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Oct. 17 Performances of the Week

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Every Tuesday, UK Athletics recognizes outstanding performances for our student-athletes. These are the honorees for the week ending Oct. 17:

Volleyball: Whitney Billings

Freshman Whitney Billings had an outstanding weekend in helping lead the Blue and White to a pair of Southeastern Conference home victories. Billings put together a sensational complete effort for the Wildcats and was exceptional in all phases of the game. Against Alabama, Billings paced the squad with a team-high 14 kills on a .312 hitting percentage, just the fourth time in her career she has eclipsed the .300 mark. She also contributed 12 digs in the victory for her fifth career double-double and the first of her career in conference action. Billings then added eight kills and a team-high 13 digs in a win over Mississippi State. It is the second time in four matches Billings has led the Wildcats in digs for a match. She was targeted 20 times this weekend off of the service line and was perfect with a 1.000 reception percentage. For the weekend, Billings led the team with 3.14 kills per set while ranking second on the squad with 3.57 digs per set. She totaled 3.50 points per stanza to rank second on the squad. Her numbers for the week were all well above her season average, including kills per set, hitting percentage, assists, aces, digs, receptions and points.

Women's tennis: Megan Broderick

Advanced to the round of 16 of the main singles draw at the USTA/ITA Ohio Valley Regional Championships. Teamed up with sophomore Jessica Stiles to advance to the semifinals of the main doubles draw.

Football: Winston Guy

Had 10 tackles and an interception.

Football: Mike Hartline

Completed 32 of 42 passes for 349 yards and four touchdowns in upset of South Carolina.

Volleyball: Stephanie Klefot

Sophomore Stephanie Klefot continues to be a force for the Wildcats from the back line. Klefot picked up 32 digs in seven sets action for an average of 4.57 digs per set in helping lead UK to a pair of SEC victories. With 21 scoops against Alabama, Klefot has now posted six matches this season with 20 or more digs. She has led the Blue and White in digs in 17 matches this season. With 11 digs against Mississippi State, Klefot has charted 10 or more digs in 19 of UK's 20 matches this season. With the 32 scoops this weekend, she surpassed her season total from a year ago.

Football: Chris Matthews

Caught a career-high 12 passes for 177 yards and one touchdown.

Cross country: Luis Orta

Orta has led the men's team in each of its three previous meets of the season and made it a fourth with a strong finish Friday in Boone, N.C. The sophomore navigated the 8,000-meter course in 24:49.30 for his fourth consecutive top-25 finish.

Volleyball: Becky Pavan

Junior Becky Pavan continued her efficient play in helping the Wildcats to a pair of SEC home victories this weekend. Pavan charted 2.86 kills per stanza on a team-high .395 hitting clip in seven sets of action. Against Alabama, Pavan totaled 13 kills for her 20th career match with 10 or more hammers. She totaled the 13 kills on a .500 hitting clip and contributed a team-high four blocks. Against Mississippi State, Pavan turned in the most complete performance of the season. She notched seven kills in the win, but it was her contributions from the service line that paid the most dividends for the Blue and White. UK scored 19 points with its starting middle blocker at the service line in the three set match with the Bulldogs. She had four runs of six or more points while adding a season-high three service aces. With her strong service performance she was forced into action from the back row and came through with a career-high six digs in the match. She also dished out a pair of assists and added two blocks to her line. For the weekend, Pavan led the team with 4.00 points per set, well above her average of 2.47 for the season.

Swimming and diving: Kelcy Perry

  • Kelcy Perry led the Kentucky women's swimming and diving team to a pair of wins over Southern Illinois and Missouri to open the season.
  • Perry, a sophomore from Richmond, Ky., won the 200- and 100-butterfly and was a member of the victorious 200-medley relay.
  • Perry set a personal-best time in the 200-butterfly with a 2:04.93.
  • Perry's previous best was 2:10.17. In the 100-fly, Perry swam to a first place finish with a time of 56.20.
  • Perry combined with Chatham Penrod, Jenna Willis, and Jenna Newsome for Kentucky's victory in the 200-medley relay. Perry swam the third leg in a time of 25.04.

Football: Ryan Tydlacka

Punted for 41.5-yard average and had three punts inside the 20-yard line.

Passion for job key to Weber's run, All-Americans

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Thumbnail image for weber.jpgTrack and field head coach Don Weber knows a thing or two about longevity. After all, he's been coaching longer than all but one Southeastern Conference track coach and coached through six different presidents. 

In a day and age in college athletics where instability and coaching changes are the norm, Weber is a rare breed. Despite coaching the northern-most school in the nation's toughest league, Weber has put together a career rich of gaudy statistics and almost unbelievable numbers as he enters his 27th season at UK.

In total, Weber has guided seven Wildcats to 11 NCAA individual national championships, coached 109 SEC individual champions, one cross country national team championship and seven SEC team titles in cross country. The most eye-popping number is 215, the number of All-Americans that have passed through UK's doors under the watch of Weber.

To put that number in perspective, there have been 75 All-American's all time in the history of UK basketball and football, combined. Although it's easier to be granted All-America status in track and cross country (top eight American-born finishers at nationals are tabbed All-Americans), it is still a testament to Weber's sustained success.

"Over the years and being exposed to more kids, most of what I know and believe about what we do, training and competing, to a great degree, I've learned from the kids that I've coached," Weber said. "I've had some great teachers."

Weber might not take full credit for his athlete's success over the years, but there's something to be said about a coach who has stayed at a school for as long as Weber has and to have produced as many All-Americans.

The fuel behind the numbers, the longevity and the success has been an unwavering passion. Weber wants to be the UK track and field and cross country coach at his alma mater just as much as he did two-and-a-half decades ago.

