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UK Rewind: Jan. 20

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Kentucky Sports Report (week of Jan. 16)

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Men's basketball

- The Wildcats return home for a pair of league games this week beginning with Arkansas on Tuesday night. UK just completed a two-game road stretch where they posted a 2-0 record, including a 65-62 win over Tennessee in Knoxville on Saturday.

- Kentucky had to come from behind, trailing the Volunteers by as many as eight in the second half, but the Wildcats were up to the challenge, including freshman Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, who led UK with his third double-double this season. He finished with 17 points and a game-high 12 rebounds.

- Fellow freshman Anthony Davis was named the SEC Freshman of the Week after he finished with a game-high 18 points and added eight rebounds and four blocks, while Terrence Jones was the only other Wildcat in double-figures with 10 points.

 

Women's basketball

- Kentucky remains the only undefeated team in the SEC at 5-0 after two hard-fought wins over No. 6/7 Tennessee and No. 24/RV South Carolina last week. The Wildcats captured a one-point 61-60 victory over the Lady Vols on Thursday in Memorial Coliseum, snapping the Lady Vols' 36-game SEC winning streak.

- Junior guard A'dia Mathies turned in one of the most impressive individual performances in UK Hoops history in the win by netting a career-best 34 points to go along with nine rebounds, two assists, two blocks and two steals. She hit the game winner with 4.2 seconds remaining to give UK its third win over top-10 team this season and first win over Tennessee in five tries. For her efforts she was tabbed the SEC Player of the Week.

- The Cats then defeated South Carolina on the road, 66-58, marking their first win in Columbia, S.C. since 2009. The balanced scoring effort was led by Keyla Snowden who came off the bench for 15 points and three steals. Ten of the 11 players who saw action scored at least two points.

 

Rifle

- Kentucky got strong outings from Emily Holsopple and Ethan Settlemires to lead the defending national champion Kentucky rifle team improved to 8-0 win a win at Army, 4693-4646, on Saturday at the Tronsure Rifle Range.

- Kentucky opened its spring portion of the schedule with the win at West Point, totaling a 2325 total smallbore score and a 2368 total air rifle team tally.

- Holsopple and Settlemires led UK in both guns, with the duo each charting a 585 in smallbore. Settlemires led UK in air rifle with a 594, with Holsopple adding a 593. Also in air rifle, Henri Junghänel finished with a 592, with Heather Greathouse recording a 592 and Stacy Wheatley posting a 589. Katie Fretts finished with a 585 in air rifle. Holsopple and Settlemires led UK with 585's, with Junghänel charting a 576, Greathouse a 579, Wheatley a 572 and Fretts a 569.

 

Gymnastics

- The No. 23 University of Kentucky gymnastics team concluded its first Southeastern Conference meet of the season by falling 196.650-191.975 to No. 11 Arkansas at Barnhill Arena in Fayetteville, Ark.

- In all, Kentucky had 19 of 24 routines performed by freshmen and sophomores in the meet, while five Wildcats made their collegiate debuts on an event in the meet.

- Kentucky's youth shined on vault with freshman Kenzie Hedges leading the way with a 9.775, while sophomore Holly Cunningham was second on the team and tied a career high with a 9.75. Freshman Sara Shipley went second in the lineup and scored a 9.725, while sophomore Audrey Harrison went 9.7. Senior Storey Morris posted a 9.65 followed by freshman Shelby Hilton, who was making her collegiate debut, earning a 9.475. Kentucky scored a 48.6 as a team on the event.

 

Men's tennis

- The Kentucky men's tennis team completed a successful four-day run in the Southeastern Conference Coaches' Indoor Championships with junior Anthony Rossi claiming the singles title at the event. Rossi used a very workmanlike performance Monday to win the final over the No. 10 Sadio Doumbia.

- Rossi becomes the first Kentucky player to win the singles title in the annual event since Adam Malik did it back in 1989. The UK star is only the second player in school history to win the event.

- Kentucky had a good showing at the event overall with three singles players making the quarterfinals in Rossi, Eric Quigley and Tom Jomby. UK also had two doubles tandems in the quarterfinals, while sophomore Panav Jha and Quigley advanced to the doubles semifinals.

 

Track and field

- The Kentucky men's and women's track and field programs began their seasons Friday and Saturday by hosting the Kentucky Invitational at Nutter Field House.

- The Wildcats got strong performances from its men's one-milers, as junior Luis Orta ran a personal-best and SEC-leading time of 4:09.59 to finish in second. Sophomore Adam Kahleifeh finished fourth with a time of 4:12.20.

- Freshman Bradley Szypka finished second in the men's shot put with a throw of 16.28m/53-05.00, while junior Darryl Bradshaw finished third in the 60-meter hurdles finals with a time of 8.18.

- The Wildcats placed in the top three in six different events Saturday.

 

Swimming and diving

- The UK swimming and diving teams combined to go 2-2 over the weekend, with both teams dropping an SEC dual meet to Alabama on Saturday, but quickly rebounding to sweep Emory University on Sunday.

- On Sunday in the women's 100-butterfly, UK had a dominating performance taking first through fifth.

Julia Gerotto led the way, recording a time of 57.49, while Anna Mattox followed up with a 58.47 for second place. Lindsay Lash, Abby Myers, and Diana Norkus rounded out the top-five for Kentucky.

- Overall on the weekend, Kentucky won seven of the contested eight diving events. Sophomore Greg Ferrucci claimed first place in three of the four events he was entered in.

 

Women's tennis

- Women's tennis traveled to Honolulu, Hawaii, for the Rainbow Wahine Spring Invitational.

- The team swept Kansas in doubles play. The 34th-ranked duo of Khristina Blajkevitch and Jessica Stiles took on the Kansas' 42nd-ranked doubles team of Monica Pezzotti and Paulina Los, defeating them 8-4.

- Freshman Stephanie Fox faced Washington State's 123rd-ranked Elizaveta Luzina and beat her in straight sets with a score of 6-1, 6-3.

 

Upcoming schedule

 

Tuesday, Jan. 17

Men's basketball hosts Arkansas - 9:00 p.m.

 

Thursday, Jan. 19

Women's basketball at Georgia - 7:00 p.m.

 

Friday, Jan. 20

Women's tennis hosts Marshall - Noon

Gymnastics hosts Florida - 7:00 p.m.

 

Saturday, Jan. 21

Men's basketball hosts Alabama - Noon

Rifle at TCU

 

Sunday, Jan. 22

Women's tennis hosts Belmont - 11:00 a.m.

Men's tennis vs. Michigan State - 2:00 p.m. (Indianapolis)

Women's basketball hosts Florida - 2:00 p.m.

Women's tennis hosts Morehead State - 6:00 p.m.

Men's tennis vs. IUPUI - TBA (Indianapolis)

Broderick tries new sport, runs to new heights

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In her first year as a competitive runner, Megan Broderick has emerged for UK's cross country team. (Chet White, UK Athletics) In her first year as a competitive runner, Megan Broderick has emerged for UK's cross country team. (Chet White, UK Athletics)
For four years, Megan Broderick was the best player on the Kentucky tennis team. She played No. 1 singles each season, winning 64 matches and ranking as high as No. 55 in the nation before concluding her tennis career in the spring of 2011.

At that point, most athletes would be ready to call it a career, but Broderick just isn't built that way.

Instead, Broderick opted to take advantage of an NCAA rule that allowed student-athletes a fifth year of eligibility in a second sport, joining the cross country and track team for the 2011-12 season. The same competitiveness and determination that propelled her to a decorated tennis are what ultimately drove her to her second Division I career.

