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UK Sports Report (week of Feb. 7)

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Rifle
- The rifle team rode a school-record team score to a 4696-4680 win over No. 1 West Virginia, clinching the 2010-11 Great American Rifle Conference regular-season championship on Saturday at UK's Barker Hall.
- Kentucky completed an undefeated season in conference action with the win, besting the 2008-09 NCAA Champion Mountaineers, who also entered the match undefeated in league play and needing a win over UK to clinch the title.
- With the win, UK has clinched its fourth all-time regular-season GARC Championship and its first since the 2008-09 season.
- Kentucky's 4696 total team score eclipsed the school record set earlier in the year when the Wildcats totaled a 4691 win over Memphis in Oxford, Miss., on Jan. 21.

Men's basketball
- The Wildcats dropped a 70-68 heartbreaker at Florida over the weekend. After falling behind by 13, the Cats battled back to take a one-point lead late in the game, but a last-second 3-pointer by Brandon Knight fell short.
- UK hosts Tennessee on Tuesday. The Wildcats have posted a 160-51 (.758) record against SEC East teams since the league split into divisions in 1991-92. Kentucky is 5-1 in games following a loss this season.
- John Calipari is 28-0 at Rupp Arena as the UK head coach. The Wildcats have the second longest home winning streak in the country at 29.

Women's basketball
- Kentucky put together an impressive win over Auburn on Thursday for its seventh consecutive victory. The Cats defeated the Tigers 69-38 in Memorial Coliseum, marking the largest margin of victory in SEC play in school history. It also marked the first time UK has
held an SEC opponent under 40 points in school history.
- Sophomore Brittany Henderson led the winning effort with a career-high 13 points while also grabbing seven rebounds.
- Senior Victoria Dunlap collected her second consecutive and sixth double-double of the season with 10 points and 10 rebounds. She has now eclipsed the 1,000-rebound mark (1,007), becoming just the second player in school history to chart more than 1,000 points
and 1,000 rebounds in her career.

Gymnastics
- Senior Andrea Mitchell took home the all-around title with a career-high score of 39.275 and the University of Kentucky gymnastics team posted season-high marks on balance beam and vault, but fell short in an upset bid at No. 22 Auburn 194.625-194.450.
- Mitchell was spectacular for the Wildcats, scoring season highs on vault, uneven bars and beam to post a career-high score in the all-around. The all-around win for Mitchell was the first individual all-around title for UK on the road in the SEC since 2006.
- Kentucky defeated Auburn on vault with a season-high post of 49.2 while also scoring a season-high mark on beam with a 48.375. UK took home event honors at three events with Jasmine Minion winning event honors on vault and Mitchell claiming honors on bars and beam.

Men's tennis
- The men's tennis team could not repeat its historic upset last season against Virginia, losing to the top-ranked Cavaliers 7-0 in Charlottesville, Va., on Saturday.
- Virginia, which boasts two top-10 ranked doubles teams and six top-105 ranked singles players, took control of the match from the beginning, winning the doubles point and all six singles matches.
- Kentucky took two first sets in singles against the Cavaliers.

Track and field
- The track and field team wrapped up competition at the Virginia Tech Elite Meet with a win by junior Walter Luttrell in the men's 5,000-meter run and placed six other student-athletes in the top six of their respective events on Saturday in Blacksburg, Va.
- Luttrell secured his victory with a personal-best and SEC-leading time of 14:29.50 in the men's 5,000-meter run, claiming the Wildcats lone win of the day. The junior is now the two-time defending champion and record holder in the event at the VT Elite Meet, previously
winning with a time of 14:41.65, Feb. 5, 2010.
- Senior Mary Angell recorded her third consecutive top-six finish in the women's shot put with a throw of 50-07.25/15.42 meters. The senior's season-best mark of 51-01.75 currently sits second in the conference.
- Junior Keith Hayes ran his second-fastest 60-meter hurdle race this season, in 7.82, approaching his season-best time of 7.80, which currently ranks ninth in the NCAA.
- Freshman Kyron Joseph recorded two top-five finishes Friday, claiming fifth in the 60-meter dash with a time of 6.82 and third in the 200-meter dash with a time of 21.58. Joseph was followed closely in the 200-meter by fellow freshman Kadeem Kushimo who grabbed fifth in 21.79.

Women's tennis
- The Kentucky women's tennis team fell to No. 7 Michigan 7-0 on Saturday at the Varsity Tennis Center in Ann Arbor, Mich.
- Kentucky will host Ohio State on Wednesday at the Hilary J. Boone Tennis Center for its first home match of the season. Matches will begin at 1 p.m.

Upcoming schedule

Monday, Feb. 7
Women's basketball hosts Tennessee - 9 p.m.

