EUGENE, Ore. – Kentucky’s Sha’Keela Saunders finished as the national runner-up in the long jump to score eight points during the first day of the 2014 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships on Wednesday.
The freshman – who was the East Region Champion two weeks ago with a school-record mark of 21-feet, 1¼ inches/6.43 meters – equaled that mark on her third attempt. The jump proved to be her best of the evening as she reached 20-5¾/6.24m three times, and soared 20-11¼/6.38m on her final attempt.
Saunders entered the final three attempts tied for the lead with Oregon’s Jenna Prandini, but the Duck sophomore recorded the winning mark of 21-6/6.55m on her fifth attempt.
Three Wildcats advanced to running-event finals on Wednesday. UK sent five entries into preliminary competition on Wednesday.
Two Wildcats advanced to the 400m hurdles final as Kendra Harrison was the top qualifier with a time of 55.56. Leah Nugent was third in her heat, but advanced on time in 57.15.
Keffri Neal cruised into the 800m final with a prelim-winning time of 1:49.30.
The Wildcats will get back into action on Wednesday at 5 p.m. ET as Madison Jacobs and Rebecca Famurewa will compete in the second flight of the women’s discus.
Allison Peare and Matt Hillenbrand will be in the women’s and men’s 1,500m prelims, Kayla Parker and Harrison will be in the 100m hurdles prelims and the women’s 4x400m relay will also attempt to qualify for the NCAA Final.
UK sprinter Dezerea Bryant scratched from the women’s 100m with a foot injury.