Men's basketball - The SEC regular-season champion, Kentucky Wildcats, make their NCAA-record 52nd appearance in the NCAA Tournament, earning an at-large bid as the overall No. 1 seed in the tournament. - The Wildcats just missed the league's automatic bid, dropping a 71-64 game to the Vanderbilt Commodores in the SEC Tournament championship. - UK was led offensively Sunday by senior Darius Miller, who tallied a team-high 16 points. - The Wildcats got a pair of double-double performances from Anthony Davis (12p, 10r) and Terrence Jones (12p, 11r) on Sunday. For Davis it was his fourth-straight double-double. He also added three blocks. - Doron Lamb rounded out Kentucky's four double-digit scorers against Vanderbilt.
Rifle - The UK rifle team concluded its 2011-12 season with a second-place overall finish at the NCAA Championships in Columbus, Ohio, over the weekend. - In the first day, UK won its second consecutive team national championship in smallbore. The NCAA Championship in smallbore was just the second in program history. - The Wildcats' (11-1, 6-0) second-place finish is the fifth all-time runner-up finish at the NCAA Championships in program history. - The championships conclude another stellar season for the Wildcats, which completed a second consecutive undefeated GARC regular-season schedule. Baseball - The No. 23 Kentucky baseball team completed a five-game week with a three-game weekend series sweep over Canisius, in addition to midweek wins over Tennessee Tech and Marshall. - The Wildcats are the lone undefeated team in the NCAA, posting a 16-0 record, owning the longest winning streak and the most wins in the nation. - UK's 16-0 start is the third-best start to a season in the over 100-year history of the program, passing the 15-0 start the 2000 team opened up with under Keith Madison. The 2007 and 2008 teams own the school record with a 19-0 start. - During the week, UK posted a 10-6 win over Tennessee Tech and a 7-3 win over Marshall. UK then charted a 19-9 win over Canisius in the series opener, before winning the series on Saturday with a 7-5 result and sweeping the Golden Griffins with a 5-4 walk-off win on Sunday. - UK has been paced by the best offense in the SEC, owning a .349 team average, belting 16 homers through 16 games, with a 3.25 ERA on the mound and 163 strikeouts in 144 innings. Men's tennis - The men's tennis team had another great weekend in SEC play, defeating No. 33 South Carolina and No. 9 Florida at home. - The wins were Kentucky's 10th and 11th over ranked teams for this season, while the victory over Florida was UK's 24th over a top-25 team since the start of the 2009 season. UK has now beat Florida in consecutive regular seasons for the first time since 1992-93. - Sophomore Grant Roberts stole the show Sunday vs. UF with a three-set match to clinch the UK victory. Senior No. 6 Eric Quigley, sophomore No. 98 Tom Jomby and Roberts each earned two singles wins over the weekend.
Gymnastics - The gymnastics team had yet another winning weekend when it scored one of the highest team scores in school history of 196.025 against George Washington and Ball State. The two wins guarantee UK a winning regular season for the first time since 2008. - UK has now posted consecutive 195.95 scores or higher for the first time since 2002, while Tim Garrison is the first head coach in school history to post a 196 or higher in his opening year. - UK scored a 49.0 or higher on three events, including a season high on bars, while UK set or tied eight season highs and seven career highs in the meet.
Softball - Kentucky dropped three games with No. 1 Alabama in its home-opening weekend. The Tide escaped a 3-1 nine-inning thriller in the opening game. - Griffin Joiner, the reigning SEC Freshman of the Week, led the Wildcats with a .544 batting average and a homer. - Pitcher Lauren Cumbess tossed a career-high 10 strikeouts in a tough-luck loss to the Tide in the second game of the series. - UK will take a weekend off from SEC action by hosting the UK Invitational. - Kentucky finished its indoor season Friday at the NCAA Championships in Nampa, Idaho. Track and field - Senior Terri-Ann Grant represented the Wildcats at the championships, finishing ninth in the high jump with a mark of 1.78m/5-10.00. - Grant's performance earned her second-team All-America honors. - Kentucky begins its outdoor season March 16 at the Bulls Invitational in Tampa, Fla.
Women's tennis - Kentucky dropped a 6-1 decision in its opening SEC road match of the season at South Carolina. - Khristina Blajkevitch captured the lone point for the Wildcats with a 3-6, 6-3, (10-8) win at No. 3 singles. - UK remains on the road at Florida and its match has been postponed until Monday at 12:30 p.m. ET. Men's golf - Kentucky finished third at the USF Invitational after back-to-back rounds of 4-under-par and 1-over-par in the final two rounds of the tournament. - Chase Parker led the way for UK with a fourth-place finish after a 5-under-par 67 in the second round. - Parker's 67 tied his career-low round, and was his second round of 5-under-par in as many tournaments. - Parker, Cody Martin and Stephen Powers each finished in the top 25. Upcoming schedule
Monday, March 12 Women's tennis at Florida - 12:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 13 Softball hosts Western Illinois - 3:00 p.m. Baseball hosts Wright State - 4:00 p.m. Wednesday, March 14 Baseball hosts Murray State - 4:00 p.m. Thursday, March 15 Women's tennis vs. Miami - 5:00 p.m. (Coral Gables, Fla.) Men's basketball vs. WKU/MVSU - 6:50 p.m. (Louisville) Friday, March 16 Softball hosts N.C. State - 3:00 p.m. Softball hosts UAB - 5:00 p.m. Baseball hosts South Carolina - 7:00 p.m. Men's golf at Schenkel Invitational (Statesboro, Ga.) Track and Field at Bulls Invitational (Tampa) Women's golf at Lady Gator Invitational (Gainesville, Fla.) Saturday, March 17 Men's basketball vs. UConn/Iowa State - TBA (Louisville) Softball hosts Missouri-Kansas City - 1:00 p.m. Softball hosts TBD - 3:00 p.m. /5:00 p.m. Baseball hosts South Carolina - 2:00 p.m. Gymnastics at Centenary -7:00 p.m. Men's golf at Schenkel Invitational (Statesboro, Ga.) Women's golf at Lady Gator Invitational (Gainesville, Fla.)