Tuesday, Feb. 8
Men's basketball hosts Tennessee - 9 p.m.

Wednesday, Feb. 9
Women's tennis hosts Ohio State - 1 p.m.

Thursday, Feb. 10
Women's basketball at South Carolina - 7 p.m.

Friday, Feb. 11
Softball vs. Ohio State - 4 p.m. (Miami)
Men's tennis at Illinois - 6 p.m.
Women's tennis at Northwestern - 7 p.m.
Softball at Florida International - 8 p.m. (Miami)
Diving at SEC Diving Championships (Gainesville, Fla.)
Track and Field at Tyson Invitational (Fayetteville, Ark.)/Husky Classic (Seattle)/Akron Invitational (Akron, Ohio)

Saturday, Feb. 12
Men's basketball at Vanderbilt - 1 p.m.
Softball vs. DePaul - 6 p.m. (Miami)
Softball vs. North Florida - 8 p.m. (Miami)
Rifle hosts NCAA Qualifier
Diving at SEC Diving Championships (Gainesville, Fla.)
Track and Field at Tyson Invitational (Fayetteville, Ark.)/Husky Classic (Seattle, Wash.)/Akron Invitational (Akron, Ohio)

Sunday, Feb. 13
Softball vs. Memphis - 11 a.m. (Miami)
Women's tennis at Purdue - noon
Men's tennis hosts Miami - 1 p.m.
Women's basketball hosts LSU - 2:30 p.m.
Men's tennis hosts Wright State - 6 p.m.
Diving at SEC Diving Championships (Gainesville, Fla.)
Women's golf at UCF Challenge (Sorrento, Fla.)

Oct. 17 Performances of the Week

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

Volleyball: Whitney Billings

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

Women's tennis: Megan Broderick

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

Football: Winston Guy

Had 10 tackles and an interception.

Football: Mike Hartline

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

Volleyball: Stephanie Klefot

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

Football: Chris Matthews

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

Cross country: Luis Orta

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

Volleyball: Becky Pavan

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

Swimming and diving: Kelcy Perry

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

Football: Ryan Tydlacka

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

WTEN 09_10 UK_LSU 21.jpgCarlos Drada didn't realize the significance of the date, but it was fitting that the day he became an official citizen of the United States was just a day before the nine-year anniversary that nearly prevented him from staying in the country.

Nine years ago, Drada, now the head coach of the Kentucky women's tennis program, was fresh off a decorated collegiate career at UK and out in the business world as a financial adviser at the prestigious financial firm Merrill Lynch in New York City.

Since emigrating from Colombia at age 11 and earning a scholarship to go to a budding tennis academy in Florida when he was 14, Drada realized the United States was where he wanted to live for the rest of his life.

Drada went to college at UK and blossomed into the 2000 NCAA Singles Championship runner-up under head coach Dennis Emery, but the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, temporarily derailed Drada's immediate dreams to become a citizen of the U.S.

"September 11, I remember the lawyer telling me with the kind of curriculum and regimen you have you should have no problem," Drada said. "For some reason, I had a feeling that something was going to get complicated."

Drada's premonition was right. Soon thereafter, national policies and laws were enacted that directly affected immigration, and Drada's visa to permanently work in the U.S. was denied. 
For the next several years, Drada fought the paperwork battle to try to stay in the U.S. On two different occasions, it looked as if Drada might never end up at UK as a tennis coach or even stay in the country.

"I was falling through the cracks," Drada said.

At one point, Drada was forced to go back to Colombia for an interview to get a temporary work visa. Just years earlier, Drada's sister left the country in a similar fashion and was denied re-entry without being given a fair reason for denial. When Drada left, he worried he would not be able to return to the country.

"Not only am I not going to have a way to stay in the country, now I'm probably going to be indefinitely away from the country," Drada said.

Drada returned to Colombia and remembers about 100 applicants applying for the work visa permits. Somehow, Drada said he was the only person that received a visa.

The re-entry back into the States gave Drada a little peace of mind, but he only had a small window to stay permanently.

To obtain a green card, which grants immigrants residence in the U.S. for up to 10 years and is one of the final barriers in becoming an official U.S. citizen, Drada thought his best chance would be to return to the same tennis academy in Florida where he trained as a teenager back in the 1990s.

Drada was offered a chance to work with Maria Sharapova, now a tennis superstar and three-time Grand Slam winner. It seemed like a no-brainer to move to Florida.

"I had everything packed in my car ready to go," Drada said.

And then he got a call from then-UK women's tennis head coach Mark Guilbeau asking if he would be interested in accepting an assistant coaching job at his alma mater. Though Drada never considered coaching in the collegiate ranks, the chance was too good to pass up.

