NCAA DI Outdoor Championships: Georgia Men Win National Title

EUGENE, Oregon – Georgia entered the 2018 NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships ranked third in the Men’s Pre-Championships National Team Rankings.

The Bulldogs knew they had to work to do to close the gap between them and the duo of Florida and Texas Tech, which sat first and second, respectively.

Well, Georgia went to work at Historic Hayward Field and scored 44 points in the field and eight more on the track en route to its first national title in program history.

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Denzel Comenentia scored 20 points by himself on Wednesday, winning the hammer and shot put titles. Comenentia became just the third man in NCAA DI history to accomplish that feat (Auburn’s Cory Martin and California’s Jack Merchant).

The Bulldogs added 14 more points to their total on Thursday after Karl Saluri and Johannes Erm went 2-3 in the decathlon. Saluri and Erm are the first teammates to finish in the top-3 of the decathlon since 1993.

Georgia totaled 18 more points on Friday to put them ahead of runner-up Florida for good. The Bulldogs received 10 points from a 3-5 finish in the high jump from Keenon Laine and Antonios Merlos and eight more between Cejhae Greene and Kendal Williams in the 100 and 200, respectively.

Florida kept pace with Georgia for most of the meet thanks to the efforts of Grant Holloway, KeAndre Bates on Friday and a trio of throwers on Wednesday. Holloway repeated as champion in the 110 hurdles and helped the Gators to a third-place finish in the 4×100 and a fourth-place finish in the 4×400. Bates finished third in the triple jump and seventh in the long jump. Two days earlier, Florida went 1-7-8 in the hammer to become the first program to have three men score in the event since 2006 (Virginia Tech).

Houston, the third-place team, started the day with a bang. The Cougars’ 4×100 relay broke a 29-year-old collegiate record when they clocked a time of 38.17. Cameron Burrell, the anchor of that relay team, also won an individual title in the 100, while teammates Elijah Hall and Mario Burke finished second and eighth, respectively.

Southern California rounded out the podium with a banner day. The Trojans broke three collegiate records on Friday: Michael Norman in the 400 (43.61), Rai Benjamin in the 400 hurdles (47.02) and then Norman and Benjamin teamed up with Ricky Morgan Jr. and Zach Shinnick to demolish the 4×400 relay standard in 2:59.00.