Orta Wins Again, Captures 5,000-Meter Title at SEC Indoors

Feb. 26, 2012

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LEXINGTON, Ky. - University of Kentucky distance runner Luis Orta did it again. Less than 24 hours after winning the men’s 3,000-meter run at the 2012 Southeastern Conference Indoor Track and Field Championships, Orta ran a fantastic race in the men’s 5,000m at E.J. Nutter Field House to capture his second SEC Championships title in as many days. Orta becomes the first SEC athlete to win both the 3K and 5K in the same championship since Georgia’s Ian Burrell in 2007.

A senior in indoor track and field and a junior in outdoors, Orta led the Kentucky men’s team to an eighth-place team finish, accumulating 38 points during the three-day meet featuring some of the best athletes in the country. The women’s team finished the weekend in 12th with seven points.

Following his race in the 5K, Orta and his teammates screamed out the C-A-T-S chant in jubilation, and the Caracas, Venezuelan native glowed when talking about the feeling of winning the two events in front of the Big Blue Nation.

“It’s awesome,” Orta said. “First, I love UK with all my heart. I’m a Kentucky Wildcat since the day I got here, until the day I die. Just being here in front of Kentucky fans and giving them the sense that it’s not only basketball. There are other things here like track, and I’m here too. Showing them what I do and how I do it in my own track feels super good. It feels awesome.”

Orta, along with Ole Miss’ Ricky Robertson, was the recipient of the Cliff Harper Trophy, awarded each year to the high-points scorer of the meet on both the men’s and women’s sides. Orta earned Kentucky 20 points with two first-place finishes in the men’s 3K and 5K. Arkansas’ Kristen Gillespie (22 points) won the trophy on the women’s side.

“There haven’t been a lot of people to double in the distance races and win,” UK head coach Don Weber said. “There have been some, and they’ve been superstars. It’s very gratifying. He’s always been a great kid, a good athlete and you like to see good things happen for good people. This has been a really good year for him. Doing what he did today, I’m really happy for him.”

Orta was sitting in third place with five laps remaining before breaking away from the pack along with Arkansas’ Lane Boyer in a two-man group with three laps to go. Just before the bell rang to signify the final lap of the race, Orta took the lead from Boyer and ran hard in the race’s final lap to win by 4.42 seconds. With the win, Orta becomes Kentucky’s first 5,000m SEC champion since Richard Ede won the race in 1987.

“(It was) adrenaline and I was just feeling super good,” Orta said of his final lap in the race that stretches over three miles in length. “I was waiting 16 laps to do that. I waited 16 laps, and (on the) last lap I had to do it and I went. It went out super good and I felt super strong so I’m happy with it.”

By racing against a familiar opponent in Boyer, whom he passed late in the men’s 3K Saturday night, Orta believed he possessed a psychological advantage before the race even started.

“I know how hard it is because it’s happened to me before when you have a guy who beat you the last day and then you have to compete against him again,” Orta said. “It’s tough, it’s hard. I know that was on his mind the entire time so I just stuck to the plan.”

Other point winners for the Wildcats on Sunday included Kentucky’s men’s and women’s distance medley relay teams. The men’s squad of Matthew Hillenbrand, Sean Keane, Trent Halasek and Adam Kahleifeh finished fourth with a time of 9:58.86, earning the Cats five points. Meanwhile, the women’s quartet of Cally Macumber, Angelica Whaley, Allison Peare and Megan Wright earned the Wildcats two points with a seventh-place finish after a time of 11:38.60.

The men’s and women’s 800m runners had solid days, as freshman Keffri Neal finished sixth with a time of 1:51.82 to earn three points, while sophomore Robert Scharold ran a career-best 1:51.95 to finish seventh and earn two points. For the women’s team, Allison Peare clocked in with a personal record by running a time of 2:10.47. Peare, who entered the race with the 10th fastest 800m in UK history, strengthened her hold on the spot while also earning a point for the Cats.

