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
Raymond Dykstra finished sixth in javelin at the NCAA Outdoor Championships. (Josh McCoy, UK Athletics)
On Thursday, freshman track and field athlete Raymond Dykstra finished sixth overall in javelin at the NCAA Outdoor Championships. He was close to his personal-best distance with a throw 74.4m, best among any freshman at the event.
"I actually wasn't going to do track and field," Dykstra said Thursday at Drake Stadium. "I got cut from the varsity soccer team when I was in grade nine and I said I wasn't going to do athletics. As I was sitting in one of my classes one day, the track coach came up to me and said that she had heard that, in past years, I had been on the relay team and I had done fairly well. She said, 'Would you like to come out to my relay team?' I said, 'Sure.'"
Dykstra enjoyed his time with the relay team, but during practices, another event kept catching his eye. Finally he asked if he could just try the event himself.
"It was late in the season, but in a couple of practices, I saw one fellow throwing the javelin," Dykstra said. "I asked my coach if I could go try the javelin and she said 'Sure, you can go try.'"
As it turns out, the javelin was meant to be for Dykstra.
Baseball - The Kentucky baseball team has been selected for its seventh all-time NCAA Tournament, traveling to the Gary, Ind., regional as the No. 2 seed, hosted by No. 1 seed Purdue. UK will face off with No. 3 seed and 25th-ranked Kent State in the opener on Friday, with No. 4 seeded Valparaiso taking on Purdue. - The Wildcats have had the best season in the history of the program, winning the second-most games in school annals and finishing third overall in the Southeastern Conference. UK led the SEC in eight of 10 weeks and was just one win shy of winning the second league regular season title in UK history. UK is just one win shy of equaling the school record for wins, owning a 13-9 record against top-25 teams, a 10-5 mark against top-10 foes and setting a school record by winning seven of its 10 SEC weekends. Last week, UK advanced to the semifinals of the SEC Tournament, the highest UK finish in the modern-era history of the league tournament (1998-present). - UK owns a 5-0 all-time record against Kent State, a 5-1 all-time mark against Purdue and have never played Valpo in school history. Overall against the field, UK owns a 14-13 mark against teams in the 2012 NCAA Tournament. UK ended the year with a No. 14 RPI. - Kentucky will be making its seventh all-time appearance in the NCAA Tournament, owning a 10-12 overall record. UK's last appearance in the NCAA Tournament came in 2008, when the Wildcats tied the best finish in school history with a regional runner-up finish. Men's tennis - Eric Quigley's historic four-year career as a member of the University of Kentucky men's tennis team came to an end Monday in the NCAA Singles Final as he fell in a tight battle to No. 1 Steve Johnson of Southern California at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex in Athens, Ga. Johnson, who won the NCAA Singles title last season as well, earned late breaks in both the first and second sets to defeat the UK star 6-4, 6-4. - The impressive tournament run by Quigley put him in exclusive company, becoming only the third player in school history to play in the NCAA Singles Final. The UK star joins fellow All-Americans Jesse Witten and Carlos Drada as the only players to advance to the finals of the singles event. - Quigley had to defeat some of the best players in the nation to advance to the singles final, taking down five ranked players, including four that are ranked in the top 20 in the nation. The run to the finals began with a 7-5, 6-4 win over No. 41 Andre Dome of Cal Poly in the first round before Quigley defeated No. 18 Andreas Mies of Auburn 7-6 (4), 6-3 to advance to the round of 16. Quigley's Sweet 16 win came in thrilling action, taking down No. 13 Artem Ilyushin of Mississippi State 7-6 (5), 7-6 (4) before he earned a 6-4, 6-3 win over Henrique Cunha of Duke in the quarterfinals. Quigley faced No. 9 Blaz Rola of Ohio State in the semifinal Sunday, using a come-from-behind effort to grab the win 2-6, 6-1, 7-6 (1). - The native of Pewee Valley, Ky., ends his senior season with a 54-8 record, which is the most wins in a single season in school history. The impressive mark this year took Quigley's career total to 172-47, which is the most wins in school history by a large amount, shattering the previous record by 27 wins.
