Local Bulldogs Williams, Scantling just miss out on Olympic track team


EUGENE, Ore. – Former Bulldog Garrett Scantling finished within one spot of qualifying for Rio at the U.S. Olympic Track & Field Trials in Eugene, Ore., on Sunday.

In addition, sophomores Mady Fagan (high jump) and Kendal Williams (100-meter dash) battled in close finals in the meet’s third day.

Georgia’s only competitor on Monday is sophomore Keturah Orji, who will go in the qualifying round of the triple jump at 7:15 p.m. ET.  Orji is the outdoor collegiate and American record holder in the event after sweeping both the Southeastern and NCAA titles in 2016.

Scantling and junior Devon Williams finished just where they started the second day of the decathlon, in the fourth and fifth positions.  Scantling finished fourth points behind his personal record with 8,228 points thanks in part to three personal bests.  Williams tallied four personal bests and finished fifth overall with 7,927 points, which was one point behind his tally at this year’s Bulldog Decathlon.

Scantling started his Sunday with a personal-best time (14.13) in the 110m hurdles to finish fourth.  He returned in the discus and hit a mark of 143 feet, 7 inches for sixth place.  Scantling again finished fourth in the pole vault with a first attempt clearance at 15-11.

In the ninth event, Scantling recorded his third personal best of the competition by winning the javelin.  Letting go of two javelin attempts of at least 203 feet, he reached 227-7 on his third and final throw to win by nearly 37 feet.  Sitting in third place overall going into the 1500m, Scantling slipped to fourth after taking 14th in the final race with a 5:02.32.

Scantling captured three SEC heptathlon titles between 2013-16 and was a four-time First Time All-American in the decathlon and heptathlon.  He stands 10th on the all-time collegiate performer list with the 13th-best score in history.  Scantling tallied 8,232 points at last year’s Bulldog Decathlon, easily surpassing the 8,100-point standard.

Williams finished second in the day’s first event, the 110-meter hurdles, to the 2012 Olympic gold medalist and 2016 Trials winner, Ashton Eaton.  Williams ran a 13.98, which narrowly missed his personal record.  In the discus, he reached a personal-best distance of 149-1 to take fifth, marking his fourth personal record of the meet.

Williams slipped to 12th in the pole vault after only reaching 14-7.25.  He then finished 11th in the javelin when his second toss in the javelin measured 164 feet, which was at last 11 feet shorter than his other three meets in 2016.  Williams’ finale was a 4:47.88 to finish 10th in the 1500.

A native of Marietta, Ga., Williams hit the decathlon standard to finish third at this year’s SEC Outdoor Championships.  The 2015 First Team indoor All-American scored 8,116 points after running a necessary personal best in the 1500m to pass the 8,100-point cut-off.

Fagan cleared her first two heights of the day on her first attempt and then went out at 6-2.25 to finish seventh in the high jump finals.  After going over the bar at 5-10.50, Fagan matched her qualifying round mark of 6-0.50.

This concludes a season that saw Fagan first finish second in the high jump at the SEC Indoor Championships.  Then, the Los Gatos, Calif., native won the SEC outdoor title and was second at the NCAA Outdoor Championships.  Fagan finished with a personal record of 6-1.25 during her second season as a Lady Bulldog.

Sophomore Kendal Williams tied the second-best 100m time in school history with a personal record of 10.04 in the semifinal round, coming within .03 of the 22-year-old school record.  The Jacksonville, Fla., native finished with the 10th-fastest time overall and was fifth in the fastest heat of the day, missing the finals by just two spots.  Williams redshirted this season after transferring from Florida State following his freshman season in 2015.

A top-three finish at the Trials will clinch a trip to Rio de Janeiro (August 12-21) for Kendal Williams, who will also race in the 200m, sophomore Keturah Orji (triple jump) and junior Kendell Williams (heptathlon) after they have all recorded the Olympic standard in their respective events.