The SEC Digital Network is continuing its "40/40" series, which is a celebration of women in Southeastern Conference athletics since the passing of Title IX 40 years ago. Former Kentucky stars Jenny Hansen (gymnastics) and Valerie McGovern (track and field/cross country) have already been featured as a part of the series, but Tuesday was Valerie Still's turn.
Still is the all-time leading scorer in UK basketball history - men's and women's - and was the leader on the school's SEC title team in 1982. Written by Tim Letcher, this story gives some interesting perspective on Still's time as a Wildcat:
Still didn't know exactly what she was getting into when she arrived in Lexington. "I didn't even know about Kentucky basketball, men or women," she says. "All we knew was that they had a pretty good football team at the time, because Art was on it. We thought it was a football school," she says with a chuckle.
In the fall of 1979, Still embarked on what would be a record-breaking career. She led Kentucky in scoring all four years of her career. When she scored her 1,599th point as a junior, she passed Pam Browning to become the leading scorer in Kentucky women's basketball history.
"Pam was in that first group when they brought the program back (in 1974), and she was just inducted into the UK Hall of Fame this September," Still says. "When I came in, you knew Pam Browning if you knew women's basketball. She was a pretty special athlete."
"Passing Pam was pretty significant for me," Still says. "When I came to UK, one of the things I liked doing was, I'd take a look at the media guides and I'd look in the back and see who had the records, and she (Browning) had all of the records. And I thought it would be kind of nice if I could get my name in there."
Not only did Still get her name in the record books, she shattered nearly all of the women's basketball records at Kentucky. In addition to points and rebounds in a career, she holds school records for points in a game (42), rebounds in a game (27), field goals made in a career (1,118) and free throws made in a career (527), just to mention a few.
As she started to place her names among the greatest women's basketball players in Kentucky history, Still accomplished something that most people probably didn't expect.
In a game against Miami (Ohio) on December 5, 1982, Still scored her 2,139th career point, passing Issel as Kentucky's all-time scoring leader, man or woman.
When asked what she remembered about the moment, Still says, "Not a lot. I think when you're young and doing things, I was sort of limited in my knowledge. I was just doing something that I loved doing, and something incredible happened."
The story goes on to talk about life after UK for Still, touching on her professional career and now her career as an author. Take a look.
This week, the SEC Digital Network has been celebrating the 40th anniversary of Title IX with "40/40," a celebration of women's athletics in the Southeastern Conference designed to bring awareness to Title IX.
Already, a pair of former University of Kentucky greats have been profiled. First was gymnast Jenny Hansen, the NCAA's first-even three-time All-Around national champion. The piece by Tim Letcher tells of Hansen's journey from her home in Wisconsin to champion to her ongoing comeback. Here's an excerpt about her surprise NCAA title as a freshman:
Despite the fact that she was recruited by powerhouse programs like Alabama, Florida and LSU, Hansen was not expected to be a major factor as a freshman. However, she quickly established herself as one of the top gymnasts in the country, competing in the always-tough SEC.
"I did really well my first year, it was really fun," Hansen says. "It was like a progression. I was learning new skills, I had new friends. I was continually having fun, therefore I continually won."
In fact, Hansen made it all the way to the NCAA meet in Corvallis, Ore. as a freshman. Once she got there, she faced some stiff competition.
"It was so unreal to me, because of the people I was competing against," Hansen says. "There was Dee Dee Foster (from Alabama, the 1990 NCAA All-Around champion), Hope Spivey (1991 NCAA All-Around champion from Georgia), Dana Dobrasky (another Alabama All-American), all of these girls were so big in college gymnastics at the time, and I was competing against them."
Not only did Hansen compete against them, she beat them all, claiming the 1993 NCAA All-Around championship as a freshman.
McGovern starred as a runner at UK a few years before Hansen arrived, and her journey to Lexington was quite unique. A native of Ireland, she transferred to Kentucky after the women's cross country program at Austin Peay was disbanded. Mark Maloney has the story:
McGovern had a few partial scholarship offers to transfer, but an Austin Peay teammate suggested she check out Kentucky. The Wildcats had a very good and young group of female distance runners.
She spoke with UK assistant coach Gene Weis, but didn't get a scholarship offer until she was home in Ireland.
For a second time, in 1988, she committed to a college that she had never visited: Kentucky.