Track and field - Raymond Dykstra, Andrew Evans and Luis Orta will represent Kentucky track and field this year at the NCAA Outdoor National Championships in Des Moines, Iowa, from June 6-9. The trio each earned qualified marks/times at the NCAA East Preliminary Round last weekend. - Dykstra, a freshman, earned a spot in the NCAA Outdoor National Championships with an eighth-place finish in the men's javelin, throwing 222-09/67.91m at Hodges Stadium in Jacksonville, Fla., on Thursday. - Evans qualified for the national championships with a mark of 182-07-55.67m in the discus. Like Dykstra, Evans also finished eighth at the east prelims on Thursday. - On Friday, Orta became the third Wildcat to qualify for the national championships, running a career-best time of 8:44.25 in the 3,000-meter steeplechase. Orta's time was the second-fastest 3,000m steeplechase in Kentucky history.
Friday, June 1 Baseball vs. Kent State - 4:00 p.m. (Gary, Ind.) Saturday, June 2 Baseball vs. Purdue/Valparaiso (Gary, Ind.)
Sunday, June 3 Baseball vs. TBA (Gary, Ind.) Wednesday, June 6 Track and field at NCAA Championships (Des Moines, Iowa)
Thursday, June 7 Track and field at NCAA Championships (Des Moines, Iowa)
Friday, June 8 Track and field at NCAA Championships (Des Moines, Iowa)
Saturday, June 9 Track and field at NCAA Championships (Des Moines, Iowa)
Baseball - After falling just a win shy of claiming the second Southeastern Conference Championship in program history on the final day of the regular season, Kentucky will kick off postseason play by opening the SEC Tournament on Tuesday as the fourth seed against the ninth-seeded Ole Miss Rebels, with first pitch set for 10:30 a.m. ET at Regions Park. - UK will be making its 14th all-time appearance in the SEC Tournament, owning a 16-28 overall record, with its fifth-place finish in 2000 and 2008 marking a program best. - UK completed its regular season with the most wins in a regular season in the history of the program, equaling the 41 from the school-record 44-win season in 2008. UK also tied the school record set in 2006 by winning seven of its 10 SEC series matchups in 2012. The Wildcats led the SEC in eight of 10 weeks and boasted home series wins over No. 2 South Carolina, No. 10 Ole Miss and No. 1 LSU, and road series wins at Tennessee, No. 18 Georgia and No. 9 Arkansas.
Men's tennis - The sixth-ranked University of Kentucky men's tennis team won the doubles point, but could not continue its momentum in singles action, dropping a 4-1 decision to No. 11 Stanford in the NCAA Men's Tennis Tournament Round of 16. - The loss concludes Kentucky's season with an overall record of 28-6, the second-most wins in the history of the program. Last year's team set the school record for wins in a year with a 29-9 mark. UK ends the season with a .778 winning percentage, which is the third highest in the history of the program behind the 1988 and 1992 teams. - Kentucky ends the season with a 23-6 record against currently ranked teams. More specifically, UK was 11-6 against teams currently ranked in the top 25, including three wins over teams in the top 10. Since the start of the 2009 season, Kentucky has won an impressive total of 31 matches against top-25 foes.
Softball - The Wildcats made their fourth-consecutive appearance in the NCAA Tournament on Friday in Louisville, and dropped a heart-wrenching 3-2 walk-off loss to No. 22 Michigan in the opening round. UK then defeated Valpo in an elimination game by a 5-4 margin before falling to the No. 7 Louisville Cardinals 3-2 in the Saturday elimination game. - UK ends its season at 30-30, marking the fourth-straight season the Wildcats have posted a .500 or better record. It is the best run in school history. Sophomore Ginny Carroll led the offense with a .444 average in the tournament, which included a double and pair of runs scored. Freshman Griffin Joiner connected for a two-run homer in the Louisville contest for UK's lone long ball. - The 2012 senior class comprised of Macy Allen, Chanda Bell, Brittany Cervantes, Ashleigh Gustafson, Rachel Riley and Erika Silence are credited with changing the culture of UK softball forever. The six-member class is the lone group of letter-winners to appear in postseason action in each season of its careers. They own the school-record for most wins in a career (136). Bell and Riley rank among the top-five in every pitching category in school history. Cervantes steps away as one of UK's most prolific offensive performers owning school records for homers and RBI. Track and field - Four Wildcats were named to the Track & Field All-SEC teams. Andrew Evans was a first-team selection in the discus, Raymond Dykstra and Luis Orta were second-team selections in the javelin and 3,000m steeplechase, respectively, and Keilah Tyson was named to the All-SEC Freshman Team in the 100m and 200m. Dykstra was also named to the All-SEC Freshman Team in the javelin. - Thirteen Kentucky student-athletes have qualified for the NCAA East Preliminary, which takes place from May 24-26 in Jacksonville, Fla. Representing Kentucky will be Terence Boyd (long jump, triple jump), Raymond Dykstra (javelin), Andrew Evans (discus), Terri-Ann Grant (high jump), Isiah Kent (discus), Josh Nadzam (1,500m), Luis Orta (3,000m steeplechase), Kayla Parker (100m hurdles), Allison Peare (800m), Jennifer Svoboda (shot put), Keilah Tyson (100m, 200m), and the 4x100m relay team, which will consist of Tamyah Pipkin, Tyson, Julie Nunn and Parker.
