Fifth-year University of Georgia senior Kyle Garland '18 set the collegiate heptathlon record to win his first national championship with the world’s second-best score in history during the final day of the NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships in the Albuquerque Convention Center Saturday.
Garland, a native of Philadelphia, Pa., topped fellow Pennsylvania native and Arkansas junior Ayden Owens-Delerme by scoring 6,639 points to Owens-Delerme’s 6,518. Garland’s score shatters his previous school record of 6,415 set earlier this year, leaves Ashton Eaton’s 13-year-old collegiate record of 6,499 set at the 2010 NCAA meet behind and moves hinm to No. 2 in world history, trailing only Eaton’s 6,645 scored in 2012. Garland now takes control of both the all-time score in the heptathlon and the decathlon outdoors after he went for 8,720 points after 10 events last spring for the Bulldogs.
This marks Georgia’s third national championship in the event after Karel Tilga (6,264 points) won in 2021 and Devon Williams (6,177) captured gold in 2017. Garland was runner-up to Owens-Delerme last year with 6,200 and was also second to his teammate Tilga two years ago with the exact same score. The Bulldog men have now won seven NCAA individual crowns dating back to their first in 1995.
Garland scored the world’s second-best day one total in the heptathlon by any performer in history (top collegian) to hold a 155-point lead going into the second day after four of seven events. He tallied a personal record in the long jump to help him finish with 3,773 points to lead Owens-Delerme (3,618).
During the final three events on Saturday, Garland blasted a personal record 7.74 in the 60-meter hurdles, taking second in the event and holding a 152-point lead overall. After popping a previous personal best in the open hurdles at SECs (7.77), Garland now moves from No. 3 to No. 2 in the school record books with Saturday’s time.
Garland came in at 4.46 meters/16 feet, 7 ¼ inches, passed at the next height in the pole vault and then cleared six more bars to finish with his second personal best of the day. He soared over 5.16m/16-11 on his last attempt to finish third in the event and extend his lead to 214 points going into the 1000m.
In the 1000m, teammate Johannes Erm set the pace for Garland as Garland managed yet another personal record of 2:41.36 to take fifth overall and clinch his crown.
Garland and his teammates combined to take second with their top finish in school history after scoring a program record 40 points. The Lady Bulldogs finished fifth for the second time in three years after tallying 31 points.