McGovern -- now Dr. Valerie McGovern Young and living in Novato, Calif., a bit north of San Francisco -- would go on to become one of UK's and the Southeastern Conference's distance-running legends.
Right off the bat, she helped the Wildcats win the 1988 NCAA Cross Country Championships.
She would win three NCAA individual titles at 5,000 meters, earning All-America honors eight times in cross country and track. She won eight SEC titles and still holds five school records.
For recently retired UK head coach Don Weber, McGovern remains one of his all-time favorites.
When her head coach at UK, Don Weber, retired earlier this month, he couldn't help but mention two of the stars on the 1988 national championship team.
"You've got people like Lisa Breiding and Valerie McGovern, who were the sweetest, nicest people you'd ever run across," he said. "I remember, it kind of bothered me in athletics, and I don't see it as much anymore, but all the chest-thumping, macho stuff. Being a great competitor is much more about brain power than it is brawn.
"And seeing some of the sweetest, nicest young women being the most competitive, daring -- it was inspiring to watch. ... That's the best thing about coaching."
Weber tells Maloney that he considered the possibility of stepping down throughout the season before informing Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart of his ultimate decision last month. In spite of some of the unknowns that come out of his retirement, Weber said he is "dead-certain that this is the right thing to do for Kentucky track."
That doesn't mean saying goodbye will be easy for Weber or the student-athletes with whom he worked so closely:
Josh Nadzam, who came to UK as a walk-on and developed into a Southeastern Conference point-scorer in the mile, dropped by Tuesday to see Weber in the field house.
"Thanking him for the opportunity that he gave me and just how great of a mentor he's been to me," Nadzam said. "Helping me develop as an athlete but, most importantly, as a man. Just helping with so many different facets in my life that expanded, way more than just track and field and running."
Weber said he is fearful of what September -- cross country season -- will feel like without coaching duties.
He said he'll miss "watching people really work at exploring their possibilities; getting better."
In the end, Weber is sure of the decision he made:
His vacancy should attract many job applicants.
In addition to an upgraded Shively Sports Center and a premier indoor facility in Nutter, a new outdoor track is near completion. Stands, lights, press box and storage facilities are in place, as is the asphalt oval. The major task left is to pour the Beynon synthetic surface, expected to take place in mid-July.
As much as he would like to have had the new outdoor facility at his service, he said this is the right time for a change.
"I kind of see this as just passing the baton. I've carried the baton for a long, long time here," he said. " ... There are some significant possibilities here. And it just seemed like, where I was and the stage of my career, where the university is and where the athletics department is in terms of all the resources we have for track, now was the time to do it."
On Tuesday, Don Weber announced his retirement after 28 years as head coach of UK track and field and cross country. (Chet White, UK Athletics)
For 34 years, Don Weber has been an institution at the University of Kentucky. After running track and cross country at UK and gaining experience elsewhere, he returned to Lexington in 1978 as an assistant. Six years later, he became the head track and field and cross country coach.
On Tuesday, Weber announced his retirement. Over his 28-year tenure, Weber's athletes earned 10 individual NCAA championships, 225 All-America honors, 92 Southeastern Conference individual titles and one NCAA team championship in women's cross country.
"Thirty-four years, that's a long time, but looking back on it, it doesn't seem like a long time at all, something you love to do every day, so it was never a job," Weber said. "Coaching track at the University of Kentucky, there wasn't much longevity to it, prior to me. I didn't think too much about it (in 1978). I was pretty much in the present. I just wanted to coach here, I'd been given the opportunity and I was 100 percent content with that."
Weber spent his last 10 years under the leadership of Mitch Barnhart. The Athletics Director credited Weber for where the program is today and where it will go.
"Don Weber has served his University with nobility and great integrity," said Mitch Barnhart, UK Director of Athletics. "He has coached numerous All-Americans and national champions. He is a critical component, not only of the past, but also of the future of Kentucky track. He has been vital in the development of our facilities at the Nutter Field House, the Shively Sports Center and the new track which is nearing completion and will benefit our program for years to come. We thank him and wish the best for Don and his family in his retirement."
Weber plans to help the new UK coach transition into the job as well as open the new outdoor track.
"In my mind, I've equated this to passing the baton," Weber said. "I've run a lot of laps - 34 years - and now it's time to give it to a new person and let them run with it. However, it's with mixed emotions, with all these new facilities, the new Shively Sports Center, the new track. It's a very exciting time and I think a new coach can make hay out of that and enhance the program here pretty dramatically." Read the complete release on Weber's retirement here
With four different teams adding to Kentucky's tally, UK Athletics is fast closing in on Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart's benchmark of 15 conference or national championships by the year 2015.