Sunday, March 18 Softball hosts TBD - 11:00 a.m. /1:00 p.m. Baseball hosts South Carolina - 1:00 p.m. Men's golf at Schenkel Invitational (Statesboro, Ga.) Women's golf at Lady Gator Invitational (Gainesville, Fla.)
Men's basketball -The Wildcats closed out an historic regular season on Sunday with a 74-59 win at No. 16 Florida to put a cap on a perfect 16-0 run in Southeastern Conference play. It was the third time in UK and SEC history that a team posted a perfect 16-0 mark in league play. The last time it occurred in the 2003 season. - Anthony Davis led the Wildcats with his 14th double-double of the season on a game-high 22 points and 12 rebounds. He added six blocks as well. - Terrence Jones (19) and Marquis Teague (12) both scored in double-figures for the Wildcats. - Kentucky shot 52.5 pct. from the field while holding Florida to 38.2 pct. and 16 points below their season average. Women's basketball - Kentucky fell to LSU, 61-72, in the semifinals of the Southeastern Conference Tournament. - Junior guard A'dia Mathies and senior guard Keyla Snowden were each named to the SEC All-Tournament Team. - Mathies averaged 21.0 points per game in UK's two tournament appearances, while Snowden averaged 17.0 points and 4.5 3-pointers per game. - UK defeated Florida, 71-67, in the quarterfinals. It was UK's third trip to the SEC semifinals in as many years.
Baseball - The Kentucky baseball team continued its hot start to the season with five wins during the week to improve to 11-0 on the season. The Wildcats return to action with another five-game week, starting Tuesday and Wednesday with a pair of midweek tests against Tennessee Tech and Marshall at Cliff Hagan Stadium. - Kentucky (11-0) owns the best record in the nation and is one of only two undefeated teams in college baseball, joining 10-0 Gonzaga. The Wildcats are off to the fourth-best start to a season in school annals and the best since opening up a school-record 19-0 in 2007 and 2008 and a 15-0 start in 2000. - The Wildcats have been paced by a balanced approach throughout the year, with an explosive offense that owns a .334 average with 13 homers in 11 games, a 2.64 team ERA with 113 strikeouts in 99 innings and a .983 fielding percentage. Men's tennis - UK started conference play in style by winning its first two conference matches of the year, defeating No. 17 LSU 5-1 and No. 47 Arkansas 6-1. Also won its lone non-conference match of week, taking down Louisiana-Lafayette 5-2. The win over LSU marked Kentucky's 23rd over a top-25 opponent since the start of the 2009 season. - Kentucky won the doubles point in all three matches, including sweeping doubles play against Louisiana-Lafayette and Arkansas. The Wildcats are now 9-0 on the season when they win the doubles point. - Kentucky played well in singles action, winning 13 of the 17 singles matches last week that ended in a decision. Sophomore Tom Jomby led the way with a 3-0 record in singles, while seniors Eric Quigley and Alex Musialek and sophomores Grant Roberts and Alejandro Gomez grabbed two singles wins each.
Gymnastics - Earned their second-consecutive win over a top-25 opponent with an impressive team score of 195.95 at No. 21 Illinois on Friday. The high score marks only the 11th time in school history the Wildcats have scored a 195.95 or higher in a meet. - The win moved Kentucky to No. 25 in the latest GymInfo rankings with an RQS of 194.930. It marks only the second time since 2007 that UK has been ranked in the top 25 at this point in the season (week two of RQS rankings). - Kentucky sealed the win over Illinois on balance beam with an impressive team score of 49.050, which was only the 10th time in school history UK has posted a 49.05 or higher on the event. Overall, Kentucky set or tied 10 season highs and 10 career highs in the meet.
Softball - The softball team capped its 18-game road trip with a 3-2 weekend at the Ragin' Cajun Invitational which saw UK plate eight or more runs in its three victories. Junior Kara Dill, senior Chanda Bell and freshman Griffin Joiner were tabbed to the All-Tournament team after pacing the Wildcats. - Dill extended her career-long hitting streak to 15 games and batted .500 for the weekend. She's logged multiple-hits in eight games this season including twice this weekend. - Freshman Griffin Joiner moved into the No. 3 spot in the batting order and excelled for the Wildcats with a team-high .571 batting average. - Bell was involved in all three of UK's wins including charting two victories and notching a save. She tossed 15 strikeouts and limited opponent batters to just 0.61 hits per inning. Track and field - Senior distance runner Luis Orta was named the SEC Men's Runner of the Year by the league coaches on Friday. - Sophomore Matt Hillenbrand ran a career-best time in the mile, crossing the finish line in 4:06.33 at the Alex Wilson Invitational. - Freshman Keffri Neal also ran a career-best time at the Alex Wilson Invitational, Neal finished 14th in the men's 800-meter run with a time of 1:49.97.