"I always tell my dad and myself that I ended up becoming what I needed to become," Drada said. "You always have goals and you try to excel at whatever you do ... but I'm excited about where I am and what I can do. I love what I do. I told my assistant the other day, I love coming to work every day. Every day I'm thinking, 'Gosh, I'm working at the university I got to train.' I couldn't wrap my mind around coaching anywhere else."

Fast forward to 2010, and Drada is now in his fifth year as head coach of the Kentucky women's tennis program. Drada eventually received his green card five years ago and became an official citizen of the United States Friday, the day before Sept. 11, nine years since he was denied a visa.

In a ceremony inside a courtroom in Ashland, Ky., Drada, along with approximately 50 people from 27 different countries, listened as the judge explained the importance of becoming an American.

"A lot of kids nowadays don't understand how special it is to be a part of this country," Drada said. "That's why so many people outside of this country are trying to come in. Everybody has the right to a future. ... A lot of countries around the world, if you were born in a certain spot or if you have a certain last name, you don't have a lot of opportunity. Furthermore, you don't have many of the freedoms that Americans see as a right, and I believe those are great privileges passed down from our predecessors. Here, you have the hope that if you work hard that things will get better not only for you but your family."

Calling it one of the biggest moments in his life, alongside the first time he came to the U.S. and making it to the finals of the NCAA Singles Championships in 2000, Drada said he could hardly compose himself.

"I didn't realize what an amazing feeling it was going to be," Drada said. "As an athlete, you're trained to hold your emotions and be really centered under pressure, but I couldn't contain so many emotions as I was so excited. It was one of the highlights of my life."

From the time Drada entered the country at 11 and struggled with a completely new language, to his brief stint at the top of the business world at Merrill Lynch, to battling to stay in the country, finding a head coaching job at Kentucky and now his citizenship, it's been a long road for Drada.

"It's not an easy process," Drada said. "It took a lot of work. I'm grateful. This road helped me remember that when you follow a path which is sometimes harsh and painful, it allows to appreciate that you stuck to the process and you came out a better stronger person at the end.

The fifth-year head coach said he had a "30-second temptation" when he was denied in 2001 to "do it the wrong way." Drada knew people getting married just to obtain a green card, but Drada said his "dream was to always follow the right steps." 

"I wouldn't have it any other way," Drada said. "I knew I would find a way. Even if I had to get out, I would have found a way. ... My family had always taught us that if you start with the right seeds, you will yield the right fruit. It is that simple."

Drada is hoping to use his battle for citizenship as a model for his team this year. After struggling through an uncharacteristically down year a season ago, the program's first losing season since 1997, Drada has rebuilt a very differet roster. The only returnees are seniors Megan Broderick, Lauren Meier, Nicole Scates, and junior Elle Coldiron.

Success might not happen immediately this year, but Drada said the keys are dreaming and taking the first step. He said he would have never learned that without his new appreciation of becoming a United States citizen.

"I'm not at all happy where we are, but the beautiful thing is I know there's hope and I am certain of where we are going," Drada said. "As long as you're working hard and there's a structure, things will be better."

Jan. 31 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, Jan. 31:

Men's basketball: DeMarcus Cousins

Averaged a double-double on the week, while recording back-to-back double-doubles against South Carolina and No. 21 Vanderbilt ... Shot better than 78 percent from the free throw line on the week ... Recorded his third and fourth 20-10 games this season ... Has 12 double-doubles this season, a UK freshman record ... Tied career high 27 points against South Carolina ... Recorded his 13 th multi-block game this season ... His double-double against Vanderbilt was his 12 th of the season, the most in the league ... He has recorded four straight double-doubles, the second time he's done so this season ... Double-double against Vanderbilt came in only 24 minutes

Women's basketball: Victoria Dunlap

  • Junior forward Victoria Dunlap averaged a double-double with 21.5 points and 11.0 rebounds while shooting 51.7 percent from the field.
  • Helped Kentucky earn its first back-to-back SEC road wins since 2005-06 and helped UK break the school record for most consecutive SEC games wins with five.
  • Posted her ninth 20-plus point performance of the season in UK's 71-62 upset at No. 18 LSU Thursday.
  • Netted 13 of her game-high 24 points in the crucial second half, including seven points in the final 8:57 of the game to help UK grab its first win in Baton Rouge since 1995.
  • Became the 27th member of UK's 1,000-point club on Sunday after registering her 19th career double-double with 19 points and 12 rebounds in the win over Mississippi State.

Swimming and diving: Lisa Faulkner

Junior Lisa Faulkner posted the fifth double-victory of the season as she swept both of the boards in UK victories over Cincinnati and Vanderbilt. Faulkner, the lone diver on the roster, captured valuable points for the Wildcats as she swept the events -- and did so in 30+ point fashion over her closest finishers.

