Hayes Marches On, Qualifies for 60m Hurdles Finals

March 11, 2011

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LEXINGTON, Ky. – In his first trip to the NCAA Indoor Championships, junior Keith Hayes finished fifth in the preliminary round of the 60-meter hurdles with a career-best tying time of 7.75 to advance into the finals, Friday at the Gilliam Indoor Track Stadium in College Station, Texas.   

Hayes was tied for 11th in the nation coming into the championships, with eight student-athletes tied at 7.75 making it into the field. Hayes has now run 7.75 in three consecutive races dating back to the preliminary round of the Virginia Tech Final Qualifier. The finals of the 60m hurdles will tentatively begin at 6:30 ET and will be available live on ESPN3.com.

"Keith didnt have the greatest start and he found a way into the final," assistant coach of men's sprints Erin Tucker said. "He didnt come here just to make a final, like I said before he has a lot left in the tank. Tomorrow, it will be time to let it all go."

Hayes was the last Wildcat to qualify for the NCAA Championships, needing to travel to the VT Final Qualifier on the last weekend of competition for the opportunity to improve his time. The junior ran consecutive 7.75 in Blacksburg, Va., which proved to be the exact time needed to get him to College Station, Texas. The Kansas transfer, with a time of 7.75, ranks second on UK’s all-time 60m hurdles list behind Mikel Thomas who ran a 7.74 in 2009.

Senior Sharif Webb was the third Wildcat to compete on Friday and like Nwokey didn’t approach his season-best mark. Webb, however did finish with the sixth fastest time overall in the 800m run at 1:48.87 but with the way the prelims and finals are structured did not qualify. There are two heats in the preliminary round with the top three from each heat automatically moving onto the finals, in addition to those six the next two fastest times also advance. Webb finished sixth in heat one, which ended up being faster than the first-place finisher in heat two. Subsequently, Webb was left out of the finals due to the rules.

Webb ran a season-best time of 1:47.91 at the Husky Classic in Seattle. The senior had a disappointing result at the SEC Championships, falling in the finals, after holding the top time following the preliminary round.

Junior Precious Nwokey, who was coming off an SEC Championship in the pentathlon with a school-record score of 4,185, had a hard time performing like she did to earn the SEC crown. Nwokey finished 11th overall with a total of 3, 992, barely surpassing her total of 3,985 set at the 2010 NCAA Indoor Championships. The junior ranked fourth nationally heading into Friday’s event with her mark from SEC's.

ESPN3.com will stream live portions of the event with NCAA.com and aggieathletics.com streaming the remainder of events. The schedule is as follows:

Saturday, March 11 at Noon-4:55 p.m. (NCAA.com/aggieathletics.com)/5 p.m.-7:50 p.m. (ESPN3)
 
The 2011 NCAA Division I Indoor Track and Field Championships will air on a tape-delay on Wednesday, March 16 from 2:30 – 4 p.m. ET on ESPN2.

For continuous updates follow the UK track and field team on twitter @KentuckyTrack, and at Ukathletics.com.