Women's tennis - The women's tennis team suffered a pair of 4-3 losses in its opening weekend of SEC action. The Wildcats fell to LSU and Arkansas by the same score. - Jessica Stiles was impressive for the Blue and White as she garnered sweeps at the No. 1 spot in both of the Wildcats' matches against conference competition. - Edmee Morin-Kougoucheff also logged wins in both matches for UK in the No. 4 spot.
Men's golf - Kentucky, as a team, was in a tie for fifth after the first round of the USF Invitational. - David Snyder was in a tie for 15th after the first round, following a 1-over-par 73. - Four Wildcats rank in the top 25 after one round of competition. - Joseph Barr and Chase Parker each eagled the par 5 11th hole during Sunday's first round. Upcoming schedule
Monday, March 5 Men's golf at USF Invitational
Tuesday, March 6 Baseball hosts Tennessee Tech - 4:00 p.m. Men's golf at USF Invitational Wednesday, March 7 Baseball hosts Marshall - 4:00 p.m.
Thursday, March 8 Diving at NCAA Zone Diving (Bloomington, Ind.)
Friday, March 9 Men's tennis hosts South Carolina - 1:00 p.m. Men's basketball vs. Arkansas/LSU - 1:00 p.m. (New Orleans) Women's tennis at South Carolina - 3:00 p.m. Baseball hosts Canisius - 4:00 p.m. Softball hosts Alabama - 6:00 p.m. Rifle at NCAA Championships (Columbus, Ohio) Track and field at NCAA Championships (Nampa, Idaho) Diving at NCAA Zone Diving (Bloomington, Ind.) Women's golf at LSU Golf Classic
Saturday, March 10 Softball hosts Alabama - 1:00 p.m. Baseball hosts Canisius - 1:00 p.m. Men's basketball SEC Semifinals - 1:00 p.m. (New Orleans) Rifle at NCAA Championships (Columbus, Ohio) Track and field at NCAA Championships (Nampa, Idaho) Diving at NCAA Zone Diving (Bloomington, Ind.) Women's golf at LSU Golf Classic Sunday, March 11 Softball hosts Alabama - 1:00 p.m. Baseball hosts Canisius - 1:00 p.m. Men's tennis hosts Florida - 1:00 p.m. Men's basketball SEC Finals - 1:00 p.m. (New Orleans) Women's tennis at Florida - 1:00 p.m. Women's golf at LSU Golf Classic
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."
Men's basketball - Kentucky won its 45th SEC Championship outright Saturday on the heels of an 83-74 win over Vanderbilt. - Freshman Anthony Davis led the way with his 13th double-double of the season, scoring a career and game-high 28 points to go along with a game-high 11 rebounds. He also added five blocked shots and two steals. - Freshman Marquis Teague added 16 points while dishing out six assists and grabbing four rebounds. Terrence Jones also scored in double-figures with 12 points to go along with six rebounds and two blocks. - UK celebrates Senior Night against Georgia on Thursday, honoring seniors Darius Miller and Eloy Vargas.
Women's basketball - Kentucky won all three games last week, including an impressive 76-40 win on the road at Mississippi State in the regular season finale on Sunday to give the Wildcats their first regular season championship since 1982. - The Cats earned the No. 1 seed, and a first-round bye in the SEC Tournament for the third-straight season and now prepare to square off against the winner of Florida (No. 8 seed) and Auburn (No. 9 seed) in the quarterfinals Friday, March 2. - The Cats, who were picked to finish second in the SEC standings by the league coaches and media, have had another remarkable season under the direction of head coach Matthew Mitchell. He has led UK to its third straight 20-win season with a 24-5 overall record, including a 13-3 mark in SEC play. - The 13 league wins were a school record for SEC wins in a season and UK was the only school in the SEC to go undefeated at home. UK's 18-0 home record is just the third undefeated season in school history.
Baseball - The Kentucky baseball team posted three wins on the weekend to sweep Buffalo in the home-opening set. - The Wildcats return to action with home midweek contests vs. Morehead State (Tuesday) and Xavier (Wednesday) at 4 p.m. ET, before hosting Illinois-Chicago in a three-game series Friday-Sunday. - Kentucky (6-0) is off to its best start to a season since opening 19-0 during the 2007 and 2008 seasons. The Wildcats have utilized a balanced approach with a .341 team average, a 3.50 team ERA and a staggering .996 fielding percentage. UK has made just one error on the year, coming on an attempted pickoff at second base.
Rifle - UK rifle finished second at the 2011-12 GARC Championships over the weekend at Ole Miss, placing third overall in smallbore and second overall in air rifle, finishing just six points shy of champion West Virginia. - Kentucky completed the final day of the GARC Championships with a solid air rifle score to finish second to West Virginia overall, after UK placed third in smallbore on Saturday. UK, the regular-season conference champions and the defending NCAA Champions, fell just six points shy of the Mountaineers. - UK was led on Sunday by a strong air rifle performance, as Settlemires paced the team with a 595. Greathouse fired a 592, while Wheatley finished with a 590. Henri Junghanel totaled a 585 and Katie Fretts fired a 579 to round out the starting lineup.
