LEXINGTON, Ky. – University of Kentucky track and field athletes received top honors in the conference, nation and world this week. The men’s 4x400 meter relay time established Saturday is best in the world. Senior John Richardson’s under-four minute mile run ranks top-three in the nation and as a result the Southeastern Conference recognizes Richardson and freshman Brendan Ames this week for their awesome performances at last weekend’s Rod McCravy Memorial Track Meet.
According to the International Association of Athletics Federations website (IAAF.org), the UK men’s 4x400m relay time of 3:07.72 currently ranks as fastest on the globe. The men’s relay team consisting of seniors Justin Harrison and Nate Browning, freshman Kendrick Maiden and junior Jose Acevedo beat out Texas A&M and Florida to earn an NCAA provisional mark and break the McCravy meet record the Wildcats set a year ago. As a matter of fact, the Aggies' and Gators’ times rank them second and third world-wide, respectively, behind the Cats.
Senior John Richardson broke the four-minute mile barrier for only the second time in Kentucky history at the final home meet of his career. Richardson shined as the first collegiate runner across the finish line at 3:59.35. His time ranks third nationally according to the latest rankings on trackwire.com this week.
Richardson earned an NCAA automatic-qualifying mark for his performance, the first of the season for the Cats. His time is a personal-best and ranks second all-time at UK behind Bob Whelan’s time of 3:58.77 – a mark that has stood for 18 years. Richardson’s mile run is the best thus far in the SEC by over two and a half seconds.
“John’s run a lot of great races,” Weber said. “He might have better races with a slower pace at the beginning or with a tactical race, but sub-four minutes in the mile is a standard that is recognized world-wide. To join that club is pretty special and to get the automatic qualifying out of the way to compete at the National Championships - it was a big, big day for him.”
In the 60 meter hurdle finals, freshman Brendan Ames finished right behind Wildcat teammate Mikel Thomas (7.93) who just happened to break Kentucky’s 36-year-old varsity record in the event. In the finals, Ames darted to a 7.97 finish setting his own record, the UK all-time freshman mark in the event for a second time on the day and third time in three weeks. His mark ranks as the third-best in school history trailing only Thomas and former varsity title-holder Chuck Peters.
For their tremendous performances last weekend, the Southeastern Conference awarded Richardson with the SEC Male Runner of the Week Award and recognized Ames with the conference award for SEC Male Freshman of the Week as announced by the league’s office in Birmingham, Ala., Tuesday.
This year the Cats have achieved many early successes during the indoor season and the numbers are staggering. After only three meets this season, two UK varsity indoor records have fell as well as two freshman indoor records. Kentucky athletes also broke two McCravy meet records last weekend. In addition, 31 new top-ten times and marks have been entered into the UK records books so far this year.
Two UK women rank at the top of their events this season alongside the top-three efforts of Richardson and the men’s 4x400m relay team. In the latest trackwire.com performance rankings, junior Ashley Muffet’s shot put throw of 55-03.00 places her second nationally in the event, while sophomore Jenna Martin’s time of 53.55 ranks second on the 400m dash listing. Both athletes’ accomplished their feats at the McCravy Meet.