Swimming and diving: John Fox

Diver John Fox posted his first double-victory of his young career by sweeping the boards in a UK win over Cincinnati. Fox claimed the one-meter and three-meter boards in stylish fashion. His 303.33 score on the one-meter is a career-best clip. He also posted the victory by nearly 100 points over the second-place finisher in the event. The one-meter score is also good enough to qualify for NCAA Zones.

Men's tennis: Alberto Gonzalez

With a historic bid on the line, junior Alberto Gonzalez completed a brilliant come from behind win to push UK into the round of 16 in the Intercollegiate Tennis Associations National Indoor Championship. Gonzalez win over Wake Forest's Danny Kreyman at the No. 5 singles position gave No. 14 Kentucky a 4-3 win over No. 16 Wake and its first final 16 appearance in a indoor or outdoor national championship since 2005. With all matches decided it was up to Gonzalez to send the Cats to the finals. Gonzalez really stepped up his game and fought hard for the Wildcats winning both his single matches over the weekend while also helping UK claim the doubles point on Sunday.

SWIM 07_08 Greene action 01.jpgSwimming and diving: Kyle Greene

Senior Kyle Greene was instrumental in helping the Wildcats dominate Cincinnati to cap off dual meet action with a win. Greene, participating in Senior Day festivities, charted a season-best clip in the 100-back as he took second behind teammate Zach McGinnis for a 1-2 finish. In the 100-free he was UK's top finisher. Finally, Greene took the first-leg in UK's winning 200-free relay that captured an NCAA 'B' time standard in the winning tap.

Women's tennis: Caroline Lilley

  • Grabbed Kentucky's third point in their upset over No. 24 Alabama with a victory over No. 82 Alexa Guarachi 7-6, 5-7, 7-6 (11-9)
  • Upset No. 66 Sasha Krupina 6-4, 6-3 to take the Cats' first point in their 4-2 loss to No. 10 Georgia Tech
  • Lilley currently stands 3-1 on the indoor season

Swimming and diving: Zach McGinnis

Freshman Zach McGinnis continued to be a dominating force for the Blue and White in the backstroke events as he has emerged as UK's top threat in the discipline. McGinnis tapped first in both the 100 and 200-back events in a win over Cincinnati. He also took the opening backstroke leg of the winning 200-medley relay, which marked his third win of the day.

Rifle: Jen Pason

Senior shooter Jen Pason had a good week in leading UK to a win at Nebraska Saturday in Lincoln. Pason totaled a 576 in smallbore and a 584 in air rifle for the Wildcats against Nebraska. "Jen showed great determination in fighting for every point for her team Saturday against Nebraska," UK assistant coach Stacy Underwood said. "She is very eager to improve on her performance through hard training during the next two weeks before NCAA Qualifies. Jen and her senior teammates are looking forward to helping make a big push in the coming weeks for the postseason."

Track and field: Precious Nwokey

Precious Nwokey won the pentathlon at the McCravy Memorial Track Meet with a score of 3804 points, the top mark in the SEC this season.

Swimming and diving: Kayla Sergesketter

Junior Kayla Sergesketter was a valuable scorer for the Blue and White in its defeat of both Cincinnati and Vanderbilt on Saturday. Sergesketter notched a season-high time in the 50-free and also came home with a victory in the 100-free. Additionally, she was the third leg of the winning 200-free relay to cap off a tremendous meet for the Wildcats.

Track and field: Kristin Smith

Senior Kristin Smith broke the weight throw varsity school record for the second time this season. Smith's mark of 20.51/67-3.5 earned her an NCAA provisional qualifier and a national standing of fourth-place overall. The Wildcats hosted the Rod McCravy Memorial this past weekend where Smith finished in second place.

Track and field: Rondel Sorrillo

Rondel Sorrillo picked up the first NCAA automatic qualifier for the Wildcats this season. Sorrillo ran a 20.77 in the 200-meter dash, which currently stands as the second best time in the nation. His time of 20.77 is only .05 away from Sorrillo's personal best and the UK varsity school record set by Sorrillo in 2009. His time of 20.77 notched a first place win at the Rod McCravy Memorial, which the Wildcats hosted at the E.J. Nutter Field House.

Swimming and diving: Trina Winsor

Freshman Trina Winsor captured individual victories in three events -- the only UK swimmer to achieve the feat in wins over Cincinnati and Vanderbilt this weekend. Her victory in the 400-IM and time of 4:25.01 marked the sixth-best time in school history in the event. She also went on to claim wins in the 200 and 500-free events.

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  • 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