Men's tennis - Kentucky could not avenge an earlier loss this season to highly ranked Ohio State, falling 4-0 to the second-ranked Buckeyes on Saturday in Columbus, Ohio. The win extended Ohio State's home winning streak to an impressive 136 consecutive matches, which is the longest in the nation. - The Wildcats dropped the doubles point with tight losses at Nos. 1 and 3 doubles, while OSU continued its momentum in singles action, earning singles matches at Nos. 2, 4, and 6 for the win. - UK junior Anthony Rossi, who is the reigning SEC Player of the Week, did not record a decision in the match, keeping his singles streak alive at 16 consecutive matches. Gymnastics - UK gymnastics posted its best meet of the year Friday, earning a team score of 195.525 en route to defeating No. 15 Auburn and Pittsburgh. It was Kentucky's first league win this year. - The Wildcats earned season-best team scores on two events, scoring a 49.125 on uneven bars and a 49.2 on floor exercise. The high score on bars is tied for the 12th-highest score on the event in school history, while UK's 49.2 on floor is tied for the 16th-best in school history. - Sophomore Audrey Harrison won her second all-around title on the season for UK, scoring a career-best 39.175. Senior Storey Morris finished first overall on uneven bars, while Harrison finished tied for first on beam and won the floor title outright with a 9.9. Softball - UK went 3-1 at the Georgia Southern Invitational where Kara Dill and Chanda Bell were named to the All-Tournament team. Dill batted .600 for the weekend and extended her season-long hitting streak to 10 games. Bell picked up two wins to become the school's all-time career leader in victories with 55. - Freshman Griffin Joiner had a breakout weekend with a .417 average. Joiner also reached base three other times by way of a walk and a hit by pitch, and registered her first career stolen base.
Track and field - The Kentucky men's team finished eighth at the SEC Championships with 38 points, while the women's teams placed 12th with seven points. - Senior Kentucky men's distance runner Luis Orta won the men's 3,000m run Saturday and the men's 5,000m run Sunday, becoming the first student-athlete to win both races in the same championship since Georgia's Ian Burrell in 2007. - Orta was a co-recipient on the men's side of the Cliff Harper Trophy, awarded each year to the high-points scorer of the meet. - Orta was the first Kentucky athlete ever to win the 3K at the SEC Indoor Championships, and was the first Wildcat to win the 5K since Richard Ede in 1987.
Women's tennis - Kentucky traveled for a midweek match with Akron, where the Cats lost a heartbreaker, 4-3. UK also traveled to Indiana to face the Hoosiers and dropped the match, 5-2. - Sophomore Khristina Blajkevitch excelled despite the tough competition at Indiana, bringing home a win in singles and doubles play. - Edmee Morin-Kougoucheff and CeCe Witten grabbed wins for the Wildcats in singles play vs. the Zips while also defeating their opponents in their respective doubles matches.
Men's golf - Kentucky finished in a tie for ninth at the Mobile Bay Intercollegiate, its first tournament of the spring season. - Freshman David Snyder finished in a tie for 10th after a career-low round of 4-under-par 68 in the final round to finish at even-par. - Junior Chase Parker carded a career-low round of 5-under-par in the final round to finish in a tie for 25th. - Kentucky's final round team score of 285 was the second lowest third round of the tournament.
Swimming and diving - Tyler Reed and Lucas Gerotto both qualified for the 2012 NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships with swims Sunday afternoon that catapulted them into elite company on the final day of the Bulldog Last Chance Meet. - Gerotto swam a 46.75 in the 100-fly, just three one hundredths of a second off the UK record, and good enough to place him 13th overall in the nation this year. Tyler Reed swam a 43.08 in the men's 100-freestyle to push himself to Seattle for the NCAA Championships in that event.
Tuesday, Feb. 28 Baseball hosts Morehead St. - 4:00 p.m.
Thursday, March 1 Men's basketball hosts Georgia - 9:00 p.m.
Friday, March 2 Women's basketball vs. Florida/Auburn - 1:00 p.m. (Nashville) Softball vs. Texas A&M CC - 2:30 p.m. (Lafayette, La.) Men's tennis at LSU - 4:00 p.m. Baseball hosts Illinois-Chicago - 4:00 p.m. Women's tennis hosts LSU - 5:00 p.m. Softball vs. Stephen F. Austin - 7:30 p.m. (Lafayette, La.) Gymnastics at Illinois - 8:00 p.m. Track and field at NCAA Qualifying
Saturday, March 3 Softball vs. Stephen F. Austin - Noon (Lafayette, La.) Softball at Louisiana-Lafayette - 2:30 p.m. Baseball hosts Illinois-Chicago - 1:00 p.m. Women's basketball SEC Semifinals - 4:00 p.m. (Nashville) Track and field at NCAA Qualifying
Sunday, March 4 Softball vs. Nicholls State - 11:00 a.m. (Lafayette, La.) Men's basketball at Florida - Noon Women's tennis hosts Arkansas - Noon Baseball hosts Illinois-Chicago - 1:00 p.m. Men's tennis at Arkansas - 1:00 p.m. Women's basketball SEC Finals - 6:00 p.m. (Nashville) Men's golf at USF Invitational
Freshman Terence Boyd will compete in long jump and triple jump at this weekend's SEC Indoor Track and Field Championships. (Chet White, UK Athletics)
This weekend, Kentucky track and field is hosting the Southeastern Conference Indoor Championships. In a two-part series, UK freshman athlete Terence Boyd is writing an exclusive running diary of the event for Cat Scratches. Boyd will compete in long jump and triple jump on Saturday and Sunday, but supported his teammates and took in the action as the meet opened Friday with the heptathlon and pentathlon. Here's what Boyd observed.
