UK Splits Squad on the Road for Chance to Qualify for NCAAs

March 5, 2009

LEXINGTON, Ky. - University of Kentucky track and field athletes will travel different paths this weekend to achieve the same goals - attain or improve an NCAA qualifying mark. UK jumpers and multi-event athletes will take part in the Alex Wilson Invitational at Notre Dame in South Bend, Ind., this Friday and Saturday. Meanwhile, Wildcat runners head north to Ames, Iowa, to compete in the Iowa State Qualifier while the throws squad travels east to Blacksburg, Va. to take part in the Virginia Tech Qualifier, both on Saturday.

This weekend grants Wildcats an opportunity to gain entry into the NCCA Championships with either automatic or provisional qualifying marks. Automatic bids guarantee entry into the event final. Provisional marks allow athletes an opportunity to be chosen by the selection committee for competition. Without one of these marks athletes cannot compete at the national championships.

The Cats are guaranteed one participant at the NCAA Championships in College Station, Texas, next weekend. Junior Rondel Sorrillo earned an automatic bid last weekend in the men's 60 meter dash at the SEC Indoors Championships.

Last season the Cats had two NCAA automatic qualifiers while eight other athletes gained entry via provisional marks. Several UK athletes are on "the bubble" with strong provisional marks; this weekend is a chance to improve those marks.

Top performances on the men's side include Sorrillo's time of 6.60 in the 60m dash that ties him for fifth in the nation. The 4x400m relay team of freshman Justin Austin, senior Brandon Austin, Sorrillo and junior Jose Acevedo rank fourth nationally with their time of 3:06.78 recorded at the SEC Championships last weekend. Senior Mikel Thomas stands sixth in the country with a time of 7.74 in the 60m hurdles.

In the shot put, senior Chase Madison ranks 11th with a mark of 61-7.75 while classmate Rashaud Scott is 17th nationally with a distance of 59-10.25. Scott is also ranked in the weight throw for his measurement of 67-0.75, good for 16th nationwide.More ranked performances include Acevedo and Justin Austin in the 200m dash. Austin's time of 20.99 put him in a tie for 15th nationally while Acevedo ranks in a tie for 21st, clocking in at 21.11. Acevedo also stands 21st in the 400m dash at a clip of 46.85. Austin ranks 24th in the 60m dash at 6.71 while senior Gordon McKenzie is tied for 18th at 6.68.

On the women's side, senior SEC Champion Ashley Trimble stands 16th nationally in the pentathlon with 3,991 points. In the weight throw, junior Heather Smith is 21st in the nation with a distance of 62-10.75 while classmate Kristin Smith ranks in a tie for 28th nationally at 61-11.50.

Three Cats rank nationally in the shot put. Sophomore Jennifer Svoboda leads the way in 28th with a heave of 50-11. Senior Emilee Strot stands 35th with a distance of 50-3.25 and sophomore Mary Angell's throw of 50-0.75 is 38th in the nation.

Rounding out UK's ranked performances is senior Jessica Ortman. Her time of 2:08.32 in the 800m run ranks 37th in the country.

Live stats for the Iowa State meet are available on the UK track schedule page. A link for the Notre Dame and Virginia Tech meets will be posted if it becomes available.

A complete recap of Kentucky's results will be available on UKathletics.com.