Megan Broderick was a standout in tennis and later cross country before graduating from UK in 2012. (Chet White, UK Athletics)
Former UK tennis and cross country standout Megan Broderick is taking her professional career to the next level. Just a year after graduating from Kentucky, Broderick has found a home coaching at the John McEnroe Tennis Academy in New York City, while also working part-time for ESPN's production department at the Grand Slams.
Tennis may be Broderick's focus now, but that wasn't always the case for the multi-sport athlete.
Broderick's natural athletic ability allowed her to try her hand at almost every sport imaginable growing up, including basketball, gymnastics, soccer and, of course, tennis. However, playing competitive soccer and tennis at the same time is no easy feat, so at age 12 her parents told her to make a choice. Giving up soccer was tough, but Broderick committed to tennis and started traveling the country playing in tournaments.
Coming to Kentucky
The Wisconsin native moved to Tampa, Florida, when she was 15 years old and continued to pursue her tennis career. She started drawing attention from elite college coaches around the country, but wasn't satisfied with her early recruiting visits.
"I took my first four, and nothing really felt like it fit," said Broderick. "I came home and my dad mentioned that the UK coach was very interested in me. I was hesitant at first because I didn't know much about Kentucky, and I thought it was just out in the middle of nowhere. But I took a trip and I fit in really well with the team. Lexington was a good fit for me."
Aside from excelling in tennis and later cross country, Broderick gained more than just athletic accolades while she was at UK. Her five years as a student-athlete are a big reason why she has already had such a successful career after college.
"Just playing sports for a college teaches you a lot of discipline, and you have to interact with a lot of people throughout the day," said Broderick. "It really teaches you how to communicate with people and how to deal with diversity. Also, you're meeting people from around the world. It's been through those connections that I've been able to do other things and reach other opportunities."
Broderick's relationships with her college teammates helped broaden her outlook and build connections with people around the world, which has no doubt helped her in her professional career.
Megan Broderick works as a coach at the John McEnroe Tennis Academy in New York City. (Photo via Megan Broderick)
Life after graduation
Anyone who knows Broderick will tell you that she is a fierce competitor, so it's no surprise that after she graduated in 2012, she hit the ground running. She began working for John McEnroe Tennis Academy - known commonly as Sportime - in New York City as a coach for young kids hoping to follow in her footsteps.
After a year of coaching, she also became good friends with John McEnroe's younger brother, Patrick, who has helped her pursue her career in broadcast journalism.
"Through him I got connected to the production manager at ESPN, and they had some spots as 'runners' for Wimbledon," said Broderick. "So I took the job and went to Wimbledon for three weeks doing a lot of small work."
Broderick may have spent many mornings doing "run-downs" or getting coffee for the staff, but she also gained a lot of valuable experience in the world of television.
"It really opened my eyes to what goes on behind the scenes and see if this is something that I want to pursue," said Broderick. "I met the commentators and was able to have conversations with a lot of people at ESPN. It connected me to more people and pushed me in the direction I want to take my career."
Broderick returned from London and was relocated to one of Sportime's locations in the Hamptons, where she is back coaching. However, she plans on taking another part-time job with ESPN at the U.S. Open in New York City at the end of August.
What comes next?
Megan Broderick worked behind the scenes for ESPN at Wimbledon this summer. (Photo via Megan Broderick)
Once again, Broderick is approaching a crossroads in her career. She may not have to choose between coaching or broadcast just yet, but she is definitely looking toward the future.
"I think that coaching is amazing, and it's something that I have a lot of passion for," said Broderick. "At the same time I do see myself pursuing a broadcast career. I think that going to Wimbledon and working for ESPN reaffirmed that. "
Meanwhile, she is using her experience at Wimbledon to help take her coaching career to the next level.
"I'd never had time to see a grand slam from start to finish," said Broderick. "It helped me as a coach because I could watch matches live and see and hear different things than I would on TV. It gives you an insight to what the players are dealing with and what really goes on day-to-day at the tournament."
She also got to see how much work goes into putting together a grand slam and gained an even greater appreciation for the production staff, whom she referred to as the "real superstars."
"You have people who are producing the match live and people trying to get certain angles and see expressions during all the matches," said Broderick. "It kind of added a little bit to the whole experience."