Tuesday, May 22 Baseball vs. Ole Miss - 9:30 a.m. (Hoover, Ala.) Wednesday, May 23 Men's tennis in singles and doubles draw (Athens, Ga.) Baseball vs. LSU/Arkansas/Mississippi State (Hoover, Ala.)
Thursday, May 24 Men's tennis in singles and doubles draw (Athens, Ga.) Track and field at NCAA East Preliminary Round (Jacksonville, Fla.)
Friday, May 25 Baseball vs. TBA (Hoover, Ala.) Men's tennis in singles and doubles draw (Athens, Ga.) Track and field at NCAA East Preliminary Round (Jacksonville, Fla.)
Saturday, May 26 Baseball vs. TBA (Hoover, Ala.) Men's tennis in singles and doubles draw (Athens, Ga.) Track and field at NCAA East Preliminary Round (Jacksonville, Fla.)
Sunday, May 27 Men's tennis in singles and doubles draw (Athens, Ga.)
Monday, May, 28 Men's tennis in singles and doubles draw (Athens, Ga.)
Baseball - After completing a sweep of Alabama to remain in a tie for first atop the SEC standings, Kentucky concludes the regular-season with a four-game road trip during the week, visiting Murray State on Tuesday in a midweek matchup, before heading to Starkville, Miss., for its final SEC series of the year against Mississippi State. UK owns a one-game lead over Western Division leader LSU (17-10) and a half-game lead over South Carolina (17-9). LSU ends the season at South Carolina, starting Thursday at Carolina Stadium. - With the sweep and the 4-0 week, UK extended its winning streak to five games, becoming the first team in the nation to ascend to 40 wins and regained the NCAA lead in wins. The Wildcats have the second-most wins in program history and its 18 SEC wins ranks second-best in UK annals, behind only the 44-win seasons in 2006 and 2008 and the 20-win SEC Championship season in 2006. - UK owns a 16-4 record in one-run games and a 12-8 record in games against top-25 teams. The Wildcats have the ability to win the conference for the second time in program history entering the final weekend, which would also secure a bye for the SEC Tournament. - With the sweep, UK set a new wins record for Cliff Hagan Stadium, finishing 29-5 at home. UK also set a new school record for team saves (18). Men's tennis - Dominated both its first and second round matches in the NCAA Tournament against Radford and Indiana, taking down both opponents by the score of 4-0 to advance to its third consecutive Sweet 16 appearance. This is only the second time in school history that UK has advanced to three consecutive Sweet 16s after head coach Dennis Emery led UK to the event from 1987-89. - UK's win over Indiana is its 13th victory in its last 14 matches, and the eighth consecutive win at home. All told, Kentucky ends the season with an impressive 16-1 record at home and a 62-10 posting at Boone since the start of the 2009 season. The victory moves Kentucky's record to 23-5 this season against ranked foes, while UK's 28 wins in 2012 is one off its school record 29 wins set a season ago. - Eric Quigley was impressive in singles and doubles action over the weekend, winning both his doubles matches with Panav Jha and both of his singles matches in straight sets. Junior Anthony Rossi went 1-0 on the week in singles along with sophomores Tom Jomby, Alejandro Gomez and Grant Roberts. Rossi's win against Radford was the match clincher, while Roberts' win against IU was the clinching point. - Kentucky won the doubles point in both matches, moving to 21-0 this season when it wins the doubles point.