With the work of all UK's varsity teams, the Wildcats are also on the cusp of Barnhart's goals in the classroom.
For the second consecutive semester, UK student-athletes narrowly fell short of the 3.0 department-wide grade point average set forth by Barnhart. All UK student-athletes combined for 2.97 GPA and the GPA for scholarship athletes was a slightly higher 2.98 GPA. The average team GPA for the spring semester was 3.07.
"I am very proud of the effort our student-athletes logged in the classroom this semester," Barnhart said. "We fell just shy of our GPA goal and will work tirelessly to reach it, but I am happy with the academic culture we have fostered at UK. I appreciate everything our student-athletes, coaches and support staff have done to make that happen."
Among all teams, women's tennis had the highest GPA at 3.55, while men's cross country had the highest GPA among men's teams at 3.29. Of UK's 20 Division I teams, 12 had a GPA of over 3.0, including the championship-winning men's basketball, rifle and men's tennis teams. ***See below for complete grade information for each sport***
The work of the men's basketball team was particularly impressive. The Wildcats brought home the program's eighth national championship, spending essentially the entire month of March away from campus for tournament play, yet still excelling academically.
Five players off this year's championship team opted to turn professional early - all projected first-round picks and three in the lottery - but also demonstrated their commitment to both UK and eventually graduating by finishing the semester strong as full-time students. Anthony Davis, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Marquis Teague - three so-called "one and dones" - combined for a spring GPA well above 3.0. Additionally, the lone seniors on the team, Darius Miller and Eloy Vargas, each received their diplomas at May commencement.
"All these kids are good kids," John Calipari said. "We had a (3.12) GPA as a team for this term with five players who are leaving early, so all this stuff bitter old men say that they don't go to class, it's not true."
The men's basketball team is just the most high-profile example in a department full of student-athletes committed to excelling both on and off the field. With spring sports yet to be recognized, 90 Wildcats have already been named to the Southeastern Conference Fall and Winter Honor Rolls. UK student-athletes have also volunteered over 4,000 total hours to various charitable causes.
"I am excited about all the great things our student-athletes are doing," Barnhart said. "They do so much to enrich our athletic department, our University and the Lexington community. We are blessed to be a part of their development and take that responsibility seriously."
On Monday night, Ann Armes (volleyball), Luis Orta (cross country/track and field) Eric Quigley (men's tennis), Rachel Riley (softball) and Keyla Snowden (women's basketball) received the most prestigious individual award the CATSPYs has to offer: Mr. and Miss Wildcat. The award is given for given for all-around excellence in athletics, academics, character and service. Above is the video that introduced them.
Luis Orta became the first runner since 2006 to win the 3,000m and 5,000m at SEC Indoors this weekend. (Chet White, UK Athletics)
Luis Orta had to run a great distance at the SEC Indoor Track and Field Championship this past weekend. There, Orta became the first SEC athlete to win both the 3,000m and 5,000m in the same championship in five years.
While this feat was impressive, Orta has had to travel long distances ever since he decided to leave his native country of Venezuela for UK. The distance may have been long for Orta, but the finish line for this accomplished runner has been oh so sweet.
"It has been great," Orta said. "I'm from a big city in Venezuela and it's one of the most dangerous cities in the world. Being here I've been 100 percent focused and because of that, Lexington has been perfect."
Orta's focus has paid off, culminating in this past weekend's victory on the same track that he has called home for the past four years.
Even before his triumph early in the 2012 track season, Orta was a steady performer. In 2009, Orta was named All-SEC second team in cross country, All-SEC outdoor second team for the 2,000m Steeplechase. In 2010 he won the San Francisco Invitational with a time of 24:25.
In spite of all he has accomplished, Orta is still driven to improve.
"I feel accomplished and I feel like all the work that I've put in since I came to UK has finally paid off," Orta said, "I feel very proud and I'm eager to do more and become better now."
In addition to his success in the SEC Indoor Track and Field Championship, Orta has added another path in his journey to travel down: self-improvement outside of competition.
"Running wise, my times have been going down," Orta said, "But, more importantly I've learned how to train myself throughout the day, eating right, sleeping right and doing the things that I have to do in order to have a good day at practice and have a good race. All of these things are important, just as much as the stuff we do on the track."