A word of advice
Not every student-athlete gets a chance to pursue his or her passion beyond college, but Broderick has always kept her dreams in sight.
On one tennis trip while she was at UK, the entire team decided to purchase lottery tickets at a gas station on the side of the road. After purchasing the tickets, Broderick and her teammates discussed what they would do if they won the lottery, which forced her to think about what she wanted to do with her life.
"You have to ask yourself, 'If I had the means to, what would I be doing right now?' " said Broderick. "I think you should always have that outlook. That nothing can stop you from reaching your goals if you really want them."
Broderick has used this theory with her tennis students as well.
"I ask some of them why they play tennis, and they always answer the same way I did, 'I don't know. I just love it,' " said Broderick. "I think that's how it starts. You realize it's a part of you, and it makes it easier to want to give back to the sport. It's really rewarding."
Although she isn't a permanent employee of ESPN just yet, Broderick is taking her own advice and pursuing her love of tennis to the fullest. Meanwhile, she is enjoying her coaching career and her new life in New York.
"At this point in my life, it's somewhere I can see myself for a few years," said Broderick. "I think New York City has a lot of motivated and career-driven people. It inspires you everyday to go after your dreams and get things done."
Clearly, Broderick has taken that inspiration to heart.
Last week in Sandestin, Fla., UK's Megan Moir (women's golf) and Chelsea Oswald (track and field/cross country) were recognized at the Southeastern Conference's Spring Meetings.The two videos below were shown before Moir accepted the SEC's Brad Davis SEC Female Community Service Leader of the Year and H. Boyd McWhorter Scholar-Athlete of the Year awards. Take a look.
The University of Kentucky celebrated its 146th May Commencement on Sunday. (photo by Mark Cornelison)
During the University of Kentucky's 146 May Commencement on Sunday, 49 UK student-athletes received degrees. Forty-seven earned undergraduate diplomas and two received graduate degrees.
(Note: Includes student-athletes who received degrees after their completing eligibility.)
Baseball Thomas McCarthy Zac Zellers (Will complete coursework this summer)
Football Aaron Boyd La'Rod King Quentin McCord Craig McIntosh Kevin Mitchell Matt Smith Taylor Wyndham (Note: 2012 seniors Mikie Benton, Gabe Correll, Gene McCaskill, Morgan Newton, Cartier Rice, Collins Ukwu, Steven Duff and Sam Simpson graduated previously.)
Gymnastics Caitlyn Ciokajlo Storey Morris Whitney Rose
Men's basketball Twany Beckham Marquis Estill Jon Hood Jarrod Polson (Graduated in three years) (Note: Jamal Mashburn also received an honorary doctorate of humanities.)
Men's golf Joseph Barr
Men's soccer Pedro Andreoni Gabriel Conelian Barry Rice
Men's swimming and diving Jon Bullock Jon Keltner Ben Russell
Rifle Heather Greathouse
Softball Chanda Bell Kara Dill (Graduate degree in exercise science) Alice O'Brien Erika Silence
Track and field Katy Achtien Keith Hayes Ben Mason (Will complete coursework this summer) Chelsea Oswald Shiara Robinson Josh Nadzam (Masters of social work) Danielle Sampley Rashaud Scott Samantha Stenzel Hiruni Wijayaratne Megan Wright
Volleyball No graduates this weekend, but seniors Ashley Frazier and Christine Hartmann had already graduated.
Megan Moir was named the Brad Davis SEC Female Community Service Leader of the Year this week. (Chet White, UK Athletics)
Megan Moir and Chelsea Oswald have come to know each other well over the last four years.
Moir is on the Kentucky women's golf team and Oswald is a distance runner on the track and field and cross country teams. They aren't teammates, but their paths have crossed often since Oswald arrived in Lexington a year after Moir in 2009, most frequently as representatives on UK's Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, where Moir is president and Oswald the historian.
So when Oswald learned on Thursday that Moir had been named the Brad Davis Southeastern Conference Female Community Service Leader of the Year, Oswald naturally reached out. What Oswald didn't know at the time was congratulations would soon be in order for her as well.
"She actually sent me a text message to congratulate me about my award," Moir said. "And then it was cool because she won the next day."