"Growing up, I played a lot of different sports and I've always had that competitive spirit in me," Broderick said. "It wasn't really a thought of mine whether I was going to fail or succeed. I just really wanted to do it. I thought that I could help the team in cross country and track."

To say Broderick has helped the team in her first two months as a competitive runner would be an understatement. In four races as a member of the cross country team, she has emerged as one of UK's top runners, finishing no worse than third among her Wildcat teammates.

"It's definitely a little bit of a surprise to me how well I'm doing right off the bat," Broderick said. "I owe a lot of that to the girls. They've really accepted me onto the team and the coaches and trainers have all done a great job working with me to allow me to be comfortable in the new environment."

Don Weber, head cross country and track coach, sees things a bit differently. He learned a great deal about Broderick's willpower and talent before taking her on the team, and had an inkling this kind of success would be on the horizon, but maybe not so quickly.

"I'm not really surprised she's doing well based upon what I know about her," Weber said, "but she's doing better than I thought she would do."

Chance training room meeting starts it all

Broderick was already planning on returning to UK for a fifth year. She had one class to finish up before her planned graduation in December and had heard about and researched the rule that would ultimately allow her to participate in cross country and track. Coaches don't often find themselves recruiting current college seniors, but that's exactly what Weber did when he ran into Broderick.

"Last year, sometime during the school year we bumped into each other in the training room and I knew she was a fourth-year senior," Weber said. "I asked her if she had any school beyond this. She said she did and I said 'Would you consider running in your fifth year?' "

Broderick didn't think too much about the possibility at first, but there were a few classes she knew she would like to take other than the one she needed to graduate. Weber continued to talk to Broderick about joining the team, appealing to the passion for running she had always had even during her tennis career. Ultimately, Broderick gave Weber the "yes" he was looking for.

"Based on how impressed I was with her, how much want-to she had and her very keen interest in doing this, I decided to invest in her and we'll see where it goes," Weber said.

Developing a plan

There was still the small matter of Weber actually seeing his newest runner in action. As soon as she finished the tennis season, Broderick went on a run with Weber looking on. Fortunately, the investment Weber had decided to make in her immediately looked like a good one.

"I was relieved and impressed that she could run pretty well," Weber said. "She looked pretty good and the pace she was running for those three miles was pretty good. After that run, we came into the field house and she did a couple of 200's to get a sense of her speed and how she might run on the track. That was impressive too."

The next step was to begin training. Broderick wasn't in Lexington for much of the summer, but she stayed in close contact with Weber throughout. He assigned her specific workouts with one preeminent concern in mind.

"I didn't have a whole lot of concerns because I was so impressed with her, but the biggest concern was regarding training," Weber said. "Since she had a relatively limited background in running, I didn't want to have her do too much too soon and her body not be ready for that."

The first race

When the season opening race, the Belmont-VU Opener, rolled around, Broderick expected her nerves to be jangling. She had participated in "one or two" races on the cross country team in high school, but this was another level. To her surprise, she was relatively calm on the course, mostly thanks to all her experience on the tennis court.

"I really thought I was going to be more nervous than I was," Broderick said. "Playing a tennis match, you're out there by yourself and everyone's watching you while in a cross country meet, you're running in a pack so eyes are not directly on you as much."

Her debut was an unmitigated success. She finished in 16th place overall and third on the team with a time of 14:53.73. In some ways, it's what she doesn't know that allowed her to start so quickly.

"She's not afraid of hills, she's not afraid of distance, she just competes and attacks," Weber said. "Other people who have done cross country longer, they know those things are additional challenges and, instead of freely accepting them, there's a measure of intimidation. She doesn't have any of that."

As the season has progressed, Broderick has only gotten better. In the team's last race, she turned in her best performance. The Panorama Farms Invitational two weeks ago was UK's longest race of the season so far (6K) and, for the first time in her career, Broderick was the first Wildcat to finish. With a time of 22:28.51, she finished 23rd overall in a strong field.

Broderick's precociousness would suggest it all comes easily for her, but she's gotten a firsthand education in what makes running competitively so different from running to stay in shape.

"I think the biggest difference is the amount of mental toughness it takes," Broderick said. "During my four years of playing tennis at UK, I became a better athlete, not only physically, but also mentally. When you're running races, it's painful and what gets you through is the ability to overcome that pain and be mentally tough."

Cross country season has 'flown by', track on the horizon

With all regular season races completed, UK's focus now turns to the postseason, which begins with the SEC Championships on Oct. 31 in Maryville, Tenn. The brief season has gone by very quickly for Broderick, though she knows there is a lot to look forward to in the coming weeks.

"It's flown by," Broderick said. "Every race, there's a lot of pressure to compete as best you can because there aren't many. We have SEC's and regionals coming up so hopefully we can perform well."

Broderick is optimistic about her and her team's prospects in the postseason, but she admits she doesn't know quite what to expect. Whenever the season does end, though, she'll jump right into training for track. Weber said he expects Broderick to focus on middle distances races such as the 800-meter and mile and he looks forward to seeing her compete in the more intimate atmosphere of track. Weber, though, called every day a "discovery" with Broderick, but there's one thing he knows he can always expect.

 "I expect it to be a whole lot of fun working with her and it will be inspiring to see what she can do," Weber said. "The one thing I know for certain is we'll get her best, because that's the way she is."

'You run the way you do because of the way you are'

Megan Broderick was a standout in tennis at UK for four years before joining cross country and track. (Chet White, UK Athletics) Megan Broderick was a standout in tennis at UK for four years before joining cross country and track. (Chet White, UK Athletics)

Broderick may not go on to set any records or win any national titles during her one year as a runner, but she has come to represent everything Weber looks for in an athlete.

"I've done this for a long time and in terms of attitude, enthusiasm and personal stake in it, she's one of the best we've ever had in that respect," Weber said. "We have a saying around here: 'You run the way you do because of the way you are.' I think she's a pretty good example of that."

She isn't ready to start thinking too much about her legacy or just how unique she is for participating in two Division I sports at such a high level, but Broderick expects to feel graciousness more than anything else when she does reflect on her time at UK.

"I'm really thankful that (head tennis) coach (Carlos) Drada and (assistant tennis) coach (Kevin) Calhoun were able to develop me as a tennis player and to have the success I did in that," Broderick said. "Then, to run across Coach Weber and to have this awesome opportunity is amazing. I'll just really be thankful for all the people, all the experiences and all the competition I was able to enjoy."

Performances of the Week: Oct. 16

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Every Tuesday, UK Athletics recognizes outstanding performances for our student-athletes. These are the honorees for the week ending Sunday, Oct. 16:

Men's golf: Joseph Barr

  • Junior Joseph Barr carded a career-best round of 66 (-5) in the first round of the Bearcat Invitational on Oct. 10.
  • Barr followed up his first round 66 with a 2-under par 69 in the second round to hold the lead entering the tournament's final round.
  • Barr finished the tournament in a tie for third, his best result of the season thus far, and helped lead Kentucky to a second-place finish.

Volleyball: Whitney Billings

Sophomore Whitney Billings continued her dynamic play in Southeastern Conference action. Billings was the difference maker in UK's upset of No. 18 Tennessee - its first loss of the SEC schedule. Billings struck for 15 kills, the highest total this season, on a sizzling .367 hitting percentage. She was the only UK attacker to post an above .350 attacking percentage in the victory. Billings' all-around play continues as she also notched a squad-high six blocks and added four assists in the win. Against Mississippi State she totaled her 10th match of the season with 10 or more scoops with 14 digs in the three-set match for an average of 4.67 scoops per stanza. Furthermore, Billings was served at 24 times for the week and she did not commit an error.

