Georgia track and field looks to contend for championships in 2017

The University of Georgia’s track and field team is getting ready to begin the 2017 indoor track and field season Jan. 7 as it travels to Clemson to compete in the Orange & Purple Classic.

Last season the women’s team finished third in both the SEC and NCAA Indoor Championships, while the men finished fifth in the SEC and tied for 24th in the NCAA Indoor Championships. This season, second-year head coach Petros Kyprianou believes the team has what it takes to take both the men and women’s team to the next level and make the University of Georgia proud.

In regards to the women’s team, for Kyprianou he knows it is unavoidable to say that the team is not looking for their first ever national championship.

“This is our goal, the girls are aware, they know, on paper we look very good,” Kyprianou said. “However, that’s the most difficult part.”

Making sure the women are ready to go, healthy, eligible and happy is one of his most difficult jobs. For Kyprianou it is more than just knowing that he has a good looking team on paper. He needs his team to compete on the biggest stage.

“Preparation is everything for us,” Kyprianou said. “Preparation leads to expectation. Our goal is to go represent the university at a very high level and compete for championships.”

Even though his men’s team did not have nearly as good of a season as the women did last year, Kyprianou still has hope and believes that, like the women, his men’s team looks very good on paper and he believes he has brought the proper athletes to help bring this team one step further.

“I named six captains, three on each side, and those are the ones, not necessarily the superstar, five-star elite quarterback, but they bring some high leadership skills to the team like Tatiana Gusin and Kendal Williams on the men’s side,” Kyprianou said. “He’s new here, but he’s made a lot of great things as a freshman at Florida State and now here.”

This offseason, the program invested a great deal of time and money into sprints and head coach Kyprianou is expecting feasible rise in production this year from his sprinters.

Kyprianou feels like his men’s team can make the jump as long as they stick to their roots and excel in the jumps and the multi-events. In order to make sure his team has what it takes to excel in those categories, Kyprianou went out and brought in two outstanding high jumpers this offseason, the No. 1 high jumper in the nation, Darius Carbin, as well as a transfer from Western Kentucky.

With the combination of those two new high jumpers and returning shot putters Alex Poursanidis and Denzel Comenentia, Kyprianou is expecting some big things from his team, but he knows that it is never easy for a freshman to come in and compete at the highest level right off the bat.
“It’s very difficult [to come in as a freshman and execute at the highest level] because track and field, as our athletic director told me the other day, ‘You guys are thoroughbreds,’” Kyprianou said. “Those are clear, clean-blooded, high-output racehorses and they need time to develop they don’t develop over night.”

This is why when Kyprianou goes out on the recruiting trail he does whatever he can to make sure he brings in the best of the best in order to give his team a slight edge and save them some time in developing the young athletes.

“You never know what a freshman will do, unfortunately that’s the burden of our profession,” Kyprianou said. “But if the athlete has a good head above his or her shoulders and they know what they want and they work hard, they might actually pull something off.”

When speaking of who Kyprianou thinks will be Georgia’s biggest competition in the SEC this season he mentioned Arkansas, Florida, and LSU.

“This is our first recruiting class and I’m very excited to see what they can do on the track to supplement what we do on the field,” Kyprianou said.

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