2:35 p.m. - After running across campus to make it to Nutter Fieldhouse for our 2:30 p.m. deadline, (freshman jumper) Todd Nibbs and I arrived through the door a mere five minutes late unnoticed. As we walked in the door, our fellow jump squad members greet us. Jokes and laughter cover our nerves. (Freshman jumper) Brittany Britt ruins the conversation by asking if the University of North Carolina was going to be at the track meet but then quickly retracts her statement when she realizes they weren't in the SEC. We won't let her live this down. UK freshman Daniel ("D-Bucks") Buckles will be competing in his first SEC conference meet at 3:15 p.m. with the 60-meter dash
3:15 p.m. - (Freshman jumper) Ryan ("Big Country") Ratliff finally found his camo UK hat just in time for the SEC meet. (Senior pole vaulter) Sam Stenzel, joking tells the crew to cut out our attitudes, but we quickly responded by tell her to "skit" (a term used for everything, basically meaning "get out of here with that") Over the intercom, we heard Daniel's name and quickly ran over to see him compete. As they introduce him to the crowd, he rubs his lucky tights for good luck and settles in to the blocks. He ended up with a PR (personal record) in his first event of the day. In the second heat, Gray Horn from Florida, last year's champion, is announced as well as Gunnar Nixon, the freshman from Arkansas who currently owns the World Junior Record for the heptathlon. 3:55 p.m. - I walk passed Coach (Sammy) Dabbs, UK's men's sprints coach asking him why he upgraded his normal chewing toothpick to a much larger chopstick. I quickly flee the scene towards the long jump pit to avoid his humiliating jokes. Last minute runs throughs occurred when the long jump judge yelled "five minutes." There are three jumps per athlete in this competition, unlike the six for normal long jump competitions. Horn jumps 7.50m two times in a row, which is only 10 cm away from the SEC heptathlon long jump record. Buckles, the third jumper, steps on the runway and the Kentucky crowd stands to its feet, giving him an energy boost for his first jump. On his second attempt, Buckles leaps to 6.25 meters. 4:30 p.m. - What was supposed to be a jump squad lunch/dinner turned into a bros-only lunch as Todd Nibbs, Ryan Ratliff and I rode up to Fazoli's before Daniel's last event. We smashed the alfredo and breadsticks in a matter of seconds upon them being placed on our table. 5:15 p.m. - As we finished our meals and were preparing to leave, a lady in her late 50s to early 60s walked in and told us good luck and that she was proud of us. A short conversation followed, but after being recognized as athletes, our ears shut down due to pure excitement. It's not every day that something like that happens because it's usually the basketball team who gets noticed in that sort of way.
6:00 p.m. - Daniel Buckles, competing in his fourth event of the day with high jump, cleared his season-best height on his first attempt. The rest of the jump crew and I were so excited every time he cleared a bar. With increased confidence, the bar was raised five inches above his season best. With the crew's support and the loud chant of "Let's Go D-Bucks," he soared over the bar on his first attempt. The UK crowd erupted as we banged on the plastic fence enclosing the high jump area, anxiously waiting to shake his hand. His three attempts at the next height were extremely close but unfortunately, he was unsuccessful. He got off the mat with a smile of his face and walked over to us so we could congratulate him on his performance.
8:30 p.m. - Now being back at the dorm (Kirwan Tower), Todd Nibbs and I, still hype from his performance, gave his a quick motivational speech for the next day and sent him on his way. Minutes later, I knocked on his door to ask him some questions for the diary but he didn't answer. I don't blame him though; he's had a long day.
Every Tuesday, UK Athletics recognizes outstanding performances for our student-athletes. These are the honorees for the week ending Sunday, Feb. 12:
Gymnastics: Kayla Hartley
Led Kentucky to a season-best score on floor exercise with a career best score of 9.9 ... Hartley, a native of Versailles, Ky., is only the 18th gymnast in school history to earn a 9.9 or higher on floor ... Her solid score is the highest for any UK gymnast this season on any event and the highest floor score of UK since Andrea Mitchell posted a 9.95 last season on March 4.
Men's basketball: Doron Lamb
Helped lead the top-ranked Wildcats to a 2-0 record on the week, including wins over seventh-ranked Florida and on the road at Vanderbilt ... Scored a game-high 18 points in 20-point win over seventh ranked Florida ... Went 4-5 from 3-point range in win over Gators, tying his season-high for 3s made in a game ... Scored game-high 16 points in win at Vanderbilt, hitting multiple 3-pointers for the seventh time in the last eight games ... Averaging three 3-pointers per game over the last three games ... His first 3-pointer against the Commodores game UK a four-point lead in a back and forth game, while his second 3-pointer put Kentucky ahead for good 64-63 with 3:18 left in the game.
Track & field: Luis Orta
Ran a career-best 14:02.45 in the 5,000-meter run, the fourth best 5,000m run in school history. Orta has the best 5,000m in the SEC by 11.90 seconds, and the 25th best time in the country. Orta finished sixth in the at the Husky Classic on Friday, which featured eight teams ranked in the latest top 25.
Track & field: Bradley Szypka
Set a career-best mark in the shot put with a throw of 16.31m/53-06.00. Syzpka has the ninth best shot put throw in the SEC, and the second best among freshmen. Szypka's mark leads the team this season.
Men's basketball: Marquis Teague
Helped lead the Wildcats to a 2-0 mark on the week including a 20-point win over seventh ranked Florida as well as a win in Memorial Gym against Vanderbilt ... Teague tallied his first-career double-double in the win against Florida scoring 12 points and dishing out a game-high 10 assists ... He also hit a pair of 3-pointers, the fourth time this season he's hit multiple 3-pointers ... Teague followed that performance with a 13-point, eight assist, one turnover game on the road at Vanderbilt ... Over the last eight games, Teague has dished out 46 assists against just 17 turnovers.
