Wildcats Set for Rod McCravy Memorial Meet

Jan. 27, 2012

LEXINGTON, Ky. – Coming off a successful opening meet of the season at the Kentucky Invitational, the University of Kentucky men’s and women’s track and field teams will now turn their attention to the Rod McCravy Memorial meet, taking place Friday and Saturday at the Nutter Field House. It is Kentucky’s second straight home meet to being the season.

“The Rod McCravy meet is a bigger meet and a better meet,” UK head coach Don Weber said. “Now that we’ve had one meet under our belt and two weeks of training, I would anticipate we will be better both physically and mentally. I’m looking forward to that happening.”

The Wildcats finished in the top three of six events on the second day of the Kentucky Invitational on Jan. 14, and are looking to build off that success at the Rod McCravy Memorial. The annual meet brings some of the best teams in the country to the Nutter Field House where they will compete Friday and Saturday in hopes of earning an NCAA qualifying time or mark.

In addition to Kentucky, 16 other schools will be competing at the event. Cincinnati, Chattanooga, Eastern Kentucky, Georgia Tech, Memphis, Middle Tennessee, Mississippi, South Carolina, Southern Illinois and Western Kentucky will have each of their men’s and women’s teams competing at the Nutter Field House. Miami (Ohio), Murray State, Ohio State, UCF and Vanderbilt will be sending their women’s teams, and Bellarmine will have selected athletes competing.

Friday’s competition will feature the men’s and women’s weight throw, the women’s pole vault, men’s high jump and men’s and women’s long jump. All of Friday’s events will begin at 6 p.m. ET. Saturday’s events will begin at 10:30 a.m. with the women’s high jump and women’s triple jump. Saturday will at 5:05 p.m. with the men’s 4x400-meter relay.

Weber said he was very encouraged by the performances of the Wildcats two weeks ago, especially with it being the first meet of the season.

“What was as encouraging as the performances themselves, was they had just come back from spending two and a half weeks at home,” Weber said. “That showed me they had done a lot of training on their own over the holiday break. That’s a big part of being successful is having a willingness to invest.

“Even though it’s a similar level of competition for some of our best freshmen in what they ran against in some of their national high school meets, there’s that thought it’s a college meet so the ante has been upped quite a bit. They just need to become a little more daring and a little more sure of themselves. They need to be more willing to take risks against some of the student-athletes who they perceive to be better competitors.”

The Wildcats got strong performances from its men's one-milers, as junior Luis Orta and sophomore Adam Kahleifeh finished second and fourth, respectively in the distance event. Orta ran a personal-best in the race, crossing the finish line in 4:09.59, beating his previous best of 4:10.49 set last year at the Rod McCravy Memorial.

“We’re in good shape, especially coming off the holidays where they are on their own in places all across the country,” Weber said. “We’ll still improve between now and the conference meet physically, but we’re at a point where we can build from that. We’re not having to play catch up.”

The Wildcats will host one more meet at the Nutter Field House following the Rod McCravy Memorial, as Kentucky will play host to the Southeastern Conference Indoor Track and Field Championships from Feb. 24-26. It is the sixth time in program history that Kentucky has hosted the meet, and the first time since 2009.

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