Hayes Closes in on NCAA Qualifying Mark

March 5, 2011

LEXINGTON, Ky. – University of Kentucky track and field student-athlete Keith Hayes all but assured himself of an NCAA automatic qualifying mark with a win and personal-best time of 7.75 in the 60-meter hurdles at the Virginia Tech Final Qualifier on Saturday.

Hayes, a junior transfer from Kansas, needed to improve his previous career-best mark of 7.78, set at the Southeastern Conference Indoor Championships, for a shot at qualifying for the NCAA Indoor Championships in College Station, Texas, March 11-12. Going into Saturday, 18 athletes had a 60m hurdles time of 7.75 or better, which puts Hayes on the correct side of the bubble.

“Keith finally felt what I’ve been talking about in between the hurdles all year,” assistant coach for men’s sprints and hurdles Erin Tucker said. “I am glad he put it together and now we wait to see if he gets in. I am confident he will and I am even more confident he will runner faster.”

The junior started the day off with his first of two 7.75 marks in the preliminary round, capturing the lead heading into the finals. The final was concluded in similar fashion with an identical time and finish. With several athletes tied at 7.75 it could come down to their second-fastest time which for Hayes is the same at 7.75.

The Wildcats had five other student-athletes in pursuit of furthering their indoor season with two of them extending their personal- or season- best marks. Throwers Mary Angell and Heather Smith excelled in what was more than likely their last indoor meet of their careers. Angell claimed a second-place finish in the shot put with a career-best mark of 52-01.75/15.89m. The senior’s new personal-best throw stands fifth on UK’s all-time indoor shot put list. Angell set her previous-best distance of 51-05.25 at the SEC Indoor Championships on Feb. 27. Smith completed a season-best throw of 62-09.25/19.13m to finish sixth in the event. The senior also set her previous season-best mark at the SEC Championships with a throw of 60-02.50/18.91m.

With the possibility of Hayes qualifying for NCAA’s, it would bring UK’s total of qualified athletes to three in addition to Precious Nwokey in the pentathlon and senior Sharif Webb in the 800m run.

Virginia Tech Final Qualifier

Men’s 60m Hurdles (Auto: 7.70)
1. Keith Hayes – 7.75

Women’s Shot Put (Auto: 16.90m)
2. Mary Angell – 52-01.75/15.89m

Women’s Weight Throw (Auto: 21.00m)
6. Heather Smith – 62-09.25/19.13m

Alex Wilson Invitational

Women’s 5,000m Run (Auto: 16:07.50)
8. Cally Macumber - 16:33.96

Men’s One-Mile Run (Auto: 3:59.00)
11. Josh Nadzam – 4:07.10

Men’s 800m Run (Auto: 1:48.00)
28. Adam Kahleifeh – 1:53.75