On Friday, Oswald was named the SEC's H. Boyd McWhorter Scholar-Athlete of the Year, marking the first time since 1999 that UK student-athletes had won both the prestigious Davis and McWhorter awards.
Wildcat teams and athletes have had more than their share of moments of excellence in competition. Competing at the Division I level, of course, is what all of UK's 22 teams have in common. But perhaps more than anything else, the achievements of Moir and Oswald reflect what it means to be a Wildcat off the field.
"To have two people win in the same year, it definitely says something about the department," Moir said.
It says plenty about Moir and Oswald as individuals too.
During her time at UK, Moir has spent an astounding 700 hours serving the community, from inside the borders of Fayette County to across the Atlantic Ocean in Ethiopia with a group of fellow student-athletes. Moir, a native of Louisville, Ky., cites her Christian faith as the inspiration for her commitment to volunteering.
"I've been blessed with so many opportunities and so many privileges just because of the family and the life I was born into," Moir said. "I'm constantly looking at myself seeing how I can use what I've been given to give back and bless other people."
True to her words, Moir plans to use the $10,000 post-graduate scholarship that comes with the Davis award to do just that.
Last May, she received a B.S. degree in accounting and marketing and will complete her master's in sports leadership in a month. She is then planning to spend seven months in Uganda to do ministry and mission work. After that, she'll decide how best to put the scholarship money to use.
"Ideally long term, I want to do financial planning for people living on the margins of society, so I'll probably go back to school to get a master's in family or financial planning or something of that sort," Moir said.
Chelsea Oswald (Chet White, UK Athletics)
Oswald has more definitive plans for how she'll use her $15,000 scholarship. She expects to complete B.S. degrees in biology and psychology in May 2013 and June 2014, respectively. Once she finishes her undergraduate studies, she plans to attend physical therapy school.
If her college career to this point is any indication, you can expect her to fulfill those plans.
With her 4.0 grade-point average, Oswald has received almost every conceivable academic award, including the 2013 NCAA Elite 89 award. She did, however, admit to one close call that nearly blemished her perfect GPA. It was in a course called animal physiology and she was pleasantly surprised to look up her final grade when she returned to her home in Medina, Ohio for the summer and see an "A."
"I wouldn't have been upset if I had gotten a 'B' because I try my hardest with every class," Oswald said. "If I would have gotten a 'B,' I would have known I put all my effort into it. I think that's what success is: just knowing you've applied yourself as best as you can to the task at hand."
Oswald has certainly done that in competition throughout her career and has the results to prove it in 2012-13. She has had her best season under the leadership of first-year head coach Edrick Floreal, earning All-America honors in both cross country and indoor track and field.
"This whole last year has made a complete turnaround," Oswald said. "With the new coaching staff and everything, I think it's a blessing. I'm extremely thankful that they've helped turn my running career around and kind of everything in my life. I'm more positive about everything because I have more confidence."
That confidence translates to all facets, including service. Oswald is active in the track and field team's Soles4Souls shoe drive, mentors a young Lexington-area girl and volunteers with a number of other organizations, following the service-oriented lead of her friend Moir.
"I think it's good to get UK Athletics out there in the community," Oswald said.
And just as Oswald makes an impact in the area for which Moir was honored by the SEC, Moir stands out in the classroom. She is a two-time Academic All-American and graduated summa cum laude a year ago.
Moir and Oswald are two student-athletes who have made the most of every opportunity afforded to them at UK, from the classroom to the community to competition. And even as they received the most individual of awards this week, their reactions show why they are such excellent of examples of what it means to be a Wildcat.
"This award recognizes not only my achievements, but also all the great people who have helped me along the way," Oswald said. "I truly would not have been able to do this without the help of the whole University of Kentucky including my coaches, teammates and family."
"I am so very proud to be a Wildcat and it feels good to be able to represent the university that means so much to me," Moir said.
Kentucky track and cross country athletes Cally Macumber and Chelsea Oswald have had a season to remember. In their first year competing for a new coach staff, Macumber and Oswald were both All-Americans in cross country and are days removed from finishing first and fifth, respectively, in the 3,000-meter race at the Southeastern Conference Indoor Championships.
