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UK Track & Field to Face First True Road Test at VT

track1BLACKSBURG, Va. (2/7/14) – For the first time in 2014 the Kentucky track and field teams will hit the road as the Wildcats will travel to Virginia Tech for the Doc Hale Elite Meet, which begins today, Friday, and runs through Saturday.

The meet will begin on Friday at 5 p.m. ET, while the Saturday field events will begin and 11 a.m. and the running events start at 1 p.m.

Wildcats Hit the Road for First Time in 2014

The Doc Hale Elite Meet will be headlined by three top-10 Southeastern Conference women’s teams: No. 4 Florida, No. 5 Georiga and the eighth-ranked Wildcats.

The remainder of the field is composed of eight Atlantic Coast Conference programs (Duke, Maryland, Miami, NC State, Pittsburgh, Virginia, Virginia Tech and Wake Forest) and East Carolina.

Live results will be provided by http://www.flashresults.com/.

Friday Preview

Much of the meet’s action will be packed into three-hour window beginning at 5 p.m. on Friday.

HirunI Wijayaratne will get things started for UK in the women’s mile, while the women’s long jump will begin at the same time with Joanne Imbert in flight one. Kenyattia Hackworth will make her UK debut in the second fliht alongside Sha’Keela Saunders, who herself is coming off an impressive first competition in the event two weeks ago at the Rod McCravy Memorial.

Other top Wildcats competing on Friday include recent addition to the United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) Bowerman Award Watch List, Dezerea Bryant in the 60 meters and Kendra Harrison.

Harrison, who was added to the Bowerman Watch List as “receiving votes” on Thursday, will compete in the 60-meter hurdles alongside fellow-All-American teammate Kayla Parker as well as former All-ACC selection Leah Nugent.

Matt Hillenbrand will look to backup an elite 3,000m performace – in which he broke eight minutes for the first time  - two weeks ago, when he takes the track in his signature indoor event: the mile.

UK Notes

The UK men’s team has had two major standout performers for UK thus far.

  • Brad Szypka is undefeated in three meets this season. He won the McCravy shot put title with a personal best throw 19.43 meters / 63 feet 9 inches, which ranks ninth nationally. Szypka finished in fourth-place in SEC shot put in 2013, and missed NCAA Indoor Championships by about an inch (17th best in nation) and then was similarly close to the shot put final.
  • Matt Hillenbrand won the 3,000 meters at the McCravy, his first time breaking eight minutes. He defended his meet title, dominating a great field which included three-time All-American Parker Stinson (Oregon), posting a time which ranks No. 2 in the SEC and 12th nationally.
  • Keffri Neal has also been solid in 2014. He won his first two races of 2014, and then ran a PR in the McCravy 800 meters with a personal best time: 1:49.0.

The UK women’s team checked in at No. 8 in the most recent USTFCCCA national poll, down two spots from the previous week after not competing this past weekend.

  • UK had a Wildcat selected as SEC Women’s Runner of the Week after each of the two meets the Wildcats have competed in this year.
  • Kendra Harrison picked up the honor last week after posting a time that (after last weekend) was tied for the world lead (7.96) in the women's 60-meter hurdles, and she anchored the (then) world-leading 4x400-meter relay time (3:33.35).
  • Impressively all the action came against stellar fields – the 60h included last year's national-runner up in the event, Tiffani McReynolds, as well as four of the top seven hurdlers in the nation at the time. Her 60H time was just .01 shy of the all-time collegiate top-10. Harrison and UK's win in the 4x400-meter relay came against defending NCAA Champion Oregon, a team which returned three of four legs from its 2013 indoor championship lineup.
  • Dezerea Bryant picked up the honor two weeks ago: (Jan 21), and she continues to hold the nation’s fastest 60-meter time (7.19 seconds) and ranks No. 2 in the nation in the 200 meters (23.04), both of which are school records.
  • She tied a 2012 Olympic Gold Medalist (Tiana Bartoletta – USA 4x100m relay) to win the McCravy 60m and then was part of UK’s 4x400m relay winning team.
  • Bryant made one of the most memorable debuts in Kentucky track and field history last Saturday at the Kentucky Invitational, breaking two school records: one in nation-leading time and another as the No. 2 performance in the country this season.
  • Taking the Nutter Field House track for the first time, Bryant smashed former Olympic Bronze Medalist Passion Richardson’s 18-year-old 60m record (7.34) with a nation-leading and personal-best tying time of 7.19 seconds.
  • She then obliterated another UK record by crossing the 200-meter finish line in 23.04, posting the na-tion’s No. 2 performance in the process. Bryant’s 200m time bettered the previous UK record of 23.34, which had been held by Michelle Brown since 1997.

SurfKY News
Information provided by UK Athletics

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