With a good night's rest and healthy eating habits, Orta has been able to improve his performance to the point where there has been a noticeable change in his times. Orta's actions have helped to improve himself, but his determination, focus and hard work have been used to help the lives of others as well.
Along with teammate and middle distance runner, Josh Nadzam, Orta is in his second year leading a shoe drive for an organization called Soles4Souls. Last year alone, they collected about 2,000 pairs of shoes.
"Everything began last year when I would run by myself during the summer and I threw my shoes in the trash because they were done. Us runners, we use shoes and they last like two months for each pair of shoes," Orta said. "I realized, 'Wow, there are people out there who need shoes. Maybe we can do something about it.' So, I talked to my roommate, Josh Nazdam, and he is very involved with the community. He thought it was a great idea and so far we have about 200 pairs of shoes."
With a head start in the race for charity, Orta and Nadzam have a few more finish lines to cross before the end of this season.
"The shoe drive will be until the end of the year, so we are going to focus on that the entire year," Orta said. "With outdoor season coming up, I want to, again, win the SECs; I'm already focused on the 5K. After, I want to try to run 10Ks, maybe go and run a half marathon and break national records for them. For me it's just as important to run for UK as it is to run for Venezuela."
Participating in a sport that is not only based off individual performances, but also the team's overall effort, all of this together will help Orta and the Cats push across the finish line.
"We have a very young team and that means we have a good future," Orta said. "I feel like everyone wants to perform well, so I think we are going to be even better during our outdoor season."
While occupying his post in charge of Cat Scratches, Eric Lindsey debuted the Scratchies, a set of awards given for the best performances in UK Athletics for the preceding semester. I wasn't sure at first whether I would continue the tradition, but once I found just how quiet it gets around here during the holidays, I decided it was time to give out some hardware (or maybe I should say "software", since there are no physical awards to be given).
I'll spare you any more preambles, here are the winners for fall 2011:
MVW (Most Valuable Wildcat) Danny Trevathan (Football) - No, the UK football team did not have the kind of season they envisioned, going 5-7, but Trevathan could not have done any more than he did to help his team succeed. For the second year in a row, the linebacker led the SEC in tackles. The senior linebacker concludes his career ranked 10th all-time in tackles in program history and has reeled in multiple postseason honors for his stellar final season. The 2011 campaign saw Trevathan log 143 tackles, 11.5 tackles for loss, five forced fumbles, four interceptions and three sacks.
The Dream Team (team of the semester) Volleyball - Craig Skinner has this program on the rise. The Wildcats finished the season with a 26-4 record and a second Sweet 16 berth in three seasons. The regional semifinal was hosted in Memorial Coliseum and over 4,000 rowdy fans showed up to support the Cats as they nearly pulled an upset of Texas, the nation's No. 1 overall seed, before falling 3-1. The atmosphere, though not the outcome, was a fitting sendoff for the most decorated group of seniors in school history. The trio of Ann Armes, Becky Pavan and Gretchen Giesler depart with a record of 100-31 and the best winning percentage (.731) in school history).
In spite of losing those three, UK figures to build on a great season in 2012. Two-time defending Southeastern Conference Libero of the Year and second-team All-American Stephanie Klefot returns for her senior season and will be joined by setter Christine Hartmann and outside hitter Whitney Billings, both of whom were first-team All-SEC performers. Senior-to-be Ashley Frazier (All-SEC second team) and rising sophomore Lauren O'Conner (All-SEC freshman team) will also be very much in the mix.
Honorable mention: Women's soccer, men's basketball, women's basketball The Adolph Rupp Award (coach of the semester) Jon Lipsitz (Women's soccer) - Since taking over at Kentucky prior to the 2009 season, Lipsitz has built the women's soccer program in small strides. UK was just 5-10-4 in his first year, but it was clear that the culture was changing. His second season brought a trip to the SEC Tournament, but expectations were still not particularly high entering 2011, at least not outside of Lexington. Instead, the Cats got off to a great start, piling up early-season wins and moving into the top 20 of the RPI.
Under Lipsitz's guidance, Senior Kelsey Hunyadi was at the center of everything, as she had one of the best offensive seasons in UK history in helping lead the team to a 13-7-1 record, a winning mark in SEC play and a berth in UK's first NCAA Tournament since 2006. Kentucky also earned the right to host a tournament game for the first time since 1998 and the fan base responded to the excitement Lipsitz has injected into the program, as 1,065 fans attended the game, third-most of the 32 first round sites nationally.
