This story was written by Sarah Detwiler of Grady Sports. The Grady Sports Media Program is an undergraduate program for students at the University of Georgia.
Georgia sophomore Anna Hall knows what the stakes are going into the NCAA Division I men’s and women’s indoor track and field championships in Fayetteville, Arkansas this weekend.
Hall will have multiple chances at gold after qualifying in both the high jump and the pentathlon. She is seeded second in both events behind Texas A&M’s Tyra Gittens.
The two athletes are particularly close in the pentathlon, where Hall’s season-best of 4590 narrowly trails Gittens’ of 4612. Both numbers are among the 10 best collegiate performances of all-time. The pentathlon consists of five events all held in one day in the following order: 60-meter hurdles, high jump, shot put, long jump and 800-meters.
This rivalry dates back to Hall’s freshman year when Gittens placed first and Hall placed second at the 2020 SEC indoor championships. The two were unable to face off a couple of weeks later at the 2020 NCAA indoor national championships after the event was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
If Hall is to come out on top, she will need to improve her performance in the long jump. Over the course of this season, her jumps have fluctuated between a season-low of 5.44 meters at the 2021 SEC indoor championships and a personal best of 5.99 meters at the Razorback Invitational in late January.
“Long jump is one of my most inconsistent and weakest events,” Hall said. “Coach Petros and I have really worked a lot this fall and I still think there is maybe a little more there than I’ve shown this season.”
Hall typically excels in the high jump and the 800, but found recent success in the 60-meter hurdles when she clocked a personal best of 8.35 at the SEC indoor championships in late February.
Along with all of her improvements this year, Hall was named the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association South Region Women’s Field Athlete of the Year last Thursday. Georgia has won the last two USTFCCCA South Region Indoor Women’s Field Athlete of the Year awards and six of the last eight all-time.
While head coach Petros Kyprianou was happy to see Hall recognized he knows that she has bigger goals that she wants to achieve.
“I found out at practice and the first thing that coach Petros said was, ‘NCAA champ sounds a lot better,’” Hall said. “I was like, ‘Yes, yes it does,’” Hall said.
If Hall brings home the gold this weekend, she will be Georgia’s first national champion in the pentathlon since Olympian Kendell Williams scored 4682 points as a Bulldog in 2017.
Georgia’s long-standing success in the multi-events is due in large part to the work of Kyprianou, whose areas of expertise are the jumps and the multi-events. Hall lists Kyprianou as being the biggest reason why she chose to attend the University of Georgia.
“He’s the best multis coach in the country for sure, arguably the world,” Hall said.
Looking into the future beyond indoor and outdoor collegiate competition, Hall is hoping to land herself a spot on the 2021 U.S. Olympic heptathlon team.
“Balancing NCAA and Olympic goals was, again, part of the reason that I chose to come here with Petros,” Hall said. “He’s placed a lot of focus on getting people to the next level and then getting people to the Olympics.”
More Georgia Track and Field stories
- Six Bulldog women qualify for the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships in jumps
- Heptathlon presents big opportunity for Georgia Track at NCAA Championships
- The men’s 4×400 relay team is UGA’s “dark horse” leading up to the NCAA championships
- Georgia women’s pole vaulters Kayla Smith, Julia Fixsen poised to earn medals at NCAA Indoor Championships