Women's soccer: Natalie Horner

Natalie Horner netted the golden-goal in Kentucky's 1-0 double-overtime upset of 14th ranked Tennessee Friday night. It was Horner's second goal of the season and her first in conference play.

Men's soccer: Matt Lodge

Junior forward Matt Lodge shined in a shellacking of UK rival Tulsa on Wednesday, assisting on a school-record three goals in the 3-1 win over the Golden Hurricane ... Lodge's three assists are the most in a single-game in school annals, marking the fourth time in UK history a player has accomplished that feat and the first since Barry Rice in 2006 ... Now owns 10 assists on the year, the second-most assists in UK single-season history, just three shy of Jamal Shteiwi's school-best 13 in 2003 ... Has added seven goals and 62 shots, with his shot total ranking as the second-most shots in UK single-season history ... 16 games deep into his junior season, Loge owns 17 goals and 15 assists (49 points), ranking among the career leaders in points (seventh), goals (eighth), assists (fifth), shots (137; fifth) and game-winning goals (six; seventh) ... With 24 points in 2011, Lodge ranks fifth in UK single-season history ...A Rossington, England, native and a 2009 Freshman All-America honoree, Lodge ranks among the C-USA leaders in shots (first, 62), points (fourth, 24), points per game (sixth, 1.50), goals (sixth, 7) and assists (first, 10).

Volleyball: Jackie Napper

Freshman Jackie Napper has been the epitome of consistency for the Wildcats with seven or more digs in six consecutive matches for the Louisville, Ky., product. Napper put together one of her best performances of the season in the upset victory over No. 18 Tennessee. Napper charted eight scoops, but it was her demeanor on the receiving end of serves that helped propel UK to the win. Napper was served at an astounding 42 times in the match and did not make a single error. Napper then went on to post seven scoops in three sets of action, for 2.33 scoops per set, well above her season average.

Cross country: Luis Orta

  • Luis Orta earned his fourth top-10 finish in as many races this season.
  • The junior from Caracas, Venezuela finished in fifth at the Panorama Farms Invitational, crossing the finish line at the 8,000-meter race in 24:29.74.
  • Orta has led UK in every race this season and has been named Southeastern Conference Men's Runner of the Week three times already.

Men's soccer: Charles Pettys

Junior midfielder Charles Pettys notched his first career two-goal game, in leading UK to a 3-1 beatdown of Conference USA powerhouse Tulsa on Wednesday ... Pettys notched both of UK's two goals to start of the game, getting his first in the 13th minute and adding his second in the 27th frame ... On the year, Pettys owns three goals and seven assists, ranking fourth in the league in assists and ninth in the conference in points (13) ... Pettys' first career two-goal game marked the 57th all-time two-goal outing from a UK player in program history ... In his two-year UK career, Pettys - a native of Los Angeles, Calif. - has played in 29 games with 20 starts, posting four goals and eight assists.

Women's soccer: Kayla Price

Freshman Kayla Price notched her fifth shutout of the season in the upset of Tennessee. She currently second among all-time UK freshmen in shutouts and her 1.19 GAA is the third lowest among freshmen in program history.

Women's tennis: Jessica Stiles and Khristina Blajkevitch

  • Junior Jessica Stiles and sophomore Khristina Blajkevitch have paired up for doubles play at the USTA/ITA Women's Tennis Ohio Valley Regional's and have yet to lose a match. Their impressive play has earned them a spot in the semi-finals in the main draw.

Oct. 2 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 Sunday, Oct. 2:

Women's golf: Ashleigh Albrecht

  • Won the Bettie Lou Evans Fall Invitational by one stroke.
  • This is her second career collegiate win, first being at the UCF Challenge in Feb. 2011.
  • Finished the invitational with 12 birdies and an eagle.

Volleyball: Whitney Billings

Sophomore Whitney Billings was simply the impact-player of the week for UK in two road victories. Billings has been a defensive ace for the Wildcats in helping UK to a 14-3 overall start and a 5-1 mark in league play. This week, Billings averaged 3.29 digs per set (Only UK's libero ranked higher with 3.43) and she also posted 1.14 blocks per set - meaning she contributed on the defensive side in both ways. Kentucky averaged 15.57 digs per set and 3.00 blocks per set in the two wins combined, with only Billings ranking in the top-two on the team in both digs and blocks per set. Her 15 scoops in the win at Arkansas were a season-best and ranked as the highest mark in the match. Her six blocks at LSU was a season-high mark and was the best on the floor as well.

Football: Winston Guy

Had another fantastic game with 12 tackles, including two tackles for loss. Guy ranks second in the SEC in tackles this season53 stops, while sitting first on the team in tackles for loss with six and a half and interceptions with two.

Volleyball: Christine Hartmann

Junior setter Christine Hartmann directed the Wildcat offense to a pair of victories at Arkansas and at LSU this weekend. For the weekend, Hartmann passed out 86 assists and moved into 10th place all-time in the UK record books with 1,534 career assists. In both matches she topped 40 assists, including a career-high 41 for a three-set match. In the win vs. LSU, Hartmann found six players for five or more kills and the offense had a .385 hitting clip. She also contributed six kills of her own. She notched 45 assists in the win at Arkansas with Ashley Frazier posting a career-high 18 kills in the match. Hartmann is in charge of an offense that leads the SEC in kills and assists per set.

Women's soccer: Caitlin Landis

Caitlin Landis netted her fourth goal of the season on Friday night in Kentucky's 1-0 win at South Carolina ... It was UK's first win against USC since 2006 and it's first win in Columbia since 2005 ... Landis' goal was her game-winner this season ... She finished with a team-high three shots in 85 minutes of action ... It was also her third goal in league play this season, tied for second most in the league.

Men's golf: Cody Martin

  • Finished in fourth at the rain-shortened Inverness Intercollegiate Invitational with an even-par round of 71.
  • Has finished in the top five in each of Kentucky's first three tournaments this season.
  • Has a season stroke average of 70.14, the lowest on the team.
  • Of the seven rounds of golf he's played this year, five have been even par or better.

Volleyball: Lauren O'Conner

Freshman Lauren O'Conner had an all-around weekend in helping guide UK to a 2-0 record on the road. O'Conner posted 3.29 kills per set on a team-high .435 hitting percentage. She totaled 10 or more kills in both victories, including 13 on a career-high .545 hitting clip at LSU. For the week, she took 46 swings and committed a mere three hitting errors. Her all-around game has continued to improve with five digs and a four blocks this weekend - which are both above her average for the season.  

Cross country: Luis Orta

  • Finished in 10th out of 240 runners at the Greater Louisville Classic on Saturday in Louisville, Ky.
  • Led the men's cross country team to an eighth place finish out of 29 competing teams.
  • His time of 24:17.72 is also is his collegiate-best time.
  • Has finished in the top 10 overall in each of Kentucky's first three races this season, including back-to-back wins in each of UK's first two races.

Women's soccer: Kayla Price

Kayla Price earned her first career SEC shutout Friday, in helping to lead Kentucky to 1-0 win at South Carolina ... It was UK's first win against South Carolina and its first win in Columbia since 2005 ... Price is currently tied for fourth in league games in saves with 19 and tied for second in shutouts with one ... Her four shutouts on the season is tied for fourth on UK's all-time freshman goalie list

Women's tennis: Jessica Stiles

Junior Jessica Stiles took third place in her singles draw after defeating Jennifer Rabot of Purdue University in straight sets, 6-2, 6-2.

Football: Danny Trevathan

Senior posted 13 tackles in the game, marking the third time this season he has earned 13 tackles or more. Trevathan has double-figure tackles in four of UK's five games this season and is currently leading the SEC in tackles with 59.

