Cats Hit the Road for Chance to Qualify for NCAAs

LEXINGTON, Ky. ? University of Kentucky track and field athletes will travel different paths this weekend to achieve the same goal ? an NCAA qualifying mark. Kentucky 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 Virginia Tech?s Last Chance Meet on Saturday.

This weekend grants the Wildcats an opportunity to gain entry into the NCAA 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 two participants at the NCAA Championships in Fayetteville, Ark., in two weeks. Sophomore Jenna Martin earned an automatic bid last weekend in the women?s 400 meter dash at the SEC Indoors Championships. Earlier this season, senior John Richardson earned an NCAA nod in the men?s mile run.

Last season the Cats also had two NCAA automatic qualifiers: junior Ashley Muffet in the women?s shot put and the men?s 4x400m relay team. Four additional athletes gained entry via provisional marks. Martin qualified in the 400m dash last season while senior Lavera Morris made the cut in the women?s 800 meter run. Departed seniors Georganne Way (800m run) and Luis Luna (400m dash) also qualified in 2007.

Several UK athletes are on ?the bubble? with strong provisional marks; this weekend is a chance to improve those marks.

For the men, junior Jose Acevedo?s time of 21.08 ranks 12th in the nation for the 200 meter dash. Classmate Mikel Thomas recorded a 7.79 mark in the men?s 60m hurdles, 15th-best in the nation. The men?s 4x400m relay has posted the seventh-best time in the country with a 3:07.72. Freshman Derrick Locke?s long jump mark of 25-5.25 is 13th nationwide. In the men?s shot put, junior Rashaud Scott?s throw of 59-11 also ranks 13th.

For the women, Morris is ranked 11th nationally in the 800m clocking in at 2:06.74. The women?s 4x400m relay squad owns the 16th-best time in the nation at 3:38.10. Muffet stands eighth in the country for the women?s shot put with a distance of 55-3.

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

A complete recap of Kentucky?s results will be available on