Honorable mention: Craig Skinner (volleyball), Matthew Mitchell (women's basketball), John Calipari (men's basketball)
The Josh Harrellson Award (most improved player) Samantha Drake (women's basketball) - The Bardstown, Ky., native had her moments as a freshman, but was not expected to be more than a role player for UK Hoops in 2011-12. Through the first five games of the season, that's exactly what she was, as she averaged 5.4 points. Over Drake's next seven games as UK rose to a No. 6 national ranking, the 6-foot-3 center established herself as one of Matthew Mitchell's most reliable contributors.
She has scored in double figures six times during the stretch, including a career-high 21 points in a trip to face No. 3 Notre Dame and 18 last week against Samford.
"It was not one moment, but it started happening one day then started snowballing," Mitchell said of her improvement. "There was a play here, then the next day she would make two or three. It was pretty dramatic.
"She had a terrific summer and I just tried to put it to her, 'There's nothing that you can't get through.' Finally she proved to herself she can really perform at a high level."
As UK enters SEC play, Mitchell will look to Drake to sustain that improvement. The Butler-VCU Award (surprise team) Women's soccer - For all the reasons Lipsitz is the coach of the semester, women's soccer is the surprise team. The Cats clearly had talent with Hunyadi, star incoming freshman Arin Gilliland and others, but this year's team was supposed to be one that battled to make the bottom half of the SEC Tournament bracket. Instead, UK raced out to a 7-0-0 start to the year and never looked back in earning a No. 6 seed in Orange Beach, Ala., and a home match in the NCAA Tournament, where the Wildcats lost in heartbreaking fashion on penalty kicks against Washington State. One Shining Moment (best moment)
Fans carried Matt Roark off the field after he rushed for 124 yards in a 10-7 win over Tennessee. (Brett Marshall, UK Athletics)
Football ends the streak - This one's a no-brainer. It had been over a quarter-century since Kentucky had defeated Tennessee in football and when wide receiver Matt Roark stepped onto the field as quarterback with Maxwell Smith and Morgan Newton sidelined due to injury, it certainly looked as if the streak would continue. Instead, Roark led a gritty offense that did just enough to win thanks to a staunch defensive effort by a group of seniors who desperately wanted to defeat the Volunteers. The 10-7 win set off a raucous celebration, capped off when Roark served as the honorary 'Y' at Rupp Arena that same night.
The "Band is Out On the Field" Award (best game/match) Men's basketball beats North Carolina - The hype for UK-UNC started way back in May when Terrence Jones, Doron Lamb, Harrison Barnes, John Henson and Tyler Zeller decided to return to their respective schools. It was clear the Cats and Tar Heels would be ranked atop the polls when the season started, setting up a potential No. 1 vs. No. 2 showdown in Rupp Arena in early December. UNC lost to undo that possibility, but that was the only part of the game that didn't live up to the hype.
UK trailed by as many as nine points early, but battled back to take a late lead in front of a delirious sellout crowd. The Cats seemed poised to seal the win, but the Heels forced a turnover by Doron Lamb and got a 3-pointer from Reggie Bullock to cut UT's lead to 73-72. Marquis Teague was then fouled and headed to the foul line for a one-and-one. He missed the front end with 21 seconds left, setting up a chance for UNC to take the last shot for the win. UK would hold on, but only because of our play of the semester... The Doug Flutie Hail Mary Award (best play)
Davis' block seals win over UNC - Point guard Kendall Marshall ran the clock down and used a screen to position himself for a pass to Zeller inside. As they had been doing all game, the Cats sent a double team at him and Zeller lost the ball, but conveniently right into the waiting hands of Henson. He pulled up for a short jumper, but Anthony Davis skied to get a piece of the shot and grabbed the rebound off his own block. UK would then run out the final five seconds. Video
All-Wildcat Team (the Scratchies equivalent of the All-America Team) Kelsey Hunyadi (women's soccer) - Her 38 points were the second most in school history. Luis Orta (cross country) - With a fifth-place finish at the SEC Championships, Orta became UK's first first-team All-SEC performer since 2003. Stephanie Klefot (volleyball) - The junior was a second-team All-American and won SEC Libero of the Year for the second year in a row. Matt Lodge (men's soccer) - Lodge tallied seven goals and 10 assists during his junior season. Doron Lamb (men's basketball) - He is the leading scorer (16.1 points per game) for the nation's third-ranked team. Winston Guy (football) - Moving to a new linebacker position, Guy had 120 tackles and a team-leading 14 tackles for loss. A'dia Mathies (women's basketball) - Now healthy, the junior guard has already eclipsed the 1,000-point mark for her UK career.