Updated photo gallery of UK's facility progress

Russ Pear needs a clone. At the very least, he could use another two or three hours in a day.

Pear, senior associate athletics director for facilities and operations at Kentucky, unofficially owns the title as the busiest man in the UK Athletics Department this summer. Pear and Scott Clark, as the two officials heading UK's numerous facility projects this summer, haven't had much time to enjoy the offseason.

"The schedule has been really hectic," Pear said. "Every year Scott Clark and I say, 'If we can just get through this year, there is no way it can be this busy next year.' "

But few - if any - summers have been as busy as this one for Pear and Clark as they march through the heart of their most important season to date.

In an ongoing effort to upgrade and renovate UK's facility infrastructure, Pear and Clark are leading five major facility projects this summer, in addition to planning for future developments and maintaining the current foundation.

The five projects include:

  • The installation of two Daktronics high definition video boards, light-emitting diode ribbon boards and a new sound system at Commonwealth Stadium
  • A brand new $12 million track facility 
  • A new playing surface at the UK Soccer Complex
  • An interior renovation of the Shively Training Facility

The new video and audio system being installed at Commonwealth Stadium has been covered in detail. Demolition of the old displays is already underway, and the installation of the new displays, along with the ribbon boards and sound system, will begin in early August.

The Commonwealth Stadium upgrades, which will include new sod, are expected to be ready for the home opener against Central Michigan on Sept. 10.

With the addition of the video and sound system, which is expected to cost close to $6 million (demolition and installation included), UK Athletics has invested more than $14 million in renovations and upgrades to football facilities at Commonwealth Stadium, Nutter Training Center and Nutter Field House over the last six years.

Last year, Pear and his crew renovated the Nutter Training Facility, revamping the football team's weight room, locker room and meeting rooms. Where folding chairs used to sit in small rooms, expanded meeting rooms, similar to miniature theaters, have been refurbished.

"When you've got six or eight offensive linemen in a room that's smaller than this office, it's just not very functional," Pear said of the previous meeting rooms.

Also, a main meeting room, equipped with projection screens and "smart" technology, has replaced old racquetball courts in Nutter. The room can be used for team-wide film sessions, presentations or recruiting purposes.

Even if the upgrades aren't just a case of keeping up with the Joneses of the Southeastern Conference, the additions were imperative for a program that's trying to rise in the nation's strongest league.

"I don't see us engaging as much in the arms race as much as I see us getting things functional and up to date for today's athletes," Pear said. "That doesn't mean we weren't paying attention before, but if someone builds one for $2 million, that doesn't mean you go build one for $3 million."
 
One might raise an eyebrow at the upgrades to football if they were the only additions going on, but Pear has had his hands full with plenty of other sports and facilities.
 
The front facing of one of the two old scoreboards at Commonwealth Stadium is nearly complete. The installation of the new Daktronics video boards is expected to start in early August. (photo by Britney McIntosh, UK Athletics) The front facing of one of the two old scoreboards at Commonwealth Stadium is nearly complete. The installation of the new Daktronics video boards is expected to start in early August. (photo by Britney McIntosh, UK Athletics)
"We know what keeps the overall ship afloat, but every sport is important," Pear said. "Mitch (Barnhart) started that attitude from an overall operations standpoint. We place just as much importance in our softball program, our baseball program and our gymnastics program, just like we do with our football program." 

Case in point: Pear's biggest project this summer is the $12 million track facility being constructed between the old Shively Track and baseball's Cliff Hagan Stadium. As Pear termed it, it's a "complete redo" of the facility.

Nothing more than a smoothed dirt field at the moment, the new track facility is expected to be operational for the spring 2012 season. Without an outdoor track facility for the next few months, the track and field and cross country teams will use the Nutter Field House as its practice facility. Other designated areas around UK's campus will be set up for track and field's throwers.

The construction is an inconvenience for the teams during the building process, but the previous facility was bordering on unusable. Last year, Barnhart tabbed the existing track's conditions as "unacceptable."

"We've basically had a track that's been non-functional from a collegiate competitive standpoint," Pear said.

Pear is hopeful the foundation of the actual track will be completed before winter arrives, allowing the team a means of outdoor practice while the stadium seating, concourse and other structures are built around it.

The hope is to host six to eight collegiate and high school meets a year, including the Southeastern Conference Championships and the state high school track meet, but no events have been scheduled for the 2012 spring season as a precaution for potential construction delays. 

"It brings people to campus both from a competitive standpoint for recruiting but also just to our campus," Pear said of the advantage of a new track. "A lot of the things we've done over the years with state high school tournaments, there are probably only a select few that may be SEC-caliber athletes, but the bottom line is you get people on campus who say this is a nice place and they want to come to school at the University of Kentucky."

Just down the street, Pear and his crew are about to embark on a $950,000 interior facelift of the Shively Training Facility,  which houses the locker rooms and weight room of several Olympic sports, including the baseball and men's and women's track and field teams.

Pear said the bare basics of the facility - the heating, the ventilation and the structure - are still in good shape, but the complex is in need of some updates. Beginning in about a week, new drywall, new ceilings, new floors - the "whole bit," as Pear described it - will be laid at Shively, specifically in the locker rooms of each team.

By the completion of the project, which should end in November, the goal is to give Shively the look and feel of a modern facility.

"The hallways, we're going to transform those so that when you walk in to Shively, you don't know if you're walking into the Craft Center or into Shively Sports Center," Pear said.

The new field at UK Soccer Complex is perhaps the smallest project that Pear and his crew are managing this summer, but right now it's the most critical to get finished in preparation for the Aug. 23 women's soccer home opener. A construction crew dug up the old field months ago, but a freak weather year has delayed the crew from laying the new sod.

"It's been one of those crazy years for weather," Pear said. "It wasn't like we had rain for two weeks straight, but we would get rain for two days straight and it would be so wet that you'd have to wait. By the time you were about to get back on it, it would rain again. We're just at a critical point right now at trying to be ready for the first game."

Pear said the renovation of the field isn't just new sod. Old drains are being repaired and the base of the field is being reconstructed. Because of the draining problems of the old soil, the new soccer field will be a sand-capped surface with moisture sensors in the field that will allow the Sports Turf department the ability to monitor soil moisture levels and reduce overwatering. Six inches of sand will sit on top of the base of the soil and then Bermuda grass will grow on top of that.

Other minor renovations will be made to the UK Soccer Complex in addition to a permanent tower to shoot film.

Of course, with all these projects going on, many might ask when a new baseball stadium might come or what the update is on a new basketball arena. The city of Lexington is currently studying the feasibility of redesigning and renovating Rupp Arena and the Lexington Center.

Future projects that are on the docket include moving the fences back at the UK Softball Complex and the addition of a new video/scoreboard. Pear also said men's tennis coach Dennis Emery is working hard to get some supporters to the table to fundraise an expansion at Hilary J. Boone Tennis Complex. That renovation, which is still in the planning stages, would include an expansion of four courts to six courts in the indoor facility, plus updated locker rooms.

Pear has a giant board in his office to organize the numerous projects going on and to help him look to the future. Prioritizing what needs to be done for an aging infrastructure can be a difficult job, but Pear said they have to look at UK's facilities situation as a need-to-need basis.

"We've gone around and looked at everything and said, 'That would be nice, but that's not exactly what we need. What we need is this,' " Pear said. "Mitch has made it a priority now to make sure that when he retires, that part of the department is in good shape to where another AD won't have to worry about it."