RT: You went 1-3 at SECs (in cross country) and then 1-3 again at the Southeast Regional, pretty remarkable. And then you got to return to Louisville for Nationals. What was your goal going in? Was it All-American (top 40)? Top 20? What were you thinking?
CM: I really had no idea how it would go because I'd never been to a national competition. If I wanted to be All-American I knew I had to be top 40 but in the back of my mind I was thinking maybe top ten. But again I had no idea what to expect. And I was really nervous but it turned out well.
RT: The indoor season has been more of the same -- running at a higher level than previous track seasons and seeing your names up among the best in the country. You've both raced three times indoors and have set personal bests. Can you keep improving?
CM: Obviously there was a lot of momentum at the end of cross country season and we didn't really want to take a break, but we did take a week off and then kind of picked up where we left off. I feel I can definitely improve because I've finished all my races feeling that I have more to give.
RT: Both of you will be back for two seasons during the 2013-2014 academic year, Cally for cross country and outdoor track and Chelsea for both indoor and outdoor track but not cross country. You're obviously a successful training duo and must be looking forward to keeping this going a while longer, right?
CO: We both have our strengths and our weaknesses, but luckily my strengths are her weaknesses and her strengths are my weaknesses. So we definitely complement each other a lot. We're both very competitive people, but we don't get upset with each other if one of us does better than the other. Everyone has good days and bad days. I'm done with cross country but I'll definitely be back and ready for action on the track.
Guy Ramsey took on the rigorous task last holiday season of dubbing Wildcats esteemed victors of the 2011 Scratchies. The Scratchies commemorate the best of the best of the fall semester, celebrating the many achievements and top events and performers so far in the athletic calendar. Guy has, with great regret and sorrow due to a stressful and hectic schedule, passed along the duties of handing out these illustrious Wildcats to me. After putting in countless hours of research and analysis, consulting with the Cat Scratches brain trust, and many sleepless nights, it is with great honor that I present to you the winners of 2012 Scratchies for the fall semester...
MVW (Most Valuable Wildcat) Cally Macumber (Cross Country) - The 2012 cross country season was one of the best in Kentucky history as junior Cally Macumber helped welcome new head coach Edrick Floreal with an individual SEC Championship. Macumber won the SEC Championship on Oct. 26, she earned SEC-best times in both the 5,000- and 6,000-meter events, won SEC Athlete of the Week twice, and was named 2012 SEC Cross Country Runner of the Year. She became the first Wildcat to win the women's SEC Title since 1989.
The Dream Team (team of the semester) Volleyball - For the second time in as many seasons and the third in four years under head coach Craig Skinner, the Kentucky volleyball team advanced to the Sweet 16. Kentucky earned the No. 16 seed in the NCAA Tournament, giving the Cats the opportunity to host the first and second rounds of the NCAA Tournament. The Wildcats defeated East Tennessee State to move on and face Ohio State. Kentucky won convincingly over the Buckeyes, 3-1, after dropping the first set.
Unfortunately for the Wildcats, they would be matched up with the No. 1 seed in Penn State in the West Lafayette, Ind., Regional. The six-time NCAA Champions fought off the Wildcats as UK made runs in the first two sets and ended another successful Kentucky season. The Cats finished the year with another 20-win season with a final record of 22-11. They faced one of the toughest schedules in the country, beat Tennessee twice, and had three Wildcats named All-Americans including second-team selection Whitney Billings and honorable mentions Stephanie Klefot and Christine Hartmann.
The Adolph Rupp Award (coach of the semester) Jon Lipsitz (women's soccer) and Johan Cedergren (men's soccer) - The Kentucky soccer programs each reached new heights in the respective programs this season, and much of the credit goes to those running those teams. Women's soccer head coach Jon Lipsitz guided his team to the first NCAA Tournament win in program history with a victory over UT Martin in the first round. Kentucky racked up big wins against Louisville and Florida and finished 14-7-1 to cap off one of the best seasons in program history.
