Georgia men finish 5th in NCAA track championships

Matthew Boling has established Georgia records for 100 and 200 meters this season. His latest record came this weekend in the 200-meter dash at the Georgia Tech Invitational in Atlanta. (UGA Athletics)

Credit: Reily Rogers/Wade Event Photogra

Combined ShapeCaption
Matthew Boling has established Georgia records for 100 and 200 meters this season. His latest record came this weekend in the 200-meter dash at the Georgia Tech Invitational in Atlanta. (UGA Athletics)

Credit: Reily Rogers/Wade Event Photogra

ATHENS – Well, it wasn’t from lack of trying.

The Georgia men’s track team, which entered the NCAA Championships ranked No. 1, came up short in its quest to win a second national title in the past four years. The Bulldogs finished fifth with 32 points. That was 12 behind national champion Florida and just two behind runner-up Tennessee. Texas and Florida State tied for third with 33 points.

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“This meet has been a learning experience for our men but also an indicator of the talent and resolve we have with this group as we got to compete at an amazing place,” Georgia first-year coach Caryl Smith Gilbert said. “The goal for us today was to score as highly as possible in every event. We’ve been working incredibly hard on mental training and being resilient. I’m super excited that we are expecting almost the whole team who is here to be back next year. I am very proud of how we closed this meet going 4-for-4 on scoring opportunities and we can build on that next year in our quest to win the NCAA Championship.”

Georgia could have ended up on the top stand by pulling off a couple of victories in the sprint events late Friday night. But junior Matthew Boling finished second in the 200-meter dash and sixth in the 100. Florida’s Joseph Fahnbulleh – who Boling defeated to win the SEC championship in the 200 last month – took first place in both events.

Georgia got six more points when junior Elija Godwin recorded a third-place finish in the 400-meter run. A Covington native, Godwin ran a 44.50, which topped his previous school record of 44.61 set at last year’s SEC Championships.

The Bulldogs also got a runner-up finish in the high jump from sixth-year senior Darius Carbin.

Though disappointed not to bring home gold, the fifth-place finish by the Georgia men at Oregon’s Hayward Field marked the Bulldogs’ fourth consecutive top-five performance. Georgia now has scored at least 25 points at the past four national outdoor meets.

The meet continues Saturday with the finals of the women’s competition. The Lady Bulldogs will be represented by graduate transfer Jamari Drake and freshman Elena Kulichenko in the high jump at 5 p.m. ET and senior Titiana Marsh in the triple jump on the final day at 5:50 p.m.