UK Track and Field Returns to Action at VT Elite Meet
By Jacob Most
Feb. 5, 2015 -
BLACKSBURG, Va. – Two weeks removed from hosting the Rod McCravy Memorial Meet, which was widely regarded as a preview of the NCAA Championships because just about all of the National-Championship contenders partook, the Kentucky track and field teams will return to competition this weekend at the Virginia Tech Elite Meet.
Three weekends of regular-season action remain before the Wildcats again host some of the nation’s top teams for the Southeastern Conference Championships Feb. 27-28 inside Nutter Field House.
The majority of the UK track and field Wildcats realistically only have two weekends remaining to fine tune their techniques ahead of the SEC Championships, as most athletes will take the weekend before the SEC Championships off.
Live results of the VT Elite Meet will be available via FlashResults.com.
The meet will also serve as an important team-building exercise for the Wildcats as the first true road trip for UK in 2015. Kentucky previous two meets of the year were at home.
Next weekend, the teams will fragment as top sprinters and field eventers will compete at the Tyson Invitational, top distance runners will head to the Ames, Iowa, and Iowa State’s oversized track and a select group of Wildcats will go to Indiana for the Hoosier Hill Invitational, so this weekend will be one of the only times the entire group of Wildcats is on the road together at the same venue.
The UK women’s team is ranked sixth in the country for the third straight week. The Wildcats are led by a pair of returning All-Americans: Dezerea Bryant and Sha’Keela Saunders, who on Thursday were listed as “receiving votes” on the latest Bowerman Award Watch List.
Saunders owns the nation’s top long jump and No. 6 triple jump having vanquished full-fledged Bowerman Watch List members Jenna Prandini and Jasmine Todd in the long jump two weeks ago at the McCravy. Saunders’ long jump mark of 21' 5.25"/6.53 meters was a school record.
Saunders is scheduled to compete in the triple jump as well as in sprint-events at Virginia Tech.
Bryant, who hasn’t competed since early-January, ranks No. 2 in the NCAA in both the 60m and 200m with respective times of 7.18 and 23.12. Bryant is the defending NCAA 200m Champion and 60m Silver Medalist. She won the SEC 60m Gold Medal last year, and was 200m Silver-Medalist.
The UK men’s team is led by middle-distance runner Keffri Neal, who vanquished a stacked 800m field at the McCravy. The defending SEC 800m Champion’s time at the McCravy of 1:48.52 was an indoor personal-best, but he has shown the ability to run closer to 1:46, and he will be looking to show a similar statement of intent in the coming weeks ahead of the postseason.
Nick Anderson emerged as a young hurdling talent as a freshman late last season, and he has continued to progress early in 2015, as the reigning United States Junior 110m Hurdles Champion ran a PR 60m hurdles time of 7.88 at the McCravy.
Other Wildcats to watch this weekend include Rebecca Famurewa, who has broken the UK weight-throw record in each of her last two competitions, freshman Timothy Duckworth who ranks No. 10 on the NCAA performance list in the heptathlon and is scheduled to compete in multiple individual events at Virginia Tech, and triple-SEC Champion Kendra Harrison, who could make her season debut in the 60m hurdles.