Softball - Kentucky earned a bid into the NCAA Tournament for a school-record fourth consecutive year. UK is one of just 27 teams in the country, including seven in the SEC, to achieve the feat. - UK's senior class is the only class in program history to advance to postseason play in each of its four seasons of action. The class has also compiled a school-record 135-94 overall record. - Kentucky dropped its quarterfinal game with No. 11 Georgia in the SEC Tournament on Thursday. Brittany Cervantes homered for the 11th time in UK's last 21 outings to lead the offense as UK rallied from a six-run deficit, but the rally fell short at 6-4. Cervantes along with junior Alice O'Brien both registered a pair of hits. Track and field - Andrew Evans threw a mark of 181-09/55.40m in the men's discus finals at the SEC Championships and took home the men's discus title. It is the fifth-straight men's discus title for Kentucky at the SEC Championships. - Evans led seven different Wildcat men to earn points at the conference meet, with a trio of women scoring points for UK. - Luis Orta charted 12 points combined with a second-place finish in the steeplechase and a fifth-place finish in the 5,000-meter run. - Raymond Dykstra (2nd - Javelin); Walter Luttrell (4th - 10,000-meter run); Matt Hillenbrand (5th - 1,500-meter run) and Jennifer Svoboda (5th - Shot put) rounded out the top-five finishes for the Wildcats, as the men finished in eighth overall and the women in 12th.
Women's golf - The University of Kentucky women's golf team wrapped up its season following a 17th place finish at the Central Regional in Columbus, Ohio, shooting a 75-over-par 939. - Senior Ashlee Rose concluded her career as a Wildcat with a season-best, even-par 72 in the final round on Saturday, finishing in a tie for 50th at 18-over-par 234. In her career, Rose competed in 106 rounds, seventh most in school history. - Kentucky's 304.73 season scoring average breaks a school record previously held by the 2008-09 team that earned a 305.23 scoring average. Upcoming schedule
Tuesday, May 15 Baseball at Murray State - 7:00 p.m.
Thursday, May 17 Baseball at Mississippi State - 7:30 p.m.
Friday, May 18 Softball vs. Michigan - 4:30 p.m. (Louisville, Ky.) Baseball at Mississippi State - 8:00 p.m. Men's tennis vs. Stanford - Round of 16 (Athens, Ga.)
Saturday, May 19 Baseball at Mississippi State - 3:00 p.m. Softball at NCAA Regionals (Louisville, Ky.)
Sunday, May 20 Softball at NCAA Regionals (Louisville, Ky.) Men's tennis NCAA Quarterfinals (Athens, Ga.)
The clock is ticking down on this year in UK Athletics.
Baseball is the only team still in regular season play, while men's tennis, softball, track and field, women's golf and men's golf are all preparing for postseason play. You can find more information on each one at the individual sport pages, but I figured I would compiled and summarize information on how to follow all of your Wildcat teams in the postseason. Men's tennis - Hosting NCAA Tournament beginning Friday
For the fourth consecutive season, UK was chosen to host first and second round matches. Kentucky, the No. 6 overall seed in the tournament, will open their NCAA run against No. 75 Radford (20-5) 3 p.m. Friday at the Boone Tennis Complex. Should the Cats win, they will advance to meet the victor between Indiana (21-8) and Louisville (18-9), a match that will be played on Saturday at 2 p.m. at the Boone Tennis Complex.
Tickets are still available and you can visit Tourney Central http://www.ukathletics.com/ncaatennis/ for more information. For those unable to attend, there are plenty of ways to keep up with the action:
If UK advances past the second round, it will travel to Athens, Ga., for the Sweet 16.
Softball - Opens SEC Tournament on Thursday
With a late-season surge, UK earned the fifth seed in the SEC Tournament and the right to face fourth-seeded Georgia at 5 p.m. ET on Thursday in Tuscaloosa, Ala. All tournament games will be carried live on the ESPN family of networks with UK's first round game on ESPNU and ESPN3.
Just a couple weeks ago, it appeared the SEC Tournament may be UK's last chance to qualify for NCAAs, but the Wildcats are now two games over .500 and likely to reach the NCAA Tournament even with a first-round loss in the SEC. Stay tuned to the blog this evening, because we will have a feature on senior Rachel Riley to preview the tournament.
Track and field - Preparing for SEC Championships
The track and field team is already in Baton Rouge, La., where the Wildcats will participate in the SEC Outdoor Championships. The event begins on Thursday and lasts through Sunday. Metz Camfield is traveling with the team and will have updates on UKathletics.com. Also, follow @KentuckyTrack on Twitter as the Cats look to improve on an eighth-place finish at SEC Indoors.
Women's golf - NCAA bound
Last week, the women's golf team learned its NCAA Tournament path, and the Wildcats will be heading to Columbus, Ohio for the Central Regional of the NCAA Women's Golf Championship, which begins on Thursday and lasts through Saturday. The Cats will be part of a 24-team field that includes six other SEC teams as they look to finish a strong 2012 during which they've bested the school record for team scoring average by nearly two strokes.
