LEXINGTON, Ky. – The University of Kentucky track and field teams opened the final day of competition with two event wins and concluded the meet with victories in both the men’s and women’s the 4x400m relay in the Kentucky Invitational held at E.J. Nutter Field House Saturday.
Kentucky freshman Brendan Ames entered his name into the school record books with an 8.04 performance in the 60m Hurdles. The old record of 8.12 held by Warren Wilson stood for 6 years. Ames also won the men’s long jump with a leap of 23-20.75.
UK junior Ashley Muffet earned the Cats’ only provisional mark, used to gain at-large entry into the NCAA Indoor Championships in March, after finishing second in the women’s shot put with a throw of 53-03.50. Freshman Jennifer Svoboda finished just behind in third with a heave of 49-06.50, just inches short of earning a provisional nod.
On the men’s side of the shot put, junior Rashaud Scott clinched his third event title in three events with a winning toss of 57-05.50. Senior Andy Fryman’s throw of 56-03.75 was good for second place.
The final two events of the day, the 4x400m relays, provided the most drama for the Wildcats and the fans.
UK’s women’s squad held off Tennessee in the final stretch to earn the relay title with a time of 3:40.07, just 0.07 off of a provisional mark. The Wildcat men battled Western Kentucky for the better of three legs before UK took the lead for good just before the final baton exchange. With a time of 3:10.62, and like the women’s squad just missed their provisional mark by 0.22.
“Hats off to both of our 4x400m teams for defending home turf,” said assistant coach for sprints and hurdles Erin Tucker. “We were close to provisional times in both relays. We have a little work to do on each side but they were both great openers. The Western Kentucky men and Tennessee women came ready to run and that gave our fans a great show.”
Wildcat seniors Stephan Smith and John Richardson battled to the finish of the men’s 800 meter run. Smith earned the win by just over a second.
Freshman Danielle Sampley came within six seconds of writing her name in the record book like her classmate Ames in the same event, the 60m hurdles, with a time of 8.58.
Two Wildcat sprinters finished as the first collegiate past the line after finishing behind unattached runners. Junior Gordon McKenzie finished second in the men’s 60m dash while classmate Jose Acevedo did the same in the men’s 200m dash. UK’s Brandon Austin finished 0.01 seconds behind McKenzie in the 60m to claim third overall.
Junior Ashley Newby claimed third in the long jump, just ahead of two teammates splitting time between hurdles and the field event, Sampley and junior Ashley Trimble.
Junior Jessica Ortman led the distance runners with two top-five finishes on the day in the women’s mile and the 800m runs. Several Wildcats earned personal bests on both squads in the 3000-meter run with six UK runners finishing in the top ten.
Participating teams at the Kentucky Invitational included: Alabama (women only), Arkansas State, Clemson (women only), Eastern Kentucky, Furman, Georgia Tech, Kentucky, Kentucky State, Marshall (women only), Michigan (women only), Middle Tennessee State, Ohio State (women only), Pittsburgh (women only), Tennessee (women only), Vanderbilt (women only), Western Kentucky, and Wright State.
The Wildcats hit the road next weekend when they compete at the SEC/Big Ten Challenge in Bloomington, Ind.