All-Calipari Team (all-freshman team) Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (men's basketball) - Averaging 13.1 points, 6.9 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 1.3 steals and 1.1 blocks through 12 games. Anthony Davis (men's basketball) - Leads UK with 10.0 rebounds per game and ranks among nation's leaders with 52 blocks. Arin Gilliland (women's soccer) - Blue-chip prospect split time between defense and attack, scoring four goals. Bria Goss (women's basketball) - Has started 11 games, averaging 12.3 points and 5.1 rebounds. Lauren O'Conner (volleyball) - Played in 124 of 126 sets on the season, totaling 284 kills and was named to SEC All-Freshman team.
All-Up-and-Comers (non-freshmen on the rise) Ashley Frazier (volleyball) - Played her first season at UK after transferring, leading the team with 406 kills. Christina Hartmann (volleyball) - Took over setting duties early in the season and was a first-team All-SEC performer. Cody Martin (men's golf) - Led UK with an average round of 72.6 as a sophomore and finished second in the UK Bluegrass Fall Invitational. Alejando Gomez (men's tennis) - Off to a running start to sophomore season with a 15-2 singles mark during the fall season. Greg Ferrucci (swimming and diving) - Sophomore twice won SEC Diver of the Week during the fall, breaking a school record in the one-meter dive in the process. Tyler Riggs (men's soccer) - Followed up good freshman season with an even better sophomore year, totaling 11 goals and five assists. Best Streak Award Men's basketball's home win streak - With eight wins in Rupp Arena to open 2011-12, UK has extended its home winning streak to 42 games, eclipsing Duke (41) for the longest in the nation. Kentucky has yet to lose a home game with John Calipari roaming the sidelines, winning all 41 games in Rupp during his three-year tenure.
He said what? (quote of the semester) Craig Skinner, after volleyball played No. 1 Texas to a near draw in the Sweet 16 in front of over 4,000 fans in Memorial Coliseum - "I think that's about as high a level of volleyball as you can play. If you aren't excited to play in front of a crowd like that and with a group that puts their heart and soul into the game then I'd be stunned. We're on the right path and we have to continue to take steps forward and this team is so motivated that I'm not worried that won't happen."
The Dougie Award (best dance/celebration) Matthew Mitchell at Big Blue Madness - Mitchell's dance in the video below pretty much speaks for itself. The only remaining question is how he's going to top himself in 2012.
Every Tuesday, UK Athletics recognizes outstanding performances for our student-athletes. These are the honorees for the week ending Sunday, Nov. 6:
Football: Winston Guy
Earned his seventh double-figure tackle game of the season against Ole Miss when he had 10 tackles, including 2.5 tackles for loss and a quarterback hurry. One of his biggest plays came in the first quarter when he tracked down a speedy Ole Miss ball carrier en route to the end zone, saving a touchdown.
Cross country: Luis Orta
Junior Luis Orta finished fifth at the SEC Cross Country Championships on Monday.
Orta is the first UK cross country runner to earn first team All-SEC honors since current assistant coach Thomas Morgan won the SEC Championships in 2003.
Orta ran a 24:28.36 on the 8,000-meter course in Maryville, Tenn.
Led Kentucky to a fourth-place team finish, its best team result at the conference meet since 1992, when the Wildcats finished in third.
Men's tennis: Eric Quigley
Advanced to the semifinals of the USTA/ITA Nation Indoor Intercollegiate Championships, taking down two top-24 ranked players along the way.
Went 3-1 at the event, increasing his career record to 137-43, sitting only seven wins shy of tying the school record for singles wins in a career.
Quigley was honored with the 2011 USTA/ITA Sportsmanship Award as selected by a panel of coaches, officials and tournament committee members.
Football: Maxwell Smith
Earned his first career start and performed well, completing 19 of 36 passes for 283 yards and two touchdowns in the win over Ole Miss. His 283 passing yards is the most ever in one game for a Kentucky true freshman (non-redshirt) quarterback. The old record was 208 yards by Larry McCrimmon vs. Florida in 1978.