"Every day I would check the Courier-journal hoping, wishing to read in the paper that the UK track coach retired or resigned because that's where I wanted to coach," Weber said. "Over a period of time of waiting and looking, it happened. I was very fortunate that the guy who got the job when that coach quit was an assistant coach here when I was an athlete. He coached here from 1978 to 1984 and then I got elevated. There was never any other place that I was interested in coaching."

Ever since becoming the head coach in 1984, Weber has coached his athletes to believe in his model, a system that starts and ends with the athlete themselves.

"It has to be personal," Weber said. "You have to want to do this for really good reasons, not just because there is a status connected to athletes. There have been a lot of athletes that I've known that really enjoy the process of improvement. You want to foster an environment where you tell the athlete that this is their thing, this is your skill and we want to assist you to do that, rather than them thinking that they work for us and that this is their job." 

Weber has achieved success despite what UK Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart has admitted to be below-average facilities. After years of an aging outdoor track facility, UK has agreed to build a new outdoor track, the initial phases of which are expected to begin shortly.
A pleased Weber said the future facility will only help build on the number of All-Americans the program has produced and improve recruiting.

"I think it's huge," Weber said. "It will be another indication that track and field is important at the University of Kentucky. Facilities, regardless of the sport, are significant to high school kids. It just leaves the impression of that's something that I want to be a part of."

Even with current facility's state, Weber's teams have continued to roll right along.

The women's cross country team have gotten off to a fast start to the 2010 season, led by sophomore Chelsea Oswald. The Cats have posted three straight top-10 finishes to begin the season, including a team championship at the Iona College Meet of Champions.

In Oswald's two meets this year, she captured the individual championship at Iona College Meet of Champions and placed second in the San Francisco Invitational. When Oswald didn't race last week in the Great Louisville Invitational, the team finished in ninth.

"She's one of our key runners," Weber said. "Not only is she a talented, gifted runner but the thing that distinguishes her is the thing that distinguishes every other accomplished athlete we've ever had - how motivated she is, how interested she is in maximizing her talents. And yet, we've got other runners that might not be as gifted but their accomplishment, motivation and success and how that's going contribute to their best performance and how that's going contribute to if their three, four or five for us is just as appreciated and important."

The men's cross country team hasn't fared quite as well, dropping out of the Southeast Region rankings this past week, but the Cats did win the San Francisco Invitational. The men's team is paced by Luis Orta, who won the individual championship in San Francisco and followed it up with a fifth-place posting at the Iona meet.

Important meets dot the future schedule, including the SEC Cross Country Championships on Nov. 1 and the NCAA Southeast Regionals on Nov. 13. In leading up to those two meets, Weber said the next few weeks will be about handling their own business.

"When I think about the SEC meet that is coming up and every SEC meet and every championship meet we've ever been to, I've never drawn out the meet and compared what other teams are doing from week to week," Weber said. "I've always just thought that our job responsibility is to be as good as we can be on race day. If we do that, most of the time, we'll be pretty satisfied with the end result."

Performances of the Week: Sept. 21

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Every Tuesday, UK Athletics recognizes outstanding performances for our student-athletes. These are the honorees for the week ending Sunday, Sept. 19:

Football: Mike Hartline

Completed 21 of 29 passes for 250 yards and two touchdowns.

Football: Derrick Locke

Had 17 carries for 166 yards and two touchdowns; also caught three passes for 29 yards.

Women's soccer: Sydney Hiance

Hiance recorded her third and fourth shutouts of the season on the week. Her shutout against South Alabama was the 19th of her career moving her to third place on Kentucky's all-time shutout list, one shy of second. Hiance and the Wildcats' defense have recorded three straight shutouts and have yet to allow a goal at home this season in five matches.

Volleyball: Elizabeth Koberstein

Freshman setter Elizabeth Koberstein made her first career start in a victory over South Carolina. Koberstein was sensational in her first complete action, dishing out a UK season-high 48 assists and leading UK to a season-best .328 hitting percentage. UK's 58 kills in the match are the most in a four-set match this season. Four UK attackers registered over 10 kills and two players posted .330 hitting clips or better. Koberstein was also terrific in her dispersal of the ball as all four players with 10 or more kills had between 26 and 28 total attempts. Koberstein saw limited action in the third set against No. 3 Florida where she was effective in dishing out six assists during the later portion of the stanza.

Cross country: Chelsea Oswald

Chelsea Oswald and the Kentucky women's cross country team claimed victories at the 2010 Br. John "Paddy" Doyle/Iona Meet of Champions in Bronx, N.Y., on Saturday. Oswald breezed through the six-kilometer course winning the race by nearly 13 seconds with a time of 21:41.68 to take the women's individual title, the second of her career. The team followed suit winning the meet with 62 points in a much tighter contest between the Wildcats, Brown and LaSalle. The top three teams were separated by only three points with Brown and LaSalle divided by a single tally. Two weeks ago in San Francisco, Oswald finished second with the team paralleling her performance with a runner-up finish.

Volleyball: Lauren Rapp

Senior Lauren Rapp led the Wildcats to a 1-1 week to open SEC action. The middle blocker from Indianapolis recorded 24 kills for the weekend on a sizzling .447 hitting percentage. She also paced the frontline defense with 11 total blocks for 1.38 blocks per frame as UK totaled 10 or more blocks in both matches this weekend. Rapp led the Wildcats in blocking in both matches. She also had a season-high 16 kills on a dazzling .500 hitting clip in the victory over South Carolina, UK's seventh straight in that series. Her 3.81 points per set is well above her 3.17 average for the season, and her hitting clip was nearly over .200 points higher than average.

Football: Danny Trevathan

Led team with eight tackles, including a tackle for loss.

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