Fundraising, of course, also factors into prioritizing the facilities projects, as does the year-to-year fiscal budget. The list can change on a frequent basis, and capital dollars must also be allocated to Kentucky's normal facility operations, like painting and sprucing up UK's current facilities.

"You want a plan of the things we're looking at down the road and try to attack those in order of whatever priority you set them in," Pear said. "Sometimes the priority changes because of certain circumstances. If a donor comes forward and says, 'I'd like to do this and here's what I'd like to do,' you need to listen. Unless we're going to get in a capital campaign, this is how we have to do these things." 

It's made for one busy summer for Pear and his crew.

The semiannual Scratchies

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scratchies semiannual (2).jpg Move over Tonys. Take a backseat Oscars. The Scratchies (again, not a skin disease) are back.

I know it's been an unbearably long and grueling six-month wait since we introduced the Scratchies, but fear no more, it's time to introduce the 2011 spring semester winners.

Not to be confused with ESPN's Herbie Awards or UK's end-of-the-year CATSPY Awards - although I must confess, many award winners will repeat the CATSPYs - the Scratchies offer no actual hardware or glitzy awards show. Instead, these honorees have earned the appreciation of a lowly blogger trying to pass the beginning weeks of a long offseason.

A couple of the award names have changed, but the objective is the same - to look back at another semester of UK Athletics. Remember, these award winners only constitute the spring semester of UK Athletics action. The fall winners can be found here.

Please feel free to disagree and comment on who you think should have won in the comments section below. Keep in mind, this is all for fun.

Without further ado, here are the semiannual Scratchies:

MVW (Most Valuable Wildcat)
Brandon Knight, men's basketball - There were a lot of candidates for this semester's awards. There is Eric Quigley, who guided the men's tennis team to a national quarterfinals berth and finished the season ranked No. 7 in the nation. There is Megan Yocke, the heart and soul of the record-setting softball team. And let's not forget about Ethan Settlemires' clutch performance in the rifle national championship. But it's hard to ignore what Knight did in this year's NCAA Tournament. Knight's dramatic game winners against Princeton and Ohio State were the highlights of a Final Four run that fans will never forget. Stepping into the gargantuan shoes of John Wall and the sensational freshman class of 2009-10, Knight and the 2010-11 team proved it could play a little basketball as well. Next week, Knight is expected to be a top-five pick in the 2011 NBA Draft.
Honorable mention: Megan Yocke (softball), Eric Quigley (men's tennis), Ethan Settlemires (rifle), Victoria Dunlap (women's basketball)

The Dream Team (team of the semester)
Rifle - Much like the previous award, this could have gone to a number of squads, including the men's basketball, men's tennis and softball teams. But the rifle team won a national championship. You know, that ultimate goal that every team sets out for at the beginning of the year that only a select few ever win.  Ethan Settlemires didn't know it at the time, but his last shot in air rifle - the final shot of the match - would determine the national championship. Settlemires needed at least an 8.0 to capture the elusive title. The junior came through in the clutch with a 10.7, winning the program's first national championship.
Honorable mention: Men's basketball, men's tennis, softball

Harry Mullins has been the one constant staple in the success of the UK rifle program over the last three decades. (UK Athletics) Harry Mullins has been the one constant staple in the success of the UK rifle program over the last three decades. (UK Athletics)
The Adolph Rupp Award (coach of the semester)
Harry Mullins, rifle - As sweet as that rifle national championship was, it was even sweeter for Mullins, the longtime coach and most important figure in program history. Since 1982, Mullins and the UK rifle team have been one in the same. In his journey from a former student-athlete to a part-time coach to the symbol of the program, Mullins has taken the rifle team from its infant stages and built it into one of the nation's top programs. Year after year, Mullins and the rifle team came agonizingly close to winning the whole thing, only to fall short with seven top-three finishes. Whether it was by a string of fate or pure coincidence, Mullins finally won that coveted national title in the same town where his late father served as a sergeant in the military and raised his family.
Honorable mention: Rachel Lawson (softball), John Calipari (men's basketball), Dennis Emery (men's tennis)
 
The Josh Harrellson Award (most improved player)
Josh Harrellson, men's basketball - Harrellson's turnaround his senior year was so significant and so inspiring that we've renamed the award after him. Before this year, Harrellson had played a total of 403 minutes and scored 151 points for Kentucky. By the end of his senior year, Harrellson had transformed himself into the nation's most improved player and one of the best big men in the NCAA Tournament. Transforming his body and work ethic after the legendary tweet about his head coach, Harrellson went on to average 7.6 points and 8.7 rebounds this year, including an 11.0 scoring average in the NCAA Tournament against some of the nation's top post players. Harrellson's spirit and leadership were just as valuable to the team's Final Four run as his presence in the paint and unpredictable production. Harrellson's storybook season will be remembered decades from now.
Honorable mention: Alex Musialek (men's tennis), Meagan Aull (softball), Samantha DeMartine (softball)

The Butler-VCU Award (surprise team)
Women's golf - In her first year as head coach, Golda Johansson Borst wasn't expected to do much with the Kentucky women's golf team. After all, the program had been to just one NCAA Tournament since 2000. But with just one senior on the team and a wealth of midseason injuries, including two to the top two players, Ashleigh Albrecht and Betsie Johnson, UK returned to the NCAA Tournament for the 16th time in school history. With most of the team returning next year, the future is bright for women's golf.
Honorable mention: softball

One Shining Moment (best moment)
Annie Rowlands and Meagan Aull's hits send softball to Supers - The Kentucky softball team went to its third straight regional appearance with bigger expectations and higher hopes. The coaches and players talked about making it to their first Super Regional in program history, but as the third-ranked team in the Ann Arbor Regional and with the second-ranked team in the nation in the same regional, the reality of advancing was pretty slim. And yet, on a sunny Sunday afternoon, with one win over No. 2 Michigan standing in the way of a historic march, Kentucky entered the bottom of the seventh trailing 1-0. With Big Ten Pitcher of the Year Jordan Taylor dealing a gem and the nation watching on ESPN, Meagan Aull belted a changeup over the fence in right field to tie the game. Five batters later, with one out and the bases loaded, senior Annie Rowlands, a sub-.150 hitter, came through with the biggest hit in program history, a game-winning single over the first baseman's head. The RBI bloop advanced UK to its first Super Regional, which the school would go on to host.
Honorable mention: Brandon Knight's game-winning layup vs. Princeton; Knight's game-winning shot vs. Ohio State; Ethan Settlemires' winning shot to capture the national championship; Alex Musialek's match-clinching win vs. Louisville; gymnast Andre Mitchell's 39.550 score in the all-around, UK's highest score in 15 years

The "Band is Out On the Field" Award (best game/match)
Men's tennis vs. Louisville in the NCAA Tournament - What happens when you combine your archrival with postseason play? You get some edge-of-your-seat theater. That's what the Kentucky-Louisville men's tennis match brought in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. After UK grabbed the doubles point, the singles matches went back and forth in front of a raucous crowd at the Hilary J. Boone Tennis Complex. Every 10 minutes it looked like the match was going to go a different way. With Kentucky holding a 3-2 lead and courts No. 1 and No. 2 split in a 1-1 tie, everyone raced to the center courts to watch the decisive matches. Eric Quigley, UK's top player, dropped his match in three thrilling sets to tie the match 3-3. Moments later, though, after dropping the first set 5-7, Alex Musialek won the third set in dominating fashion, 6-0, to clinch the match and send UK to the Sweet 16 for the second consecutive year.
Honorable mention: softball's win over Michigan in the regional finals; men's basketball's upset of No. 1 Ohio State