Track & field: Keilah Tyson
Won the 200m dash at the SPIRE Division I Collegiate Invitational by breaking the UK 200m dash freshman record for the second time in as many weeks with a time of 23.69. Her time of 23.69 is a career-best and the second best in school history. Tyson is tied for the fourth fastest 200m in the SEC this season, and is the fastest time among freshmen. Additionally, Tyson's time is tied for the 15th fastest in the country. Tyson also competed in the long jump this weekend, finishing sixth in the event, but with the top mark among the freshmen.
MEN'S BASKETBALL - With a pair of wins over SEC foes this week, Kentucky owns a 17-game winning streak. UK knocked off No. 8 Florida at home before defeating Vanderbilt in Nashville. Kentucky's win over the Commodores marked the first victory for a No. 1 ranked team in the last four tries against the home-standing team in Memorial Gym. - Kentucky has won its first 11 in league play, the best SEC start for the Wildcats since the 2002-03 team went 16-0. - Doron Lamb scored a game-high 16 points against Vanderbilt. He has hit multiple 3-pointers in seven of the last eight games. - Anthony Davis finished with seven blocks against the Commodores, giving him 127 on the season and moving him to seventh on the SEC single-season blocks list and 12th on UK's career blocks list. - In the win over Florida, Marquis Teague notched his first career double-double effort with 12 points and 10 rebounds. It marked the first double-double by way of points and assists since John Wall achieved the feat during the 2009-10 season.
GYMNASTICS - The gymnastics team posted its best home score of the season on Friday, falling 196-194.7 to defending National Champion Alabama in Memorial Coliseum. - UK earned a season-high score on floor exercise with a 48.85 and was led on the event by sophomore Kayla Hartley's 9.9 score. Hartley's high mark brought home the floor title on the event as she became only the 18th gymnast in school history to earn a 9.9 or higher on the event. The score of 9.9 is the highest for any UK gymnast this season on any event. - Senior Storey Morris had a great meet, finishing tied for second on beam and tied for third on uneven bars, while sophomore Kenzie Hedge finished second on vault.
MEN'S TENNIS - Behind another match-clinching point from Alejandro Gomez, the men's tennis team continued its blitzing pace to start the season with a 4-3 win over No. 30 Notre Dame on Sunday. - Kentucky is now 9-0 on the year, extending its best start to a season in the 30-year tenure of head coach Dennis Emery. The win over UND was UK's sixth of the season over a ranked foe after already taking down No. 12 Pepperdine, No. 22 Tulsa, No. 29 Indiana, No. 53 Michigan State and No. 59 North Carolina State. - Four Wildcats earned singles wins Sunday, including No. 5 Eric Quigley, No. 36 Anthony Rossi, No. 95 Tom Jomby and No. 111 Alejandro Gomez. Rossi is currently riding a 13-match winning streak, while Quigley has won nine consecutive matches.
SOFTBALL - Kentucky went 1-3 in its opening weekend of the season with its victory coming in dramatic fashion. The Wildcats used a seventh-inning rally highlighted by a two-run homer from Rachel Riley to capture the win over the Tigers. - Freshman Griffin Joiner hit the game-winning solo blast for UK. Two other Wildcats hit their first career homers in L.A. as well. Ginny Carroll and Krystal Smith belted back-to-back bombs in the final game with UCLA.
TRACK AND FIELD - Keilah Tyson won the 200-meter dash, breaking the UK 200m freshman record for the second time in as many weeks with a time of 23.69. Tyson's time is the second fastest in school history. - Luis Orta finished sixth in the 5,000m run with a time of 14:02.45, the fourth fastest time in UK history, and the fastest time in the SEC this year. - Walter Luttrell finished 10th in the 3,000m run with a time of 8:08.90, the 10th fastest in UK history and the third fastest in the SEC this year. - Darryl Bradshaw ran a career-best 8.00 in the 60m hurdles. Bradshaw's time is the sixth fastest in program history.
WOMEN'S TENNIS - Women's tennis hosted a doubleheader, defeating Winthrop 4-0 and Cincinnati 7-0. - The Cats moved into second place in the SEC Eastern Division with their two victories. - Sophomore Misha Testerman played her best match of the year, defeating Cincinnati's Carly Wilson, 6-0, 6-0.
WOMEN'S GOLF - Through one round at the UCF Challenge in Sorrento, Fla., the women's golf team sits in ninth place, 13 strokes off the lead. Kentucky finished the opening round with a nine-over-par 297. - Junior Ashleigh Albrecht paced Kentucky through the first round, shooting a one-under par 71. With two birdies and an eagle, Albrecht finished the day tied for fifth, five strokes off the lead. Albrecht carded an impressive eagle on the 354-yard, par-four ninth hole - the only eagle of the day.
Monday, Feb. 13 Women's basketball at Tennessee - 7:00 p.m. Women's golf at UCF Challenge
Tuesday, Feb. 14 Women's golf at UCF Challenge
Wednesday, Feb. 15 Swimming and diving at SEC Championships (Knoxville, Tenn.)
Thursday, Feb. 16 Women's basketball at Alabama - 7:30 p.m. Swimming and diving at SEC Championships (Knoxville, Tenn.)
Friday, Feb. 17 Softball vs. Wright State - 4:00 p.m. (Boca Raton, Fla.) Baseball vs. Wofford - 4:00 p.m. (Spartanburg, S.C.) Softball at Florida Atlantic - 6:00 p.m. Swimming and diving at SEC Championships (Knoxville, Tenn.) Men's tennis at National Team Indoors (Charlottesville, Va.)
