Matthew Boling off to fast start for Georgia track

Georgia junior Matthew Boling got the 2022 indoor track and field season off to a quick start with a school record long jump of 27 feet, 0.75 inches and world best 200-meter time of 20.49 seconds at the Clemson Invite, the Bulldogs' first meet of the year. (Photo from UGA Athletics)

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Georgia junior Matthew Boling got the 2022 indoor track and field season off to a quick start with a school record long jump of 27 feet, 0.75 inches and world best 200-meter time of 20.49 seconds at the Clemson Invite, the Bulldogs' first meet of the year. (Photo from UGA Athletics)

ATHENS – Georgia track star Matthew Boling picked right up where he left off last season.

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The Bulldogs have barely gotten into the 2022 track season, and the junior from Houston already is dropping records and picking up accolades. Just this week Boling was named U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) national men’s athlete of the week. He’s the first UGA male to ever earn that distinction for indoors competition. Kendal Williams did it for the women’s team in February 2017.

Not coincidentally, Boling also was the SEC’s men’s runner of the week.

Why? Because Boling left the field behind in his first 200-meter race of the season. He clocked a world-leading time of 20.49 seconds at the Clemson Invite. That tied Boling’s third-best time of his career.

Boling set a school record in the long jump when he went 8.25 meters (27 feet, ¾ inches) on his second attempt to win by nearly half a foot. That’s 14th all-time on the NCAA’s list and the best mark in a January since 2002.

According to UGA’s sports communications office, no man in history has posted a combination of a 20.49 200 and a 27-0.75 long jump in an indoor meet.

Boling wasn’t the only UGA athlete to get out of the blocks fast. In her first collegiate meet, Kenondra Davis, a freshman from Fort Worth, Texas, rocketed to sixth on the school’s all-time list in the 200 with a time of 23.62 seconds and to seventh in UGA annals in the 60 meters (7.43) as she took third and ninth, respectively. She was named the SEC’s co-freshman of the week.

That represented a pretty good start to the indoor season for the Bulldogs and new coach Caryl Smith Gilbert. Coming to Georgia from Southern Cal -- where she led the Trojans to the 2021 women’s outdoor national championship -- Smith Gilbert has to be encouraged as the Bulldogs head over to Birmingham, Ala., for the Samford Invitational this weekend.

Samford happens to be the venue for the 2022 NCAA Indoor Championships.

“I always believe in having our team compete on the same track earlier in the season that they will compete on in March,” Smith Gilbert said. “The coaches were encouraged by last weekend’s opener and are aiming for more development and improvements on Friday.”

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