Johan Cedergren's first season at the helm of the men's program got off to a rocky start, but it didn't take long before he rallied the troops. The Cats dropped their first three matches of the season before getting in the win column against Saint Joseph's. The Wildcats' next win came in a huge upset over rival Louisville, which sparked a four-game win streak. After a tie against Memphis and losses to Indiana and Southern Methodist, Kentucky went on another four-game win streak to put itself in prime position to make the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2003. Not only did Kentucky make the NCAA Tournament field, but the Cats were selected to host the first round for just the second time in program history. Kentucky fell to No. 19 Xavier in the first round, but UK finished with a 10-9-2 record and Cedergren looks to have his program on the rise.
The Butler-VCU Award (surprise team of the semester) Men's soccer - When UK Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart hired Johan Cedergren to become the new head coach of the men's soccer program, most expected Cedergren to eventually right the ship and get the team headed in the right direction. But no one could have expected the run they would go on after starting the season 1-4-0. There was a gloomy outlook on the beginning of the season as Cedergren looked to install his style on his veteran squad. But the Wildcats got a broke out and broke through with an upset win on the road over rival Louisville. After the 1-4-0 start, Kentucky went on to post a 9-5-2 mark over its last 16 games, building a strong enough resume not only to make the NCAA Tournament, but also host the first round for the second time in program history.
One Shining Moment (best moment)
Athletic Director Mitch Barnhart introduces his newest hire in head football coach Mark Stoops in his first press conference. (Chet White, UK Athletics)
Stoops Press Conference (football) - Kentucky football got a shot in the arm with the hiring of Florida State defensive coordinator Mark Stoops as the new head coach at the University of Kentucky. It was a hire that reignited passion in the Kentucky football program as Stoops brings with him an impressive resume backed up by a pedigree of successful collegiate football coaches.
After an exhaustive coaching search, Barnhart found his man and officially named Stoops the next head football coach on Nov. 27. And for the first time as the new head coach, he was introduced to the media, donors, Kentucky Athletics staff and some fans for the very first time during an elaborate celebration/press conference on Dec. 2. Stoops and his family got to see firsthand what the Big Blue Nation is all about as he was first greeted by fans waiting outside of the Nutter Field House in the rain. As he entered, he was met by Kentucky cheerleaders and the sound of the Kentucky fight song on his way to the podium to meet Barnhart and UK President Eli Capilouto.
The hiring and the event sparked the Kentucky fan base and now has the state buzzing about football in the thick of the college basketball season.
The "Band is Out On the Field" Award (best game/match) Volleyball comes back from 2-0 deficit at Tennessee - Kentucky was looking for its first season sweep of Tennessee since 1995. The Wildcats earned their first three-set sweep over the Volunteers since that same 1995 season in their first meeting of 2012. Knoxville, Tenn., had not been kind to the Wildcats in recent history, and it looked as if history would repeat itself once more. After the first two sets of the match, the Wildcats faced a 2-0 deficit at the break and it was all but certain that UK would split matches with UT.
The Wildcats came out angry and hammered the Vols, 25-14, in the third set. They then held off UT in set four, forcing the decisive fifth set with a 25-22 victory. Riding all of the momentum of the match, stealing it directly from the clutch of Tennessee's hands, Kentucky handled the Volunteers with a 15-5 in a set where UT never threatened. And for the first time in 17 years, Kentucky returned to Lexington with two wins over the neighbors to the south.
The Doug Flutie Hail Mary Award (best play)
Hubly's golden goal in 93rd minute earns first-ever NCAA Tournament victory - Kentucky and UT Martin were locked in a scoreless battle heading to overtime. The Wildcats had earned the right to host the first round as they sought the first NCAA Tournament win in program history. In the 93rd minute of the game, freshman Kelli Hubly came from the right wing, took a one-on-one opportunity, beat the defender and knocked her shot in past the diving UT Martin goalkeeper for the game winner.