Saturday, Feb. 18 Rifle hosts NCAA Qualifier - 8:00 a.m. Softball vs. LIU Brooklyn - 9:00 a.m. (Boca Raton, Fla.) Women's tennis hosts Eastern Kentucky - 10:00 a.m. Baseball vs. Eastern Michigan - Noon (Spartanburg, S.C.) Softball vs. Michigan - 1:00 p.m. (Boca Raton, Fla.) Gymnastics at Georgia - 4:00 p.m. Men's basketball hosts Ole Miss - 4:00 p.m. Women's tennis hosts Evansville - 6:00 p.m. Swimming and diving at SEC Championships (Knoxville, Tenn.) Men's tennis at National Team Indoors (Charlottesville, Va.) Sunday, Feb. 19 Softball vs. Maryland - 11:00 a.m. (Boca Raton, Fla.) Baseball vs. USC Upstate - 3:00 p.m. (Spartanburg, S.C.) Men's tennis at National Team Indoors (Charlottesville, Va.)
Men's basketball -The Wildcats continued to reverse their road fortunes tallying an 86-52 win in Columbia, S.C., over the South Carolina Gamecocks for their fifth-straight road win. It marks the longest such streak in league play since the 2004-05 team ran off five-straight wins away from Rupp Arena in the SEC. - Anthony Davis just missed a triple-double in the win, scoring a game-high 22 points, while pulling down eight rebounds and blocking eight shots, both game highs. - Doron Lamb added 18 points, a season-high in league play, while Terrence Jones finished with 16 points, all coming in the first half. Jones also added six rebounds and four assists. Kyle Wiltjer chipped in 12 points, to round out the UK double-digit scorers. - UK shot 51.6 pct. from the field, while holding South Carolina to 30.5 pct. from the field.
Women's basketball - Kentucky went 1-1 last week with an 82-41 win over Ole Miss in Lexington and a 61-51 loss to LSU in Baton Rouge. The Ole Miss win gave the Wildcats their 18th consecutive victory at home, a winning streak that ranks fourth in school history and ties for sixth nationally. UK forced an SEC-high 36 turnovers in the game, breaking the previous record of 30 set vs. Auburn on Jan. 26. - Freshman guard Bria Goss led four players in double figures with a team-high 19 points to go along with three steals. Her 17 double-figure scoring games this season are tied for the sixth most in UK freshman history. - On Sunday, UK struggled to find its offensive rhythm as it scored a season-low 18 points in the first half vs. the LSU and shot just 35.0 percent (21-of-60) for the game. The loss snapped UK's school-record 13-game SEC winning streak and gave the Cats their first loss in conference play this season. - The Wildcats' 21-3 start ties their best start in program history. UK also began the 1982-83 season at 21-3 UK is just one win away from tying the most SEC wins in school history at 11. Rifle - The rifle team completed its regular-season with two wins in Morgantown, W.Va., during the weekend. The wins over West Virginia and N.C. State clinching UK's second consecutive GARC regular-season championship. - UK finished 6-0 in conference play for the second consecutive season, with its win on Friday vs. WVU coming as a matchup of the only remaining conference unbeatens. Following the win vs. WVU, UK was guaranteed of the conference title, completing the undefeated league slate with a win over N.C. State on Saturday. - UK was led on the weekend by strong performances from Emily Holsopple, Henri Junghanel and Ethan Settlemires.
Gymnastics - The gymnastics team continued to show its improvement by tying its season-high team score of 195.05 in a dual-meet loss at No. 14 LSU on Friday. The Wildcats have now eclipsed the 195 mark in two consecutive meets for the first time since the beginning of the 2010 season. - UK was led in the meet by all-around competitors sophomore Audrey Harrison and freshman Alexis Gross, who each posted career-high scores in the all-around. Harrison earned a 39.125, while Gross posted a 38.975. - Sophomore Holly Cunningham performed extremely well for the Wildcats, sticking her vault to earn a career-high 9.85 and then finishing off the meet by going 9.8 on balance beam. UK defeated the top-15 ranked Tigers on beam with a team score of 48.875, while the Wildcats posted a season-high 48.75 on floor exercise. - The Wildcats again used 18 or more routines from freshmen or sophomores and have now used at least 18 routines from underclassmen in every meet this season. UK also set or tied nine season and career highs in the meet.
Men's tennis - The men's tennis team has started the season with an 8-0 record and is off to its best start in the 30-year tenure of head coach Dennis Emery. UK posted two wins over the week, defeating No. 12 Pepperdine 4-2 and Abilene Christian 7-0 on Sunday. - Three Wildcats earned singles wins over ranked foes against Pepperdine led by senior No. 13 Alex Musialek's win over No. 21 Sebastian Fanselow. Fellow senior No. 5 Eric Quigley took down No. 35 Finn Tearney, while junior No. 36 Anthony Rossi defeated No. 49 Mousheg Hovhannisyan. Sophomore No. 111 Alejandro Gomez clinched the match for UK against PU with his 6-1, 6-1 win over Daivd Sofaer. - The win against Pepperdine marked Kentucky's 21st win over a top-25 opponent dating back to the 2009 season, while both wins extended UK's home record over the past four years to 49-9. - Against Abilene Christian, Kentucky received singles wins from Quigley, Gomez, sophomores Grant Roberts, Maks Gold and Ryuji Hirooka, and freshman Brett Johnson. UK also got doubles wins from Gold/Hirooka and Matt Davis/Roberts.