Brandon Knight hit a game-winning jumper over Ohio State's Aaron Craft with seconds remaining to send UK to the Elite Eight and eventually its first Final Four since 1998. (photo by Chet White, UK Athletics) Brandon Knight hit a game-winning jumper over Ohio State's Aaron Craft with seconds remaining to send UK to the Elite Eight and eventually its first Final Four since 1998. (photo by Chet White, UK Athletics)
The Doug Flutie Hail Mary Award (best play)
Brandon Knight's game-winning jumper vs. Ohio State - Once again, there was plenty to choose from, but Knight gets the nod on this one given the magnitude of the situation. Against the No. 1 overall seed in the tournament and with the game tied 60-60, Knight pulled up from just inside the arc and drilled a jumper with five seconds left to send Kentucky to the Elite Eight and eventually the Final Four. For a team that failed to close during the regular season, it was an unforgettable moment in an unbelievable season.
Honorable mention: Brandon Knight's game-winning layup vs. Princeton; Ethan Settlemires' winning shot to capture the national championship; Brittany Henderson's game-winning layup vs. LSU

The Jimmer Fredette Award (breakthrough player)
Alex Meyer, baseball - Alex Meyer's first two years in the at UK were defined by potential and upside. In 2011, Meyer broke through with the type of year that everyone expected years earlier when Boston Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein showed up on his doorstep at the end of Meyer's high school career with a lucrative multi-million dollar contract. Meyer, with big-league stuff, finished the year as the Southeastern Conference leader in strikeouts, complete games and complete-game shutouts. Two weeks ago, Meyer was selected by the Washington Nationals with the 23rd overall pick in the 2011 MLB Draft, UK's highest draft pick since Joe Blanton went No. 24 in 2002.
Honorable mention: Meagan Aull (softball), Greg Ferrucci (swimming and diving)

All-Calipari Team (all-freshman team)
Greg Ferrucci, swimming and diving - Named SEC Male Freshman Diver of the Year and advanced to the NCAA Championships
Terrence Jones, men's basketball - Tabbed SEC Freshmanof the Year after averaging 17.3 points and 8.8 rebounds in his first year
Doron Lamb, men's basketball - Not to be overshadowed by Knight and Jones, Lamb averaged 12.3 points, hit a team-high 38 3-pointers and poured in a then-freshman record 32 points in December
Emily Holsopple, rifle - Appeared on the fall semester's list, but she certainly qualifies again after earning first-team All-America accolades and winning a national championship
Bernisha Pinkett, women's basketball - On a team with talented freshmen, averaged 7.0 points in just 18.7 minutes of action    

All-Up-and-Comers (non-freshmen on the rise)
Jessica Stiles, women's tennis - Led a rebuilding women's tennis program with 11 wins  
Darius Miller, men's basketball - Came on late in the season to win SEC Tournament MVP
Chanda Bell, softball - UK's all-time strikeout leader will enter her senior season as one of the top pitchers in the nation
Thomas McCarthy, baseball - Ranked third in the SEC with .371 batting average, including 19 doubles and 39 RBI
Brittany Cervantes, softball - UK's career home-run leader will be the centerpiece of next year's offense
  
All-Wildcat Team (the Scratchies equivalent of the All-America Team)
Brandon Knight, men's basketball - Replaced No. 1 overall pick John Wall by averaging 17.3 points and leading UK to the Final Four, plus first-team Freshman All-America honors
Victoria Dunlap, women's basketball - Program's No. 2 all-time scorer led the team to its second straight NCAA Tournament appearance and became the highest WNBA draft pick in school history
Eric Quigley, men's tennis - The nation's No. 7 player finished the year with a school-record-tying 45 wins
Megan Yocke, softball - Heart and soul of record-setting softball team became just the second player in school history to earn All-SEC accolades all four years
Colin Boevers, track and field - Won the SEC discus title and was one of nine student-athletes to advance to NCAA Outdoor Championships

All-Rex Ryan Team (when you need a sound bite, these are your go-to guys)
Josh Harrellson, men's basketball
John Calipari, men's basketball
Matthew Mitchell, women's basketball
Harry Mullins, rifle
Amber Smith, women's basketball

Stacey Eden of the UK track and field team (second from the left) confessed that he's owned the jacket he wore to the 2011 CATSPY Awards since middle school. (photo by Chet White, UK Athletics) Stacey Eden of the UK track and field team (second from the left) confessed that he's owned the jacket he wore to the 2011 CATSPY Awards since middle school. (photo by Chet White, UK Athletics)
The Craig Sager Award (best/worst dressed)
Stacey Eden, track and field - Depending on your taste in style, Stacey Eden of the track and field team was either the best dressed of the year or the worst. One thing is for certain: he caught people's eyes at this year CATSPY Awards. Eden (pictured to the right) attended the annual end-of-the-year awards show with a shiny gold suit, a patterned button-up, blue bowtie and sunglasses. Top that, Craig Sager

The Streak (strangest stat or streak)
Men's basketball in the clutch - Before the NCAA Tournament, the Cats couldn't hit a shot to save their lives. UK entered the tournament 1-6 in games decided by five points or less, which included missed last-second shots that could have won or tied the game against Florida, Arkansas and Ole Miss. But when the season was on the line and the stakes mattered most, Kentucky - particularly Knight - came through with game-winning shots against Princeton and Ohio State.

She said what? (quote of the semester)
Rachel Lawson, fighting back tears after losing to Cal in the Lexington Super Regional - "I feel really good about the future of the program. But I feel best about the fact that this group was - nobody thought they could win. I love (Samantha) DeMartine and (Meagan) Aull, (Megan) Yocke's OK. I know (Annie) Rowlands, for her to be able to come up with that big hit. I wanted them to go to the World Series. So far I'm the only one who's been there and I'm tired of having the upper hand on them."

The Best Dougie (best dance/celebration)
Jarrod Polson, men's basketball - In 2009-10, the John Wall Dance was the unofficial celebration of the Wildcats. This past year it was, without question, The Dougie, a dance made famous (or infamous) by Matthew Mitchell at Big Blue Madness. Jarrod Polson continued the craze on national TV after Kentucky defeated North Carolina and advanced to the Final Four. Check out his rendition below.

Kentucky Sports Report (week of April 25)

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Softball
- UK snapped an eight-game losing streak to Louisville behind an improbable comeback effort. After trailing 7-0, UK rallied for 14 straight runs to take down the Cardinals 14-8 on Wednesday.
- With a pair of wins at South Carolina, UK has now captured five SEC series this year. That marks the most SEC series wins in a single season in school history.
- The Wildcats blasted nine home runs this week led by three from Samantha DeMartine. UK has now totaled 60 for the year, which is a new single-season school record.
- Kentucky owns a 35-11 overall record which marks the most wins in a year in the Rachel Lawson era. Kentucky is one win shy of matching a program record for wins in a season, and two SEC wins from matching the most in league play.

Baseball
- The Kentucky baseball team completed a four-game week with its first series win over No. 12 Arkansas since the 2005 season. The Wildcats fell one win shy of notching the first series sweep over the Razorbacks in program history.
- UK returns to action with a midweek test vs. Louisville on Tuesday at 7 p.m. ET, before traveling to face No. 27 LSU in a three-game series, beginning on Thursday night as part of the ESPN Thursday Night SEC Game of the Week at Alex Box Stadium.
- Kentucky posted a thrilling 3-2 walkoff win in the series opener, using a complete-game gem from junior righty Alex Meyer, who struck out 10 in his third complete-game outing of the year, allowing only three hits and one earned run.
- In the second game of the series, UK posted a 3-1 win, using a good start from freshman Corey Littrell and relief from Alex Phillips and Trevor Gott. Littrell finished one out shy of a quality start, while Phillips took the game into the ninth inning, with Gott saving his
second game of the year with two strikeouts to end the game.
- UK has been led offensively by senior shortstop Taylor Black, who has batted .337 with 12 doubles, two triples, two homers and 27 RBI, stealing 10 bases. Braden Kapteyn has batted .321 with nine doubles, five homers and 38 RBI.

