UK Track & Field Begins 2014-15 Season With Four Wins at IU
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – Multiple members of the Kentucky track and field teams began the 2014-15 season in strong fashion, with four Wildcats winning their respective events, on Friday at the Hoosier Open inside Gladstein Fieldhouse.
Sha'Keela Saunders, who emerged as one of the best young horizontal jumpers in the nation late last outdoor season, picked up indoors right where she left off outdoors with a 5.5-inch indoor personal record to win the long jump.
Saunders’ mark of 20-feet, 10 inches was her first indoor jump better than 20 feet, although the milestone mark became commonplace for her late last season as she won the NCAA Silver Medal outdoors in 2014.
Leah Nugent won the Hoosier Open 60m hurdles with a time of 8.29, which was .09 off her PR set at the 2014 SEC Indoor Championships.
Two of UK’s most decorated returners led the way in a 300m race that was perhaps as competitive with talent from multiple schools as any December meet around the country can boast.
Dezerea Bryant, the defending NCAA 200m Champion, showed her class over the extra 100m with a winning time of 36.70. She was closely followed by Kendra Harrison, herself a multiple-times All-American and three-time SEC Champion in hurdles events.
Bryant's time was the fourth fastest indoor 300m time ever by a collegian. She also broke the facility record, as well as the meet record, set in 2012 by teammate Morganne Phillips.
The Wildcats had the Nos. 4 and 5 finishers in the 300m too, as Jasmine Mitchell and Morganne Phillips ran respective times of 38.46 and 38.60.
Transfer Javianne Oliver turned in a strong UK debut. She won the 60m dash with a time of 7.44.
Rebecca Famurewa had the top collegiate mark, and placed second overall in the weight throw with a PR 67’4’/20.52m.
Zack Beavin ran a strong personal best in a second-place finish in the 5k. His time of 14:33.40 was 7 seconds better than previous PR
Kentucky was joined in Bloomington by 19 other programs including Southeastern Conference foe Tennessee. The rest of the field will be filled by host Indiana, Indiana State, Purdue, Butler, DePaul, Cincinnati and Eastern Kentucky. Representatives from New Mexico, Northern Arizona, Texas, Louisville, and Southern Utah also participated.
The indoor track season will begin in earnest for the Wildcats come the New Year, when the Big Blue Nation will have multiple opportunities to witness the very best of collegiate track and field converge upon Nutter Field House.
The Wildcats will host what has become one of the best regular-season fields of any meet in the nation for the Rod McCravy Memorial Jan. 23-24. Defending Men’s and Women’s National Indoor Champions Oregon, in addition to defending Women’s SEC Indoor Champions Florida, defending Men’s SEC Indoor Champions Arkansas and national powers Florida State, LSU, Texas, Baylor, USC and Georgia amongst other elite squads are slated to compete at the McCravy meet.
The Wildcats will host the nation’s top conference meet, the SEC Championships Feb. 27-28. UK’s first meet of 2015 will be the Kentucky Invitational, Jan. 16-17 in Lexington as some of the region’s top teams will look to shake off any rust accumulated over the holiday break.