Men's golf - Awaiting NCAA fate
The Wildcats, after a seventh-place finish in the SEC Championships, are hoping to earn their first NCAA Regional berth since 2009. If UK does hear its name called, Regionals will take place May 17-19.
Every Tuesday, UK Athletics recognizes outstanding performances for our student-athletes. These are the honorees for the week ending Sunday, May 6:
Softball: Chanda Bell
After having simply one of the best weekends of her career in leading the Wildcats to a series win at No. 2 Florida a week ago, senior Chanda Bell went and topped that performance by leading UK to a sweep of No. 22 LSU to become NCAA Tournament eligible and clinch the No. 5 seed at the SEC Tournament. The right-hander played a part in the circle in all three victories for UK. In the opening game of the series, she worked a complete-game eight-inning win, yielding four hits and striking out 10. It was the second consecutive game against a top-25 opponent she struck out 10 or more batters in the win. In the series-clincher, she was brought into the game in relief in the top of the seventh with runners on first and second and UK clinging to a one-run lead with one out. She promptly recorded outs against the only two batters she faced to earn her third save of the season and a UK-record breaking fifth of her career. She then saved her best performance for last. On Senior Day no less, Bell tossed a no-hitter to clinch a sweep of the Tigers. She worked all seven innings, striking out six and allowing just two walks. It was the fifth no-hitter of her career, but first of the season for the Indianapolis native. Following the weekend, she moves into third in UK's single-season record books for saves (3), fourth for strikeouts (194) and fifth for wins (16). With the two wins this weekend she becomes the first pitcher in program history to have 15 or more wins in all four seasons of her career. Furthermore, she became UK's first hurler to top 900 career strikeouts with 16 tossed this weekend to run her career total to 903. Finally, her ERA falls to a program-topping 2.48 for her career.
Softball: Brittany Cervantes
Senior Brittany Cervantes was a difference-maker in every at-bat in guiding UK to a sweep of LSU which marked the first-ever series win over the Tigers in program history. In Friday night's opening game with Kentucky trailing 3-0, Cervantes delivered a two-out two-run RBI double to bring UK within striking distance. In the bottom of the seventh and with two outs, Cervantes drilled a two-strike home run over the center field wall to tie the score at 3-3 and force extra innings. Kentucky would eventually win in the bottom of the eighth. In the second game of the series, she connected for her second solo home run in as many at-bats to drive in the game's first run in UK's 2-1 series-clinching win. Following the homer, she was walked twice to avoid her bat. In the final game of the series, Cervantes opened the game with a double - to mark all four hits in the series going for extra bases. For the weekend, she batted a team-high .571 and had four RBI. Three of those runs brought in came against the nation's leader in ERA in Rachele Fico who entered the game with a 0.90 ERA. With the tremendous weekend - Cervantes advanced in a number of categories in UK's record books. She now has the fourth-most single-season doubles (16) and home runs (12) and has drawn the third-most walks (32) in a season. Career-wise, she moved into second in slugging percentage (.580), third in total bases (363), fourth in doubles (42) and runs scored (146), sixth in assists (366) and seventh in career games played (228). She already owns UK career records in RBI and home runs and pushed those totals to 160 and 47, respectively.
Baseball: Corey Littrell
Corey Littrell led No. 3 Kentucky to a 2-1 win over No. 5 Florida, shutting down the high-octane Gators by taking a shutout into the ninth inning ... Littrell dominated, striking out five batters while allowing no walks against 32 batters, with the only damage allowed coming as a leadoff solo homer to start the ninth inning with UK leading 2-0 ... Littrell's eight-inning effort is a career high, improving his overall record to a team-best 7-0 ... Littrell has become a fixture on Sundays for the Wildcats, boasting a 7-0 record with a 2.30 ERA, 61 strikeouts to just 18 walks and a team-high 74.1 innings pitched.
Track & field: Keffri Neal
Ran a season-best 800m run at the Billy Hayes Invitational, finishing in 1:50.67.
Finished third in the 800m at the Billy Hayes Invitational.
It is the second-straight week that Neal has recorded a season-best time in the 800m.