The men’s team got their remaining six points from Trent Halasek, Brandon Bagley, Darryl Bradshaw and Bradley Szypka. Halasek finished seventh in the mile, while Bagley finished seventh in the 60m hurdles, followed by Bradshaw, who came in eighth. Szypka, a freshman, finished eighth in the shot put with a career-best throw of 16.35m/53-07.75 to earn UK one point.

Senior Terri-Ann Grant got the women’s side two points in the high jump with a mark of 1.79m/5-10.50.

“Some people did well today and Luis had another great day and I’m really happy for him,” Weber said. “Some of our young people got their nose in the competition a little bit and hopefully that gave them a little bit of confidence and a little bit of faith down the road. What I’m going to tell them is: I heard (boxer) Mike Tyson say one time that everybody would develop a plan to beat him, until he punches them in the face one time. Then they’d stray away from the plan. Some of our people got punched in the face today and it’s going to be important for them to go back to the plan and not stray away. We need to be better, but it was a little bit of a start toward that at the end today.”

Kentucky will now turn its collective attention to South Bend, Ind., and Ames Iowa on March 2-3, where the team will split in two and have one last chance at qualifying for the NCAA Championships. The championships meet will take place one week later from March 9-10 in Nampa, Idaho.

Fans that were unable to watch the 2012 SEC Indoor Track and Field Championships will be to see it again on ESPNU, as the championships will air as part of a 90-minute show Sunday, March 11 from 5-6:30 p.m. ET.

For all news and information on the Kentucky track and field teams, follow the Wildcats on Twitter at “KentuckyTrack” and go to UKathletics.com.

SEC Indoor Track & Field Championships
Nutter Field House – Lexington, Ky.
Feb. 24-26, 2012

Women’s Final Team Standings (Day Three) – 17 Events Scored
1. Florida – 132 points
2. LSU – 109 points
3. Arkansas – 99 points
4. Tennessee – 68 points
5. Georgia – 52 points
6. Auburn – 49 points
7. Mississippi State – 35 points
8. Ole Miss – 34 points
9. Alabama – 32 points
10. South Carolina – 31 points
11. Vanderbilt – 15 points
12. Kentucky – 7 points

Men’s Final Team Standings (Day Three) – 17 Events Scored
1. Arkansas – 151 points
2. Florida – 137 points
3. Georgia – 85.5 points
4. LSU – 68.5 points
5. Auburn – 56 points
6. Ole Miss – 53.5 points
7. Tennessee – 40.5 points
8. Kentucky – 38 points
9. South Carolina – 18 points
10. Alabama – 14 points

Kentucky’s Women’s Point Scorers
Terri-Ann Grant – 2 points (7th – high jump)
Jennifer Svoboda – 2 points (7th – shot put)
(Macumber, Whaley, Peare, Wright) – 2 points (7th – distance medley relay)
Allison Peare – 1 point (8th – 800-meter run)

Kentucky Men’s Point Scorers
Luis Orta – 20 points (1st – 3,000-meter run; 1st – 5,000-meter run)
(Hillenbrand, Keane, Halasek, Kahleifeh) – 5 points (4th – distance medley relay)
Keffri Neal – 3 points (6th – 800-meter run)
Brandon Bagley – 2 points (7th – 60-meter hurdles)
Andrew Evans – 2 points (7th – weight throw)
Trent Halasek – 2 points (7th – one-mile run)
Robert Scharold – 2 points (7th – 800-meter run)
Darryl Bradshaw – 1 points (8th – 60-meter hurdles)
Bradley Szypka – 1 point (8th – shot put)

Sunday’s Results
Women’s High Jump (Finals)
7. Terri-Ann Grant – 1.79m/5-10.50
15. Joanne Imbert – 1.68m/5-06.00

Women’s Triple Jump (Finals)
21. Brittany Britt – 11.05m/36-03.00

Men’s Triple Jump (Finals)
11. Terence Boyd – 14.64m/48-00.50

Men’s Shot Put
8. Bradley Szypka – 16.35m/53-07.75
11. Isiah Kent – 14.86m/48-09.00

