Four Wildcats Post NCAA-Leaders to Begin Season at Hoosier Open


BLOOMINGTON, Ind.  – Four Wildcats posted nation-leading times/marks, and 11 Wildcats won individual events to begin the indoor track and field season on Friday at Indiana’s Hoosier Open.

Notably a lot of teams do not begin the outdoor season until January.

Reigning Southeastern Conference indoor long jump champion Sha’Keela Saunders dropped a great mark to begin the year, winning her signature event with a mark of 21’6.25”/6.56m. That mark is her indoor personal best, meaning she opened the 2015-16 season with a mark better than what she produced to win both the SEC title and NCAA Silver Medal last year.

Saunders mark was also a Gladstein Fieldhouse and Hoosier Open record.

Javianne Oliver began the season in ideal fashion, winning the 60-meter dash in a PR and nation-leading time of 7.30.

Jacklyn Howell ran a nation-leading PR 8.30 in the prelims, and followed it up with an 8.34 in the final to win the 60m hurdles.

Rebecca Famurewa won the weight throw with a nation-leading mark of 69’6.25”/21.19m.

Reigning SEC Outdoor High Jump Champion Justin Kretchmer got over the bar at 7’0.25”/2.14m – the Hoosier Open record – to win with a mark that matched the PR clearance he made to win the SEC last May.

Ariah Graham won the 500m with a time of 1:10.80. As an early-season meet, the Hoosier Open features less common race distances like 300 and 500m.

Nikolas Huffman won the shot put with a mark of 59'5"/18.11m.

Destiny Carter won the 200m with a time of 24.06. Oliver placed second in 24.38 and Precious Hitchcock was third in 24.48.

Multi-eventer Tim Duckworth won the long jump with a mark of 24’5”/7.44m.

Xavier Jones won the 200m in his best performance as a Wildcat - 21.81.

Naija Omari ran 49.56 to win the 400m.

Olivia Gruver made a strong UK debut, finishing second overall and as the top collegiate pole vaulter with a top clearance at 13’1.5”/4m – 2.5” short of her PR. Gruver’s clearance is tied for third in the nation.

Kaitlyn Taylor jumped to the best long jump distance of her UK career, reaching 19’7”/5.97m.

Adrianna Brown threw a shot put PR 53’11.25/16.44m for second place. Famurewa placed third in the SP.

Shane Dillon ran 2:28.53 over 1,000 meters for second place in his UK debut. Ian Jones was fourth in 2:29.78.

Nick Anderson was third in the 60m hurdles in 7.81. He ran 7.90 in the prelims.

Kentucky will break until 2016, and then host two indoor meets in mid-January, including the Rod McCravy Memorial. That meet again will host the nation’s most stacked early-season field.