Baseball: Michael Williams
Junior catcher/first basemen Michael Williams led UK at the plate during their three-games series against No. 5 Florida ... Williams hit .455 (5-for-11) during the week with one home run, two double, two RBI, 10 total bases and a .909 slugging percentage ... Williams shined in the ESNPU SEC Game of the Week, going 2-4 and drilling a two-run home run in the bottom of the seventh to bring the game within one run ... In Sunday's 2-1 win over Florida, Williams went two for three, knocking his second double of the weekend ... On the year, Williams has hit .285 (43-for-151) with six doubles, two home runs, 15 walks and 26 RBI.
Baseball - The No. 3 Kentucky baseball team broke for finals and returned to action with a stiff test, hosting two-time defending Southeastern Conference Champion and College World Series participant No. 5 Florida in a three-game set. UK suffered losses in the first two games, before riding the dominating arms of Corey Littrell and Trevor Gott to a 2-1 win in the finale. - Kentucky returns to action on Wednesday, traveling to Bloomington, Ind., to face Indiana before returning home to host the final SEC series of the year at Cliff Hagan Stadium, welcoming Alabama Friday at 6:30 p.m. ET. UK will wrap up the regular season at Mississippi State the following weekend, before traveling to the SEC Tournament in Hoover, Ala., May 22-27. - The Wildcats have amassed the fifth-most wins in program history, with their 15 SEC wins checking in third-most in program annals. UK lost its lead in the SEC for the first time in a span of eight weeks during the weekend loss to the Gators, as UK had led the conference standings for seven-consecutive weeks. UK sits a game back of the league lead, behind South Carolina (16-8) and LSU (16-8), a pair of team UK owns series wins against, with the Wildcats sweeping the Gamecocks. - UK has improved to 13-4 in one-run games, owning a 12-8 record against top-25 opponents and a 10-5 mark against top-10 foes. The Wildcats boast a 30-3 record in day games after posting the 2-1 win on Sunday vs. Florida, riding Littrell and Gott's pitching efforts. Softball - The Kentucky softball team concluded regular-season action with a sweep of No. 22 LSU this weekend to clinch the No. 5 seed in the SEC Tournament and become NCAA Tournament eligible. The Wildcats entered the weekend with a 4-13 record in one-run games and a 0-5 mark in league play. All three victories against the Tigers came with UK winning by just one tally. Furthermore, LSU had never lost a game in Lexington and had never dropped a series to the Wildcats in program history. - The Wildcats needed the senior trio of Chanda Bell, Brittany Cervantes and Rachel Riley to lead them to victory yet again. In the opening game of the series, Cervantes carved up the NCAA leader in ERA (0.90) in Rachele Fico for three earned runs including a two-run double and a two-out, two-strike solo homer in the bottom of the seventh to force extra innings. - Bell worked the complete-game effort and struck out 10 in the win. On Saturday, Riley was the winning pitcher with Bell earning the save and Cervantes going yard in her second consecutive at-bat against the Tigers with a solo homer in the first frame. In the final game of the series, Bell notched the fifth no-hitter of her career while striking out six in the win. Cervantes was 1-for-2 with a double to mark all four of her hits in the series coming in extra-base fashion. - With the series win the Wildcats earn the fifth-seed in the tournament, marking their highest finish in the league under Rachel Lawson and the highest since winning the East in 2000. The 15-13 record in league play is the second-straight winning record against league foes and just the third in program history. Kentucky, with an RPI of 39 entering the weekend, became NCAA Tournament eligible by ensuring a regular-season record of above .500 (29-27) to mark the fourth straight season the Wildcats will cap the regular season with a winning record - a program record.
Men's tennis - The UK men's tennis team received an at-large selection into the 2012 NCAA Men's Tennis Tournament. Kentucky was selected as one of 16 host sites for the event, marking the fourth consecutive season the Wildcats will host the first and second rounds of the tournament. - UK, which is the top seed in the Lexington Regional and the sixth overall seed in the tournament, will be joined in Lexington by No. 27 Indiana (21-8), No. 37 Louisville (18-9) and No. 75 Radford (20-5). - The Wildcats are making their 23rd showing in the NCAA Tournament, including 18 of the last 19 years. This is the ninth time since 2000 that UK has hosted the first and second rounds, including four consecutive years. All of UK's NCAA appearances have come under Emery's direction.
Track and field - Seven UK student-athletes competed Friday at the Billy Hayes Invitational in Bloomington, Ind. - Freshman Keffri Neal ran a season-best 800m time of 1:50.67 to finish third overall. - Sophomore Matt Hillenbrand ran the second-best 800m by a UK runner all season, finishing fourth in the race with a time of 1:51.07. - The Billy Hayes Invitational is UK's final regular-season race of the year. The Wildcats will compete next in the SEC Outdoor Track and Field Championships in Baton Rouge, La., beginning Thursday.