Honorable mention: Janee Thompson's three, Azia Bishop's block clinch comeback win at Louisville for UK Hoops
All-Wildcat Team (the Scratchies equivalent of the All-America Team) Cally Macumber (XC)- SEC Cross Country Runner of the Year, SEC Champion Whitney Billings (volleyball) - Second-Team All-American Avery Williamson (football) - Second in SEC in tackles with 135 while adding three sacks Larry Warford (football) - Three-year starter at offensive guard named All-American by AP Stephanie Klefot (volleyball) - SEC Libero of the Year for conference record third consecutive season Arin Gilliland (women's soccer) - First-Team All-SEC Matt Lodge (men's soccer) - First-Team All-C-USA Steven Perinovic (men's soccer) - First-Team All-C-USA Greg Ferrucci (diving) - Two-time SEC Diver of the Week so far in 2012 Henri Junghanel (rifle) - Tied a program best shooting a 597 in the air rifle event
All-Calipari Team (all-freshman team) Courtney Raetzman (women's soccer) - Freshman All-SEC scoring four goals with 12 total points Kelli Hubly (women's soccer) - Scored six goals, including a game winner in the NCAA Tournament Sara Schwarzwalder (volleyball) - Freshman All-SEC tallying 149 kills (1.51 k/set) in 30 starts Landon Foster (football) - Named to the first team Freshman All-America by Scout.com as well as earning All-SEC Freshman accolades Archie Goodwin (men's basketball) -Averaging team-highs in points (15.8) and assists (4.4) through 10 games Nerlens Noel (men's basketball) - Putting up impressive numbers across the board, averaging 10.7 ppg, 9.0 rpg, 2.8 spg, 3.9 bpg through his first 10 games Rebecca Hamperian (diving) - Named SEC Female Freshman of the Week (Nov. 6)
All-Up-and-Comers(non-freshmen on the rise) Kyle Wiltjer (men's basketball) -First double-double with 23 points, 12 rebounds vs. Lipscomb (averaging 11.7 points on the season) Zan Morgan (volleyball) - Started for the first time as junior in 2012 averaging 2.3 kills/set and 1.1 blocks/set Samarie Walker (women's basketball) - Has started all 10 games this season averaging 9.0 points and 7.6 rebounds Charles Pettys (men's soccer) - Scored six goals in his junior campaign in 18 games this season Liz Breed (women's golf) - The junior shot a 2-under-par (70) helping UK to a 6-under-par score, a record low round in program history, at the Alamo Invitational in San Antonio, Texas Will Bishop (men's golf) - The sophomore won the Cabo Collegiate shooting 2-under-par for the event to pick up his first collegiate victory
He said what? (quote of the semester) - "We've been sitting in the office for three years going, '2012, 2012, 2012. And that doesn't mean we didn't think it could happen before. We almost did it last year, but it was our dream that we knew it was going to happen this year. We knew." - Jon Lipsitz after women's soccer won the first NCAA Tournament game in program history.
The Dougie Award Coach Mitchell dances to MC Hammer at Big Blue Madness
Just months into his tenure as head coach of Kentucky track and field and cross country, Edrick Floreal has already seen results.
During the cross country season, the Wildcats improved significantly, with Cally Macumber and Chelsea Oswald each earning All-America honors and Luis Orta joining them at the NCAA Championships. The Cats also participated in their first track meet of the season last week at Indiana with encouraging finishes by many athletes.
As head track and field coach at the University of Kentucky, Edrick Floreal sometimes morphs into his alter ego:
Edrick the Entertainer.
Hired by UK last July to replace the retired Don Weber, Floreal and his staff are on the brink of bringing new twists to the program.
For instance, the annual Rod McCravy Memorial meet in Nutter Field House will feature elevated runways on the infield and temporary stands that will reduce the homestretch to six lanes.
A new facility will enable UK to host a collegiate outdoor meet for the first time since the Southeastern Conference Championships in 1996.
Floreal says he learned plenty at Stanford, where he succeeded Vin Lananna as head coach when the latter took over at Oberlin and, later, Oregon. Lananna stressed making the sport fan friendly.
"I don't want to just be a track coach," Floreal said Wednesday at his desk inside UK's Joe Craft Center. "I want to be sort of an entertainer -- a guy that's out there with the public doing community service, get the community to know you a little bit more. You really worry about the fan and about the community enjoying the sport."
In recent years, UK Athletics has made unprecedented strides in fielding a comprehensive athletic program. Twice in the past three years, the department has finished 29th in the final Director's Cup standings, a impressive mark, but not yet reaching the top-15 level Mitch Barnhart set as a goal as part of his 15 by 15 by 15 plan.
