

A Glimpse At The 2023 NCAA East Prelims: The Bulldogs qualified 23 entries for the 2023 NCAA Outdoor Championships through their performances in last year’s NCAA East Prelims in Jacksonville, Fla. That group of athletes joined Kyle Garland, who automatically qualified for NCAA Outdoors in the decathlon, in heading to Austin, Texas, to compete for a national title two weeks later. Kulichenko (high jump – 1.82m/5-11.50) and the men’s 4x400m relay team of Elija Godwin, Matthew Boling, Morales Williams, and Will Sumner (3:04.71) placed first in their respective events to lead the Bulldogs at the meet. A total of nine current Bulldogs qualified for Nationals in 12 events, including Minichello (javelin), McMeniman (javelin), Morales Williams (4x100m, 4x400m), Kulichenko (high jump), Welcome (triple jump), Jackson (100m, 200m, 4x100m), Butler (400m, 4x100m, 4x400m), Mustin (400mH, 4x400m), and Tate (4x400m).

What’s Next For The Bulldogs?: The Bulldogs who finish in the top 12 in their respective events this weekend will compete at the 2024 NCAA Outdoor Championships in Eugene, Ore., from June 5-8. The site will also play host to the U.S. Olympic Trials later that month, which will run from June 21-30 at the Hayward Field facility.