Wednesday, May 9 Baseball at Indiana - 3:00 p.m.
Thursday, May 10 Softball vs. Georgia - 5:00 p.m. (Tuscaloosa, Ala.) Track and field at SEC Championships (Baton Rouge, La.) Friday, May 11 Men's tennis hosts Radford - 3:00 p.m. (NCAA Tournament) Softball vs. Alabama/Mississippi State - 5:30 p.m. (Tuscaloosa, Ala.) Baseball hosts Alabama - 7:00 p.m. Track and field at SEC Championships (Baton Rouge, La.)
Saturday, May 12 Baseball hosts Alabama - 2:00 p.m. Men's tennis hosts Indiana/Louisville - 2:00 p.m. (NCAA Tournament) Softball SEC Championship - 8:00 p.m. (Tuscaloosa, Ala.) Track and field at SEC Championships (Baton Rouge, La.) Sunday, May 13 Baseball hosts Alabama - 1:00 p.m. Track and field at SEC Championships (Baton Rouge, La.)
Baseball - The Kentucky baseball team suffered its first Southeastern Conference series defeat of the year last week, falling in a rubber match on Sunday at the hands of defending conference champion Vanderbilt, also dropping a midweek game at No. 20 Louisville. UK breaks for final exams and returns to action on Thursday, hosting No. 1 Florida in a three-game series at Cliff Hagan Stadium. - Kentucky sits in a three-way tie atop the conference standings, joining Western Division leader, No. 3 LSU and No. 4 South Carolina. UK has three conference weekend meetings remaining, hosting No. 1 Florida and Alabama, and traveling to Mississippi State. The Wildcats own league series wins over South Carolina, LSU, No. 10 Ole Miss, No. 9 Arkansas, No. 18 Georgia and Tennessee. - The UK series with Florida will pit the Wildcats against the consensus preseason No. 1 team in the nation, with the Gators setting a Baseball America record with seven members of the preseason All-America team. Florida will face UK at Cliff Hagan on Thursday in the ESPNU Thursday Night SEC Game of the Week at 7:30 p.m. ET, following College Baseball Live on ESPNU. On Friday, the series will resume at 7 p.m. ET and conclude on Saturday at 2 p.m. ET at Cliff Hagan Stadium. - The Wildcats have been paced by an offense that ranks among the SEC leaders in nearly every offensive category, batting .309 with 94 doubles, 48 homers and 312 runs scored. Individually, freshman Austin Cousino owns a .348 average with 18 doubles, one triple, eight homers and 37 RBI, stealing 10 bases. Luke Maile has hit .329 with 10 doubles, 11 homers and 43 RBI, stealing nine bags. Thomas McCarthy has hit .323 with 15 doubles, five homers and 26 RBI, while outfielder Zac Zellers has hit .310 with eight doubles, five homers and 18 RBI. Freshman A.J. Reed has a .302 average with nine doubles, three homers and 39 RBI, while Cameron Flynn owns a .286 mark with nine homers and 30 RBI.
Softball - The Kentucky softball team charted a 3-1 week, which included a series-upset of No. 2 Florida in Gainesville this weekend. It marked the second consecutive season the Wildcats have captured the series from Florida, and it was the first series this season the Gators had dropped in conference play. - The tremendous week was led by the senior trio of Chanda Bell, Brittany Cervantes and Rachel Riley. Bell picked up both victories in the Florida series working 14.0 innings and allowing just one run. She struck out 21 batters, including a season-high 13 in the series-clincher. For the weekend, she struck out 10.5 batters for every one she walked. - Riley batted .500 for the week which included the game-winning bases-clearing double in the series win over Florida. She also pitched UK to a victory in the midweek contest with Morehead State striking out seven and giving up just three hits. - Cervantes led the bats with a .583 week which included hitting what would become the game-winning solo homer in the opening win of the Florida series. With that long ball she became the only UK player in school history to hit 10 or more homers in all four seasons of a career. - With the wins over Florida, the Wildcats also guaranteed themselves a spot in the SEC Tournament for an unprecedented fourth consecutive year.