Historically, the fall sports season has put UK Athletics in a position of having to play catch-up in the winter and spring. Volleyball, men's soccer, women's soccer and cross country all complete the championship portions of their schedule in November or December. Each team has had its moments, but those moments have rarely coincided.
In 2012-13, it's been a different story.
UK is one of just six schools nationally to reach the NCAA Tournament in men's soccer, women's soccer and volleyball, joining Washington, UCLA, North Carolina, Marquette and Notre Dame. Moreover, UK is one of just three programs to host a first-round game in all three sports along with Washington and UCLA.
Volleyball has been a mainstay in the tournament, receiving bids in each of the last eight seasons, but the success of the two soccer teams is new. Women's soccer has now reached back-to-back NCAA Tournaments under Jon Lipsitz, including this season when the Wildcats won a game for the first time in school history. Meanwhile, Johan Cedergren's team was ahead of schedule in his first season, hosting a tournament game for the second time in school history.
The lone fall Olympic program at UK not to reach the team portion of the NCAA Championships was cross country, but individuals from both the men's and women's teams were represented in the individual portion. Cally Macumber and Chelsea Oswald each earned All-America recognition with top-40 finishes, while Luis Orta finished 114th, impressive for a runner participating in the race for the first time. All in all, the early returns in Edrick Floreal's first season leading UK track and field and cross country were very good.
Of course, the final piece of the fall puzzle is football, and UK recognizes just how important that program is to the department as a whole and, just as importantly, the Big Blue Nation. The 2012 season may not have gone as planned, but the coming weeks could lay the foundation for a bright future with a new coach set to be named soon.
Football - Kentucky was impressive both on offense and defense in a win over Samford. Offensively, Kentucky posted 455 yards of total offense including 342 on the ground, while the UK defense limited Samford to 102 yards of total offense - which was the lowest output by a UK opponent since 1996. - True freshman quarterback Jalen Whitlow went 10-of-13 for 66 yards and a touchdown and also rushed for 59 yards and a rushing touchdown. Junior Raymond Sanders led the team in rushing with 123 yards and a TD. - Linebacker Avery Williamson paced the defense with 13 tackles, including two sacks, becoming the first player since 1990 to have four straight games with 13 or more tackles.
Men's basketball - Freshmen Alex Poythress and Nerlens Noel led the effort against Duke as Poythress scored 20 points, while Noel contributed 15 points and eight rebounds. - Kentucky used sharp shooting in going over the century mark in the 101-49 victory over Lafayette. Kentucky's .645 shooting from the floor as a team was the best under fourth-year head coach John Calipari and best for any UK team since 2008. - Sophomore Kyle Wiltjer hit a career-high seven 3-pointers. Poythress charted a career-high 22 points to become the first freshman to have back-to-back 20-point efforts since Brandon Knight in February 2011.
Volleyball - Junior Alexandra Morgan shined in a 3-1 win over Georgia with nine kills on a .400 hitting percentage, but it was her defense that proved the difference. Morgan had a career-high 10 blocks to accompany three aces and four digs. The 10 rejections was easily a career high and it marks the first 10-block performance by a Wildcat since Lauren Rapp had 10 blocks in an NCAA Tournament victory back in 2010. - UK honored the senior class of Ashley Frazier, Christine Hartmann and Stephanie Klefot before the match. Frazier had nine kills, Hartmann a double-double with 45 assists and 13 digs, and Klefot a match-high 19 scoops in the victory.
Women's basketball - UK's first road trip of the season wasn't a very pleasant one as the Wildcats dropped an 85-51 decision to No. 1 Baylor in the programs' first-ever meeting. It didn't help that UK shot its lowest shooting percentage since 2008, netting just 27.1 percent from the field. Senior guard A'dia Mathies led UK with 12 points, while sophomore guard Bria Goss added 11. - UK regrouped and charted an 80-46 win over High Point on Saturday, hitting 50 percent from the field (30-of-60) and forcing 32 turnovers on season-high tying 19 steals. Mathies once again led the way, scoring all 17 of her points in the first half. Junior forward Samarie Walker pulled down a season-best 12 rebounds to go along with six points, three assists and three steals.