Football: Danny Trevathan
Continued his brilliance this season with his second consecutive 17-tackle performance against Ole Miss. Also earned his fourth career interception, including one in each of the last three games. He becomes the first player to notch picks in three consecutive games since Tremayne Martin had an interception in the first three games of the 1997 season.
Football: CoShilk Williams
Second career 100-yard rushing game against Ole Miss when he rushed a career high 25 times for 111 yards and two touchdowns. Has played well in UK's last three games, rushing 62 times for 323 yards and two touchdowns.
It can be hard to keep up with everything going on in the University of Kentucky's 22 varsity sports. With that in mind, we will highlight the best from around Kentucky sports each week. We'll recognize the best performances from Wildcat teams and players, we'll show you the coolest videos and photos that you may have missed and we'll mix in some new stuff along the way. Here are your award winners for this week:
Team of the week - Rifle posts NCAA-record score, returns to No. 1
The defending national champion UK rifle team started out the season ranked first in the nation. However, West Virginia eclipsed Kentucky in the national rankings two weeks into the season even though the Cats had been impressive in a pair of season-opening wins. In their first match after falling to second, the Wildcats responded in a big way.
Against conference foe Memphis, UK tallied a score of 4711, breaking their own NCAA-record score set during last season's tournament run. Emily Holsopple led the way with a score of 597 in air rifle as the Cats turned in a performance that returned them to the top of the polls. Player of the week - Luis Orta stands out at SEC Championships
Cross Country junior Luis Orta has been one of the stars of the fall sports season at UK, winning SEC Men's Runner of the Week honors on three separate occasions. Teams throughout the SEC met in Maryville, Tenn., for the conference championships and Orta showed just how deserving he was of all those accolades.
Orta finished fifth among all runners, leading the men's cross country team to a fourth-place finish, the program's best since 1992. The Venezuela native also earned first-team All-SEC honors for his performance, becoming UK's first runner to earn that distinction since Thomas Morgan in 2003.
"Really proud of Luis Orta for earning (first) team All-SEC honors at the SEC Championships," Barnhart tweeted. "He finished (fifth and) led the team to (fourth) place. Luis really embodies what being a student-athlete at UK means. He doesn't only excel on the field, but also in the classroom and community."
Game of the week - Volleyball defeats No. 13 Florida in five
Mired in a conference title race with top-20 opponents Tennessee and Florida, every match the Wildcats play down the stretch is a big one, but Sunday's match against Florida felt just a bit bigger. Tied at seven midway through the decisive fifth, UK scored eight of the match's final 10 points to upset the No. 13 Gators and maintain control of its own destiny in the race for the SEC title.
UK won the first and third sets, but Florida responded both times to even things up at two entering the final game. The Wildcats then kicked things into another gear to win in the fifth. As an observer, seeing the intensity of the team during that final stretch and the jubilation they displayed once they got the job done was pretty amazing.
Whitney Billings and Ashley Frazier led the attack with 17 and 16 kills, respectively. Billings also joined Christine Hartmann as one of two Cats to post a double-double. Stephanie Klefot had a career-high 28 digs in the win, carrying her to SEC Defensive Player of the Week honors. Play of the week - Josh Mulvany scores a beautiful goal on Senior Day
Facing off against No. 15 SMU on Senior Day, UK got a pair of goals from departing seniors and held on for a 2-0 upset victory to send the class out in style. The second of those goals was from Josh Mulvany, who came up with a loose ball about 25 yards from goal and spotted the Mustang keeper too far off his line. He volleyed a shot high into the left "upper V" and over the outstretched arms of the beaten keeper.
Mulvany's goal takes place at the seven-second mark of the above video.
Photo of the week - Volleyball celebrates Florida win
Photo by Chet White, UK Athletics
Alumnus/alumna of the week - Andrew Albers pitches Team Canada to Pan American gold
Former Kentucky left-handed pitcher Andrew Albers became the second Wildcat in as many weeks to earn a gold medal at the Pan American Games in Guadalajara, Mexico, following Molly Johnson. Albers started the gold medal game for Canada against Team USA, pitching 6.2 innings and allowing just a single run in picking up the win for his native country.
Facing an American team that featured some of baseball's top prospects, Albers struck out eight batters while walking none, helping Canada to its first gold medal in a senior national event in its history.