LEXINGTON, Ky. –Dezerea Bryant opened 2015 with head-turning times in both the 60-meter and 200-meter dashes to lead the sixth-ranked Wildcats at the Kentucky Invitational inside Nutter Field House on Saturday.
Bryant, the reigning NCAA 200M Champion ran a world-leading time of 23.12 to open her National Title defense with a strong statement of intent.
She began the day with what at the time was a world-leading 60M time of 7.18, .06 seconds off her personal best, which is the fifth fastest collegiate time in history.
Bryant’s time was soon eclipsed by Oregon’s Jasmine Todd who ran 7.15 competing in Seattle, potentially setting up an early-season showdown next weekend in Lexington. The two All-Americans are expected to face off in the 60M dash at the Rod McCravy Memorial.
And Bryant wasn’t the only one to perform on a high level in her event. Transfer Javianne Oliver ran a personal best of 7.32 to finish second with a time that ranks in the national top 10.
“Overall the meet went well, obviously the stars always shine,” UK head coach Edrick Floréal said. “That’s not what you worry about when it comes down to a Conference or NCAA Championship. It’s the kids that have potential that are not putting it out there that you worry about.
“We have a lot of ‘tweeners’ performing in between great and average that are staying luke warm. We have to find a way to get them motivated to join the rest of the group at the front of the pack.”
Kentucky had the top four finishers in the 60M as Dominique Booker also ran a PR time of 7.42 for third place, and Keilah Tyson placed fourth.
Keffri Neal, the reigning SEC Champion in the indoor 800M and outdoor 1,500M, ran a SEC-leading mile time of 4:07.10, which was a solid opening salvo as he will look to lower his times as the season progresses.
Rebecca Famurewa turned in one of Kentucky’s best performances of the weekend on Friday. She won the weight throw with a mark of 67-feet, 11.5 inches/70.21 meters, which is in the No. 3 weight throw mark in the U.S. this year, although it is extremely early in the season.
UK’s Kentucky Invitational Event Winners • Leah Nugent won the 60M hurdles with a season best time of 8.25, which is the third fastest in the nation.
• Sha’Keela Saunders won the long jump with what for her was a pedestrian mark of 19’11”/6.07M.
• Ian Jones turned in a nice home debut with a 800M winning time of 1:53.65.