Men’s 60-Meter Hurdles
7. Brandon Bagley – 8.30
8. Darryl Bradshaw – 8.37

Men’s One-Mile Run
7. Trent Halasek – 4:15.09

Women’s 5,000-Meter Run
13. Chelsea Oswald – 17:12.34
17. Taylor Wendler – 17:40.22

Women’s 800-Meter Run
8. Allison Peare – 2:10.47

Men’s 800-Meter Run
6. Keffri Neal – 1:51.82
7. Robert Scharold – 1:51.95

Men’s 5,000-Meter Run
1. Luis Orta – 14:09.34
16. Stacey Eden – 15:31.31
--. Walter Luttrell – DQ (pass on inside of track)

Women’s Distance Medley Relay
7. Kentucky – 11:38.60
    Cally Macumber, Angelica Whaley, Allison Peare, Megan Wright

Men’s Distance Medley Relay
4. Kentucky – 9:58.86
    Matthew Hillenbrand, Sean Keane, Trent Halasek, Adam Kahleifeh

Saturday’s Results
Men’s Weight Throw (Finals)
7. Andrew Evans – 17.70m/58-01.
Men’s High Jump (Finals)
-- Todd Nibbs – NH
-- Ryan Ratliff – NH

Women’s Pole Vault (Finals)
9. Shelby Kennard – 3.80m/12-05.50
-- Samantha Stenzel – NH
-- Michelle Canterna – DNS

Women’s Long Jump (Finals)
9. Keilah Tyson – 5.92m/19-05.25
21. Kayla Parker – 5.62m/18-05.25
23. Candice Taylor – 5.43m/17-09.75

Women’s 60-Meter Hurdles (Prelims)
11. Kayla Parker – 8.46

Men’s 60-Meter Hurdles (Prelims)
6. Brandon Bagley – 8.12Q
8. Darryl Bradshaw – 8.28q

Women’s Shot Put (Finals)
7. Jennifer Svoboda – 14.87m/48-09.50

Women’s 60-Meter Dash (Prelims)
19. Tamyah Pipkin – 7.69

Women’s One-Mile Run (Prelims)
24. Megan Wright – 5:00.97

Men’s One-Mile Run (Prelims)
6. Trent Halasek – 4:13.87Q
18. Matthew Hillenbrand – 4:19.62
19. Adam Kahleifeh – 4:20.46

Women’s 400-Meter Dash (Prelims)
16. Angelica Whaley – 55.23
19. Julie Nunn – 55.47
20. Shiara Robinson – 55.62

Men’s 400-Meter Dash (Prelims)
30. Ben Mason – 50.65
32. Brandon Bagley – 51.63

Men’s Long Jump (Finals)
9. Terence Boyd – 7.27m/23-10.25

Women’s 800-Meter Run (Prelims)
8. Allison Peare – 2:08.66q

Men’s 800-Meter Run (Prelims)
5. Keffri Neal – 1:51.51Q
8. Robert Scharold – 1:52.48q
16. Sean Keane – 1:53.79

Men’s Heptathlon
DNF. Daniel Buckles
    60-Meter Hurdles
    10. Buckles – NT
    Pole Vault
    DNF. Buckles – DNS
    1,000-Meter Run
    DNF. Buckles – DNS

Women’s 200-Meter Dash (Prelims)
9. Keilah Tyson – 24.00q
19. Tamyah Pipkin – 24.92

Men’s 200-Meter Dash (Prelims)
23. Ben Mason – 22.05

Women’s 3,000-Meter Run (Finals)
11. Cally Macumber – 9:38.12

Men’s 3,000-Meter Run (Prelims)
1. Luis Orta – 8:11.30
16. Walter Luttrell – 8:31.12
18. Jared Phillips – 8:42.39

Friday’s Results
Men’s Heptathlon
10. Daniel Buckles – 2,517 points
    60m Dash
    10. Buckles – 7.60 (681 points)
    Long Jump
    10. Buckles – 6.25m/20-06.25 (641 points)
    Shot Put
    10. Buckles – 10.65m/34-11.25 (525 points)
    High Jump
    10. Buckles – 1.85m/6-00.75 (670 points)