Men's tennis
- The Kentucky men's tennis team made a thrilling run in the SEC Tournament, defeating two top-20 ranked teams in No. 20 Auburn and No. 5 Georgia before falling to No. 17 Florida in the finals.
- The finals appearance for Kentucky was its first since 1992, when the Wildcats earned its lone SEC Tournament crown in school history. During the championship run in 1992, the No. 1-seeded Wildcats downed Tennessee and Ole Miss en route to a 5-2 win
over LSU to win the championship.
- Although UK fell in the finals, the tournament run from beginning to end was historic for the UK program. The win over the Bulldogs was the first for Kentucky since the 2003 season and its first outside of Lexington since 1997. It also broke the school record for wins in a single season and marked the first time in the modern era of the program that Kentucky has set a
school record for wins in consecutive seasons.
- Seniors Brad Cox and Alberto Gonzalez were named to the all-tournament team for their impressive tournament play. Cox teamed up with junior Eric Quigley to take down two top-30 ranked doubles duos, while going 1-1 in singles action. Gonzalez was also solid for UK, winning a key doubles match Saturday in the win against Georgia and going 2-1 in singles.

Women's tennis
- UK defeated No. 59 LSU 4-3 in the first round of the 2011 SEC Women's Tournament before falling to No. 14 Tennessee 4-0 in the tournament quarterfinals.
- UK won two of the three doubles matches against LSU, and led the third match before play was suspended with the doubles point having already been won.
- The Cats earned victories in singles play against LSU from senior Megan Broderick and sophomore Jessica Stiles at Nos. 1 and 2, respectively, as well as freshman Caitlin McGraw at No. 4.
- Kentucky finishes its season with a 5-20 overall record and a 2-9 mark in SEC play. Stiles led the Cats this year with a team-high 11 singles victories.
- Freshman Khristina Blajkevitch and Stiles led the Cats with six and four singles victories in conference play, respectively.
- Broderick, Lauren Meier and Nicole Scates will be graduating from the team. Broderick leaves the Cats with 64 victories in singles play.


Upcoming schedule

Tuesday, April 26
Baseball hosts Louisville - 7 p.m.

Wednesday, April 27
Softball hosts Ole Miss (DH) - 4 p.m.

Thursday, April 28
Baseball at LSU - 7:30 p.m.
Track and field at Drake Relays (Des Moines, Iowa)

Friday, April 29
Softball at Alabama - 7:30 p.m.
Baseball at LSU - 8 p.m.
Track and field at Drake Relays (Des Moines, Iowa)

Saturday, April 30
Baseball at LSU - 2 p.m.
Softball at Alabama - 2:30 p.m
.
Track and field at Drake Relays (Des Moines, Iowa)
Track and field at Payton Jordan Invitational (Palo Alto, Calif.)

Sunday, May 1
Softball at Alabama - 2:30 p.m.

April 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 Sunday, Apr. 17:

Softball: Chanda Bell

Junior Chanda Bell had an impressive performance in helping UK to a pair of wins over Tennessee Tech and run its season record to 31 wins. Bell suffered a minor injury earlier in the week and was held out of the Marshall series for precautionary reasons.

She entered the Tennessee Tech game in the top of the fifth to toss an inning of relief and help preserve the shutout. Bell threw just nine pitches - all strikes to sit down the Golden Eagles in order with three straight strikeouts.

The right-hander was called into duty in the nightcap of the doubleheader with UK trailing 2-1, with the bases loaded and one out in the third. Bell promptly entered the game and forced consecutive strikeouts to work her way out of the jam. She yielded her lone hit in the fourth frame as the Golden Eagles benefited from an error in the inning that would have ended the threat.

From there, however, Bell was unstoppable. She tossed the remaining six innings of extra-inning ball flawlessly. She did not allow a single base runner the rest of the way, and went on to throw 16 strikeouts - to match her own UK single-game high. She has now thrown 10 or more strikeouts in 32 career games. Her 19 strikeouts helped push her single-season total to 176, which is the third highest number for a single season in UK history (with Bell owning the first two spots as well).

Softball: Lauren Cumbess

Freshman Lauren Cumbess was a two-way threat for the Wildcats in helping lead UK to a 4-0 week. Cumbess was a game-changer at the plate and led the pitching staff with two wins on the week. At the dish, she batted .500, which included a game-tying single in the sixth inning. With UK trailing 3-2 to Tennessee Tech in the nightcap, Cumbess was inserted into the lineup in a pinch-hitting situation and delivered an RBI-single into left field to plate the game-tying run and help UK complete the eventual comeback. In the circle, Cumbess worked 9.0 innings of action on the week, earning two victories. She gave up under one hit an inning, while allowing just one walk and striking out seven. She teamed with relief pitcher Chanda Bell for her third shutout of the season in the opening win of the Tennessee Tech series.

Men's golf: Chase Parker

Sophomore Chase Parker saved his best day at the Southeastern Conference Championships for last, earning a 1-under-par 69 to finish the 54-hole tournament tied for 12th. The native of Augusta, Ga., had four birdies in the final round. Parker finished the tournament at 5-over-par 215 for his second consecutive top-22 showing at the SEC Championships.

Softball: Rachel Riley

Junior Rachel Riley was instrumental in leading UK to a 4-0 week and helping eclipse the 30-win plateau for the third consecutive season -a feat never before achieved in school history. Riley paced the team with a .538 batting average and three homers on the week. She currently owns a career-long hitting streak of six games and has reached base safely in eight straight contests.

In the nightcap of a doubleheader with Marshall, Riley became the fourth different UK player to hit two home runs in a single game with a pair of blasts in the first and sixth innings. Riley also earned the win on the mound in that game as she worked 5.0 innings of relief action to post her ninth victory of the season.

In the nightcap of a doubleheader with Tennessee Tech, Riley provided additional heroics for the Blue and White. With UK trailing 3-1, Riley came up with her third home run of the week to bridge the game to just one run with the solo shot in the fourth frame. Riley's six homers on the season is a new career-best in that category. Riley has also bested her career-highs in runs scored, hits, doubles, RBI, total bases and walks in her junior campaign.

Men's tennis: Anthony Rossi

Completed Kentucky's come-from-behind win against No. 29 Vanderbilt in its regular-season finale by posting a comeback win at No. 5 singles in a three-set tiebreaker. With UK trailing 3-1, the Wildcats earned three consecutive points with Rossi finishing off the Commodores by winning the third-set tiebreaker 7-4. The win continued Rossi's undefeated streak in Southeastern Conference play. The Frenchmen is now 8-0 this season against SEC foes.

Women's tennis: Jessica Stiles

Sophomore Jessica Stiles defeated Vanderbilt's Jackie Wu 6-0, 6-0 at No. 2 singles.

Kentucky Sports Report (week of April 18)

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Softball
- With a 4-0 week the No. 18 Kentucky softball team eclipsed the 30-win plateau for the third consecutive season, a feat never achieved before in school history.
- Junior Rachel Riley blasted two home runs in the nightcap of a sweep of Marshall. She became the fourth different UK player to hit two long balls in a single outing. Riley also picked up the win in the circle, working 5.0 innings of relief.
- Junior Brittany Cervantes hit two home runs this week to run her season total to 13. She is now just two round trippers shy of breaking Molly Johnson's career home run record.
- Junior hurler Chanda Bell worked 8.2 innings of action over the Tennessee Tech series. She threw 19 strikeouts, including 16 in a victory during the second game to match her own single-game record in that category.
- Freshman Lauren Cumbess secured the win in the circle in the opening game of the TTU series. She then delivered a game-tying RBI single in the sixth inning to help UK force extra innings to set the stage for senior Samantha DeMartine's walk-off homer in the 10th
in the nightcap.