Track and field - Freshman Keilah Tyson finished second in the Women's 100-Meter Dash Championship at the Penn Relays on Saturday, clocking the third fastest 100m dash in UK history and the fastest ever by a freshman. - Senior Luis Orta finished fourth in the men's 3,000m steeplechase with a career-best time of 8:47.52. Orta's time is the second-fastest steeplechase in Kentucky history. - Sophomore Andrew Evans won the Men's Discus Throw Championship by six inches at the Penn Relays on Friday, throwing 185-06/56.56m. - Senior Jennifer Svoboda finished fifth in the Women's Shot Put Championship on Thursday at the Penn Relays, throwing a season-best mark of 50-10/15.49m.
Thursday, May 3 Baseball hosts Florida - 7:30 p.m.
Every Tuesday, UK Athletics recognizes outstanding performances for our student-athletes. These are the honorees for the week ending Sunday, April 29:
Softball: Chanda Bell
Senior Chanda Bell simply had the best pitching performance of the season during the most critical stages of the year for the Wildcats. With UK needing to stay close to .500 for the season for any post-season hope, UK traveled to No. 2 Florida who had not yielded a single SEC series this season. Bell opened the series as UK's starter and pitched a four-hit shutout of the Gators - only the fourth time all season Florida had been shutout. She struck out eight in the contest and gave up just one walk. After Florida evened the series on Saturday, UK turned to its senior right-hander in the rubber game. Bell simply was masterful; she struck out a season-high 13 batters and gave up just one run to the powerful Gators. Three times in the game she struck out the side. The 13 strikeouts tossed against Florida was the second-highest total of the year for any pitcher. She walked just one batter in the contest and for the weekend struck out 10.5 batters for every one she walked. The Gators stranded eight in the game including four in scoring position and every time it appeared Florida would threaten, Bell stood her ground and escaped the jams. For her career, she now sits a mere 13 strikeouts away from recording 900 for her career. She's the only pitcher in UK history to throw 150 or more strikeouts in each of her four seasons.
Track & field: Raymond Dykstra
Finished fourth in the men's javelin throw championship at the famous Penn Relays.
Threw 229-10 in the javelin at the championship at the Penn Relays, which would be the second-best javelin mark in school history (he currently holds the top mark).
Track & field: Andrew Evans
Won the men's discus championship at the famous Penn Relays with a throw of 185-06/56.56m.
Has led the Wildcats all season, currently holding the seventh best discus mark in UK history (188-10).
Track & field: Luis Orta
Ran a career-best time in the men's 3,000m steeplechase.
Ran the second-fastest time in the men's 3,000m steeplechase in school history.
Finished with the third-fastest time in his heat amongst collegiate athletes.
Was competing in arguably the most competitive distance running meet in the country.
Softball: Rachel Riley
Senior Rachel Riley provided both an offensive spark as well as one in the pitching circle to help lead the Wildcats to a series-upset of No. 2 Florida as well as earning a non-conference win over Morehead State. Against the Eagles, Riley tossed a complete-game win, striking out seven and giving up just three hits while also going 2-for-3 at the dish in an all-important win. In the opening game of the Florida series she drove in a run with a slicing single to give UK a 2-0 lead in the third inning. In the second game of the series, she notched another hit while also working 5.0 innings of relief and giving up just one earned run and striking out four. In the rubber game between the squads, Riley delivered the game-winning sixth-inning bases-clearing double to propel UK to a 5-1 upset of the Gators. It marked just the first time this season Florida has dropped a conference series, and the four-run margin was the largest win of the season for a Gator opponent. With four RBI this weekend, Riley has now driven in a career-high 30 RBI as well as logging a career-best 44 hits. Her 11 strikeouts tossed on the week runs her season total to a career-best 73. With three walks this week, Riley has now moved into UK's all-time top-10 list for career walks.
Track & field: Jennifer Svoboda
Finished fifth in the women's shot put championship with a season-best mark of 50-10 at the famous Penn Relays.
Threw a season-best mark in the shot put (50-10/15.49m).
Has led the Wildcats all season in the shot put.
Track & field: Keilah Tyson
Broke the Kentucky 100m dash freshman record for the second time this year.
Her time of 11.48 in the 100m dash is a career-best and the third best in school history.
Finished 1st in her heat in the 100m dash at the famous Penn Relays.
Finished 2nd in the 100m dash championship at the Penn Relays, running a UK freshman record in the process.
Has the fastest 100m time among freshmen in the SEC, and the eighth fastest overall.
Has set four freshman records at Kentucky, including two this outdoor season (100m dash and 200m dash).
Ran the second leg in Kentucky's first-place 4x100m relay team in the second final of the event.
Ran the final leg in Kentucky's seventh-place 4x200m relay team that advanced to the championship.