Georgia’s Boling and Cavanaugh: Teammates, roommates, champions

UGA track athletes Matthew Boling (left) and Caleb Cavanaugh have been competing alongside each other since their high school days at Strake Jesuit College Preparatory.

Credit: Photo courtesy of the University of Georgia

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UGA track athletes Matthew Boling (left) and Caleb Cavanaugh have been competing alongside each other since their high school days at Strake Jesuit College Preparatory.

Credit: Photo courtesy of the University of Georgia

When Caleb Cavanaugh committed to the Georgia men’s track and field team, it took only a few days for the Texas native to know he would find a familiar face on the Bulldogs’ roster. Within a week of that decision in October 2018, Matthew Boling joined Cavanaugh for the 875-mile trek from Houston to Athens.

From high school locker neighbors to college roommates, Cavanaugh and Boling have been running with each other since their sophomore year at Strake Jesuit College Preparatory.

This year, the two are on the Bulldogs’ 4x400-meter relay team that has won an SEC indoor title, and already in the outdoor season, set a school record. The relay team is aiming for the outdoor title this week at the SEC Championships, which will be competed Thursday-Saturday at the Ole Miss Track and Field Complex.

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This postseason could mark the last time Boling and Cavanaugh will compete in the relay together, as UGA adds new recruits and Boling puts more focus on the sprints. This year alone, Boling’s 100- and 200-meter times rank among the top six in the world.

“We’ll still be on the same team and going to the same meets together,” Cavanaugh said. “At the end of the day, if he is doing the events he wants to do and perform the best at, I am happy for him.”

The bond between Cavanaugh and Boling began at the 2017 New Balance Nationals Outdoor Championships when the two were part of the same 1,600 sprint medley relay group. They helped lead the team to a second-place finish – with the third-best time ever in the event.

During their senior season at Strake Jesuit, track and field coach Chadwick Collier hoped to put Cavanaugh and Boling on the relay together at the state championship, confident the group would beat the national record – set in 1985. However, plans changed when Cavanaugh injured his hamstring midseason.

“I think what really made our team special is that three of the four guys on that team competed on the same relay last year. I think we were able to really bond well and trust each other."

- UGA's Caleb Cavanaugh, on the Bulldogs' 4x400-meter relay

“We still won state in the 4x400-meter relay,” Collier said. “But with Caleb on it, we could have really made a run for the national record.”

Collier creates a team atmosphere within the individualized sport. This mentality is what made Georgia stand out to him and his athletes during the recruiting process.

“I really liked how close everyone was on the team, no matter what event they were in,” Cavanaugh said. “I just liked the fun the coaches had with the athletes, too, so it was a really, really good family atmosphere.”

Cavanaugh and Boling went on two official visits together as potential Bulldogs. Boling’s decision to commit to Georgia came after Cavanaugh’s, with the familiar face being a consideration in his decision.

“I knew [Caleb] was coming here, so we would discuss it pretty much every day,” Boling said. “I talked to his parents, too, when he decided to commit to Georgia. I wanted to hear what helped them with their decision.”

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The University of Georgia's 4x400-meter relay team at the 2022 Razorback Invitational in January. From left: Elija Godwin, Matthew Boling, Bryce McCray and Caleb Cavanaugh.

Credit: Walt Beazley

The University of Georgia's 4x400-meter relay team at the 2022 Razorback Invitational in January. From left: Elija Godwin, Matthew Boling, Bryce McCray and Caleb Cavanaugh.

Credit: Walt Beazley

caption arrowCaption
The University of Georgia's 4x400-meter relay team at the 2022 Razorback Invitational in January. From left: Elija Godwin, Matthew Boling, Bryce McCray and Caleb Cavanaugh.

Credit: Walt Beazley

Credit: Walt Beazley

Both athletes have earned honors as Bulldogs. They were named first-team indoor All-Americans for the 4x400-meter relay in March. Most recently, alongside Elija Godwin and Bryce McCray, the relay team set a school record at the Tom Jones Invitational.

“I think what really made our team special is that three of the four guys on that team competed on the same relay last year,” Cavanaugh said. “I think we were able to really bond well and trust each other.”

A lot has changed since Cavanaugh and Boling moved into the same room at McWhorter Hall three years ago. While many see their success as athletes, many do not see the obstacles that come with being teammates and roommates.

“Freshman year, Matthew was really messy,” Cavanaugh said. “He’s definitely gotten a lot better, so it’s not as bad anymore.”

Whether it’s paying the bills or passing the baton on the track, the two have grown to be more than teammates. They eagerly re-signed their apartment lease to live together in Athens for one final year.

“We’re roommates so we have to pay the same bills,” Boling said. “We’re still the same friends. The only thing that’s really changed now is we have adult responsibilities we have to take care of.”

Despite many successes under their belt and the potential for more, their friendship surpasses the accolades they have received. Cavanaugh and Boling are heading into the SEC Outdoor Championships for potentially the last time on the same relay team, yet one thing will remain constant – their unbreakable bond.

Maggie Ruland is a student in UGA’s Carmical Sports Media Institute.