Women's soccer - UK fell to No. 5/6 UCLA in the second round of the 2012 NCAA Women's Soccer Championship, ending their season with a 14-6-1 mark. - It was the first time UK had ever advanced in the NCAA Tournament in 20 years of competition. - Kentucky finished the season with a 2-1-1 record against top-15 teams in the country, knocking off No. 12 Louisville, No. 13 Florida and earning a draw with No. 6 Texas A&M.
Rifle - The Kentucky rifle team shot a 4693 on Saturday but fell to top-ranked TCU. - Freshman Connor Davis tied a program best in air rifle with a 597. Senior Henri Junghänel led the team with an aggregate score of 1185, shooting a 590 in smallbore followed by a 595 in air rifle. Cross country - Cally Macumber capped a great season with a sixth-place finish at the NCAA National Championships on Saturday. She finished the 6K race in a season-best time of 19:42.20, fewer than 15 seconds behind the race winner. She is the highest NCAA finisher for the Wildcat women since Valerie McGovern was the national runner-up in 1989. Macumber became the first woman in UK history to complete a 6K race in less than 20 minutes. - Chelsea Oswald also had an impressive day as she came in 37th with a time of 20:13.00. Both Macumber and Oswald earned All-America honors, marking the first time since 1988 that multiple UK women were garnered that recognition in the same year. - Luis Orta also impressed by finishing with a time of 30:52.30 in his first NCAA Championship appearance.
Swimming and diving - Kentucky's men's and women's swimming teams earned second place finishes in the Volunteer Invitational this weekend. The Wildcats earned strong individual performances from freshman Matt Roman and junior Lucas Gerotto on the men's side, while sophomore Julia Gerotto, senior Mandy Myers and senior Megan Eppler led the way for the women. - Junior diver Greg Ferrucci had a big weekend, sweeping the 1-meter (369.95), 3-meter (410.90), and the platform (383.35) events over Tennessee and Duke.
Men's soccer - Kentucky fell to No. 19 Xavier, 1-0, in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament. - UK hosted just its second NCAA Tournament game in the history of the program and its first since 2003. UK's NCAA Tournament berth was also its first in nine seasons, with the Wildcats making its fifth all-time postseason appearance.
Wednesday, Nov. 21 Men's basketball hosts Morehead State - 7:00 p.m. Volleyball at Missouri - 8:00 p.m.
Friday, Nov. 23 Volleyball at Auburn - 4:00 p.m. Women's basketball hosts Morehead State - 4:00 p.m. Men's basketball hosts LIU Brooklyn - 7:00 p.m.
Saturday, Nov. 24 Football at Tennessee - 12:21 p.m.
Cally Macumber and Chelsea Oswald became UK's first All-Americans in more than two decades at Saturday's NCAA Cross Country Championships. (Chet White, UK Athletics)
It was a big weekend for the Kentucky women's cross country team.
Cally Macumber and Chelsea Oswald became UK's first All-Americans since 1989 with sixth- and 37th-place finishes, respectively, in Saturday's NCAA Cross Country Championship. The finishes put an exclamation mark on a strong first season under a new coaching staff, showing that both the women's cross country and track and field programs have taken steps in the right direction.
Sean Cartell from the SEC Digital Network writes about just that in this story:
The history of the Kentucky women's cross country program is well documented. After all, the 1988 Wildcats, under the direction of former legendary head coach Don Weber, are the only women's team in the history of the Southeastern Conference to claim an NCAA Cross Country Championship.
Still, the Wildcats hadn't advanced to the NCAA Championships as a team since 2008 and were no longer part of the national conversation when it came to winning titles. Hakon DeVries joined Kentucky in advance of the 2012 season as a part of first-year head coach Edrick Floreal's new staff, charged with the goal of returning the women's distance program to prominence.
Competing in the championship portion of their schedule over the past month, the Wildcats have proven that they are back among the nation's elite.
Junior Cally Macumber and senior Chelsea Oswald led the charge for Kentucky, finishing 1-3 at the 2012 SEC Championships and then both earning All-America honors at the NCAA Championships this past Saturday at E.P. "Tom" Sawyer State Park in Louisville, Ky.
"We definitely wanted to come here and really put the cross country team back on the map really loud and clear," DeVries said Saturday. "I think we did a pretty good job of that with Cally and Chelsea."