Men's tennis
- Kentucky completed another come-from-behind victory Saturday at No. 29 Vanderbilt, coming back to grab a 4-3 win in its regular-season finale against the Commodores in Nashville, Tenn. With the win, Kentucky clinched the No. 3 seed in the Southeastern
Conference Tournament in Gainesville, Fla. The Wildcats will receive a bye in the first round before facing either South Carolina or Auburn on Friday morning at 9 ET.
- The win moves the Wildcats to 5-1 on the road in SEC play and 8-4 overall away from home. The win moves UK to 14-7 against teams ranked in the top 50 this season. Kentucky's 8-3 record in SEC play marks the second consecutive year that UK has posted eight SEC wins. UK has also earned a top-four seed in the SEC Tournament in back-to-back seasons.
- Kentucky posted the win over Vandy after four solid singles wins from No. 3 Eric Quigley, No. 56 Alex Musialek, No. 88 Alberto Gonzalez and No. 117 Anthony Rossi. Quigley paced the Wildcats by taking down a top-30 ranked player, while Rossi clinched the match in a three-set thriller.

Baseball
- The Kentucky baseball team completed a four-game week on Sunday, highlighted by a win at No. 28 Louisville on Tuesday night. The Wildcats traveled to Ole Miss for the weekend series, with the Rebels sweeping the series.
- UK fell in the three-game series at Ole Miss by a combined four runs, with two one-run losses and a two-run loss on Saturday.
- The Wildcats have been led offensively by senior shortstop Taylor Black, who has batted .346 with 12 doubles, two triples, one homer and 24 RBI, stealing 10 bases.
- On the mound, Alex Meyer (3-5, 3.59 ERA) leads UK in innings pitched (62.2) and strikeouts (71), tossing nine starts and two complete games.

Track and field
- Senior Keenan Hall was awarded the Tony Wilson Memorial Trophy for being the most outstanding male field athlete during the meet. Hall won the men's triple jump with a personal-best mark of 15.56-meter/51-00.7 and finished second in the long jump at
7.46m/24-05.75.
- Senior Sharif Webb won the 800m run with a time of 1:49.32, marking his second victory in two chances this season, after winning with a school-record and SEC-leading time of 1:47.19 at the Florida Relays.
- Freshman Allison Peare posted a career-best time of 2:09.64 in the 800m to take fourth, drawing closer to the freshman school record of 2:06.47, set in 1986.
- Senior Colin Boevers claimed two top-five finishes during the meet, collecting third in the discus and fourth in the shot put. Boevers, an All-America honoree in the discus throw last year, threw 53.44m/175-04 to capture the bronze. In the shot put, the senior made a long toss of 15.97m/52-04.75 to grab fourth.
- Junior Precious Nwokey rounded out her first heptathlon competition in 2011 as the second-place finisher with 5,309 points. Nwokey holds the school record in the event with a total score of 5,543.

Men's golf
- The Kentucky men's golf team finished the SEC Championships in ninth place after sophomore Chase Parker and freshman Stephen Powers each finished in
the top 20.
- Parker shot a 1-under-par 69 in the final round to end the 54-hole tournament tied for 12th, while Powers earned his second consecutive top-22 finish by ending
his first SEC Championship appearance tied for 19th.
- Kentucky concludes the 2010-11 season with four top-three finishes as a team, increasing the total number of top-three finishes under 10-year head coach Brian Craig to 35. Individually, UK players earned 14 top-20 finishes during the year, including Belden who had a
team-high five top-20 finishes.

Women's golf
- Kentucky finished 10th in the SEC Women's Golf Championships.
- Sophomore Betsie Johnson led UK with a 10-over par 226 to finish in 23rd place individually.
- Johnson found success on Auburn University Club's four par 5 holes. The Nicholasville, Ky., native was 3-under par on the par 5s.
- UK will learn if it has been invited to the NCAA Championships on a conference call on April 25 at 6 p.m. ET.

Women's tennis
- The Cats fell to No. 18 Vanderbilt 5-2 on Senior Day Saturday. Megan Broderick, Lauren Meier and Nicole Scates were recognized on Senior Day.
- Broderick won a thrilling match over No. 76 Alex Leatu in her final match at the Hilary J. Boone Tennis Center, 4-6, 6-4, 6-4.
- Sophomore Jessica Stiles turned in the most dominating performance of her collegiate career with a straight sets 6-0, 6-0 victory at No. 2 singles. Stiles' win was her 10th singles victory this season, the most on the team and her fourth conference win.
- The Cats are the No. 10 seed in the SEC Tournament and will face No. 7 seed LSU in the opening round in Knoxville, Tenn., on Thursday.

Upcoming schedule

Tuesday, April 19
Softball hosts Eastern Kentucky - 4 p.m.
Baseball at Western Kentucky - 7 p.m.

Wednesday, April 20
Softball hosts Louisville - 6 p.m.

Thursday, April 21
Women's tennis vs. LSU - 6 p.m. (Knoxville, Tenn.)

Friday, April 22
Men's tennis vs. South Carolina/Auburn - 9 a.m. (Gainesville, Fla.)
Baseball hosts Arkansas - 6:30 p.m.
Softball at South Carolina - 7 p.m.
Track and field at UCSD Triton Invitational (La Jolla, Calif.)
Women's tennis at SEC Tournament (Knoxville, Tenn.)

Satruday, April 23
Football hosts Blue/White Spring Game - 3 p.m.
Softball at South Carolina - 4 p.m.
Baseball hosts Arkansas - 7 p.m.
Women's tennis at SEC Tournament (Knoxville, Tenn.)
Men's tennis at SEC Tournament (Gainesville, Fla.)
Track and field at UCSD Triton Invitational (La Jolla, Calif.)
Track and field at Jesse Owens Invitational (Columbus, Ohio)

Sunday, April 24
Baseball hosts Arkansas - 1 p.m.
Softball at South Carolina - 1 p.m.
Women's tennis at SEC Tournament (Knoxville, Tenn.)
Men's tennis at SEC Tournament (Gainesville, Fla.)
Track and field at Jesse Owens Invitational (Columbus, Ohio)

Recent Comments

  • Guy Ramsey: The song is "The Mighty Rio Grande" by the band This Will Destroy You. read more
  • Griffin: What's the name of the song that this video starts playing when describing Cal getting ejected and Aaron talking about read more
  • Quinn : It was an amazing run! I hope you all return and make another stab at it. read more
  • Sandy Spears: I completely with the person's comment above. So proud of all the young men and their accomplishments. They have everything read more
  • BJ Rassam: The Cats came so close to winning another NCAA basketball championship. read more
  • chattyone: Congratulations to our Wildcats! They are terrific. All of us just like these young men are disappointed in the loss, read more
  • clint bailes: Such a great season! You guys fought hard til the end. Loved watchin the season! Can't wait til next season. read more
  • Andrea Boyd: you guys are AMAZING! as individuals and as a team. thank you for your tremendous playing and work and attitudes. read more
  • laura n: What an honor and privledge to watch all of you grow into incredible young men. Never enjoyed a season more. read more
  • Amy Carnes: Very proud of you cats you have really grow as a team .You proved all the doubters wrong. And have read more