Track and field - The men's and women's track and field teams competed in their third meet of the indoor season Friday and Saturday, as they headed north for the Notre Dame Meyo Invitational in South Bend, Ind. - Keilah Tyson, the reigning SEC Women's Freshman of the Week, broke her second UK freshman record in as many weeks. Tyson competed in her first 200-meter dash of her collegiate career, winning the race with a time of 23.93. Tyson's time is the third best 200m dash in UK history. The Norfolk, Va., native also had the seventh best long jump mark (6.08m/19-11.50) in school history. - Junior Walter Luttrell shattered his career-best time in the 5,000m run Friday en route to winning the event with a 14:14.35, the fifth fastest time in UK history. Luttrell's time is the top time in the SEC this season. - Junior Darryl Bradshaw ran a career-best time in the finals of the 60m hurdles, finishing sixth with a time of 8.01. Bradshaw's time is the sixth fastest in Kentucky history.
Swimming and diving - Louisville defeated UK on the men's side with a final tally of 188-107, and also took home the win on the women's side 183-107. - Kentucky was led by its divers, as three of the four diving competitions were Wildcat victories. Greg Ferrucci took home first in both events, claiming a 366.30 on the three meter, and earning a 353.17 on the one meter. - Tyler Reed had yet another impressive meet in his senior campaign, as Reed placed second in the 100-free tapping in at 44.79, and also recorded a fourth-place finish in the 50-free with a time of 20.85. - Megan Eppler finished first in the 50-freestyle tapping in at 23.36, while also taking first in the 100-freestyle turning a time of 50.84. - The meet in Louisville served as the Wildcats final dual meet of the season, as UK's focus now shifts towards the SEC Championships Feb. 15-18 in Knoxville, Tenn. Women's tennis - Women's tennis continued its nine-game homestand, hosting Purdue and Miami (Ohio) over the weekend. - The Cats fell to Purdue, 6-1, but defeated Miami (Ohio), 4-1. - Freshman Edmee Morin-Kougoucheff had a strong performance in doubles. With the help of Caitlin McGraw against Purdue and Khrisina Blajkevitch against Miami (Ohio), Morin-Kougoucheff grabbed victories at the No. 1 doubles position in both matches.
Every Tuesday, UK Athletics recognizes outstanding performances for our student-athletes. These are the honorees for the week ending Sunday, Jan. 29:
Track & field: Terence Boyd
Freshman Terence Boyd had a strong weekend at the Rod McCravy Memorial, recording the seventh best mark in UK history in the long jump Friday, and the eighth best mark in UK history in the triple jump Saturday.
Men's basketball: Anthony Davis
Anthony Davis helped lead the Wildcats to a 2-0 mark on the week, both wins coming on the road ... Moved to second on the all-time SEC freshman blocks list with eight blocks on the week ... Has now totaled 101 blocks on the season, 14 shy of the SEC freshman record ... Pulled down double-figure rebounds against Georgia, the 11th time this season ... Davis tallied his 11th double-double of the season in helping lead UK to its 13th straight win of the season over LSU ... Davis is currently one of only four freshmen in the SEC since 1990 to average 10.0 rebounds and 4.0 blocks per game
Men's tennis: Alejandro Gomez
With UK holding a 3-1 lead in a key match against No. 22 Tulsa and play at No. 2 and No. 6 singles also in a third set, sophomore Alejandro Gomez took matters into his own hands, dominating Tristan Jackson for a 6-0 win to clinch the match and send Kentucky to the National Indoor Team Championships. The native of Cali, Colombia, won the first set 6-3, before Tristan Jackson returned the favor in the second set with a 6-3 win. Gomez would break early in the third set to take a 2-0 lead and never looked back, earning the match 6-3, 3-6, 6-0.
Track & field: Terri-Ann Grant
Senior Terri-Ann Grant won the high jump, setting a personal record in the event, eclipsing 1.82m/5-11.50, the second best high jump mark in program history.
Gymnastics: Alexis Gross
Helped Kentucky earn a season-best team scored against Illinois-Chicago with career-high scores on vault, uneven bars, balance beam and in the all-around. Gross started the meet strong with a 9.775 on bars and followed that with a 9.6 on vault. The native of Pasadena, Md., finished the night with a 9.725 on floor and a 9.775 on beam for a career high all-around score of 38.875.
Men's basketball: Darius Miller
Tallied a pair of double-figure scoring games in helping Kentucky to two road wins on the week ... Scored a season-high 19 points in win at Georgia going 4-4 from 3-point range and shooting 87.5 percent from the field ... Miller followed that with another double-digit performance in UK's win over LSU ... His 13 points pushed him to 1,081 for his career moving into Kentucky's top 50 (48th) all-time scorers.
Men's tennis: Eric Quigley
After earning two singles wins Tuesday against No. 29 Indiana and Eastern Kentucky senior Eric Quigley has earned his 145th career singles win to stand alone on top of Kentucky's all-time career singles wins list. Quigley earned win 144 when he defeated Josh MacTaggart of Indiana in three sets and then broke the record with a straight-sets win over Niklas Schroeder of EKU. Quigley's victories Tuesday give him a 145-44 career record, passing former UK All-American Paul Varga for first all-time in career singles wins at Kentucky. Varga, who played from 1982-85, ended his career with a 144-80 record and has held the title as the winningest singles player in school history for over 27 years.
Track & field: Keilah Tyson
Freshman sprinter Keilah Tyson broke the women's indoor 60-meter dash freshman school record Saturday with a time of 7.36 at the Rod McCravy Memorial meet. Tyson's race tied the third fastest time in program history. The Norfolk, Va., native broke the record previously set by Kentucky great Passion Richardson, who went on to help the United States 4x100 relay team win bronze at the 2000 summer Olympic games in Sydney.