Kendell Williams

ATHENS, Ga. – Kendell Williams of Georgia picked up the highlighted headlines on the first day of the NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships in Birmingham, Ala., on Friday. Complete and Live Results | Team Scores: Women | Men

Williams, a junior put on a solid display to secure her third consecutive national pentathlon crown.

The American, who had two collegiate records in her three personal records during the pentathlon, highlighted the meet by topping her collegiate record in the pentathlon’s 60-meter hurdles and equaling a 12-year-old school record to start the five-event competition.

She finished the competition with a total of 4,703 points, which topped her own collegiate record for the competition and became the fourth American all-time to score over 4,700 points.

Williams’ main rival and pre-championship favourite for the title, Akela Jones of Kansas State, suffered an unfortunate fall in the first event of the competition and fell off the pace.

The Barbados star clipped the final barrier in the 60m hurdles and fell on the ground, and although she managed to get up and finished in 10.98 seconds, the 540 points scored put her at a huge disadvantage.

Jones used a series of personal bests, including an all-time collegiate record in the pentathlon high jump to move into third place heading into the final event, the 800m.

However, she was unable to contest the last event, revealing that she just didn’t have anything left and her body was beginning to shut down. Her final points total was 3,623 for 14th place.

Taliyah Brooks of Arkansas tallied 4432 for second place, with third going to USC’s Amalie Iuel, who scored 4,425 points.

After the first day, Georgia women lead the team score with 47 points.

“I am really proud of how our team reacted to their first day here,” said first-year Bulldog head coach Petros Kyprianou. “We are ahead of the pace where I thought we would be.

“Five of our team members were in finals and all scored so you have to be happy about that. Kendell really stepped it up for us by winning and then coming back with points in the long jump.

“I am also pleased with the way all three heptathletes started, especially how Garrett was able to take the day one lead. I am hoping that crew and our other people competing (on Saturday) ride this momentum and build on it.”

Arkansas (19pts) and Notre Dame (18pts) are the top three teams.

On the men’s side, Oregon leads with 25pts, ahead of Washington (18pts) and SE Louisiana (15.50pts).

Kendell Williams

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