We’ve brought you up to speed on several Georgia athletic events this weekend, and a separate tennis recap will follow, but, because there is much afoot in Bulldog Nation, I have opted to take the Inigo Montoya approach. There being no time to explain everything adequately, I will provide you the short course in the Sunday sports summary:
The Georgia men’s swimming and diving team traveled to the Pacific Northwest for the NCAA Championships, where Martin Grodzki won an individual national crown with a personal-best 4:12.95 time in the 500-yard freestyle before he and three Bulldog teammates captured first-team All-American distinction in the four-man 800-yard freestyle relay. Grodzki, a two-time runner-up in the 1,650-yard freestyle, capped off his superb weekend in Washington by breaking the NCAA record with a first-place 14:24.08 1,650 time. The Bulldogs, who arrived at the NCAA Championships ranked eleventh, finished in that same position, ten places behind national champion California.
The Georgia track and field teams began their outdoor season with the Georgia Relays in the Classic City on Friday and Saturday, winning in the men’s hammer throw, shot put, sprint medley relay, and triple jump, and in the women’s triple jump, before Morgann Leleux matched an eleven-year-old school record with a 14’3.5” pole vault.
In Saturday’s seven-a-side tournament in the Classic City, the Georgia soccer team claimed the championship with a 5-1 record in a series of round-robin 30-minute matches capped off by a final against Armstrong Atlantic. The Bulldog women fell, 3-2, to North Georgia but claimed victories over Kennesaw State (3-1), Armstrong Atlantic (4-2), Mercer (5-2), and Georgia College (5-2) to set up a finals rematch with the Pirates, who had gone 3-1-1 through round-robin play.
The Red and Black’s early outings featured the first two goals scored as an Athenian by Chika Ibiam, a rising junior forward I wanted to mention because her name sounds like the title of my four-year-old daughter’s favorite children’s book by Bill Martin, Jr., and John Archambault. Ibiam’s fellow juniors-to-be, forward Meghan Gibbons and midfielder Nicole Locandro, both notched hat tricks in the 6-2 victory over Armstrong Atlantic in the finals. Gibbons tallied at least one goal in each of Georgia’s six games on Saturday.
After firing a nine-under 279 in the second round of the Linger Longer Invitational, the No. 25 Georgia men’s golf team finished second behind No. 7 Alabama. The Bulldogs’ Nick Reach was the tournament’s individual runner-up after losing a playoff to the Crimson Tide’s Cory Whitsett, whose concluding eagle trumped Reach’s closing birdie.
The 24th-ranked Bulldogs, who were in first place in the SELC Southwest Division, took a long road trip to Blacksburg to face the ninth-ranked Hokies, who were in first place in the SELC Northwest Division, on Sunday afternoon. On a rainy day in the Old Dominion, Virginia Tech unleashed 21 shots (as compared to Georgia’s 17) to pull out a hard-fought 4-3 victory over the Red and Black. The Athenians will return home sporting a 9-2-1 record to face Central Florida next Saturday before closing out the regular season against Clemson on April 4 and Georgia Tech on April 14.
The No. 11 Georgia softball team, which carded a 6-0 triumph over Georgia State on Wednesday, swept its SEC series with Ole Miss in Oxford this weekend. The three-game set began with an 8-4 win on Friday in which catcher Ashley Razey went three for four with a home run and starter Erin Arevalo notched her eleventh win with five flawless frames. Razey again led the way on Saturday, smacking a pair of two-run homers in a 9-0 Georgia win. In the circle, Tess Sito ran her record to 7-0.
In Sunday’s finale, the Red and Black used a seven-run seventh inning to claim an 8-0 victory. After a two-out bases-loaded walk gave the Bulldogs a 1-0 edge in the fifth frame, a Sito triple got the offensive outburst underway. A double, a single, a wild pitch, a fielder’s choice, a walk, and a pair of Rebel errors sparked the explosion. Sito set the pace at the plate, going two for three and batting in a pair of runs.