Cats Send Three to NCAA Indoor Championships

March 10, 2011

LEXINGTON, Ky. – The University of Kentucky track and field team will send three student-athletes, junior Keith Hayes, junior Precious Nwokey and senior Sharif Webb, to the 2011 NCAA Indoor Championships on Friday and Saturday at the Gilliam Indoor Track Stadium in College Station, Texas.

Nwokey, who is coming off an SEC Championship in the pentathlon, ranks fourth nationally heading into the NCAA Championships. The junior accumulated 4,185 points at SEC’s including career-bests in the long jump and high jump. With her performance, Nwokey furthered her own school record of 4,024, which was set at the Rod McCravy Memorial Meet on Feb. 27. Nwokey finished ninth and earned All-America honors at the 2010 NCAA Indoor Championships with a score of 3,985.

“Precious has an incredible opportunity to put an exclamation mark on a great indoor season,” assistant coach of multi events James Thomas said. “Hopefully these indoor championships will be another opportunity to achieve her goals and perform at the level she is capable of.”

Webb was the first Wildcat to punch his ticket to College Station, Texas, with an NCAA automatic qualifying mark of 1:47.91 at the Husky Classic in Seattle. The senior, however had a disappointing result at the SEC Championships, falling in the finals, after holding the top time following the preliminary round. Webb, like Nwokey, finished ninth in 2010 at the NCAA Indoor Championships, missing out of scoring contention by .05 seconds with a time of 1:49.73.

“We are very excited to see what Sharif can do this week,” head coach Don Weber said. “We have worked really hard and put what happened at SEC’s behind us. We’re focused and ready to compete at NCAA’s.”

The third UK track and field athlete to make the trip will be Hayes, who captured his spot in the field on the final weekend of regular competition at the Virginia Tech Final Qualifier. The junior took first place with a career-best time of 7.75 and followed that with an identical run of 7.75 in the finals. Going into Blacksburg, Va., Hayes 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. Hayes will be making his debut at the NCAA Indoor Championships.

“Keith still has some juice in the tank,” assistant coach of men’s sprints Erin Tucker said. “We are equally excited about the opportunity he in front of him. The goal has never been to simply get to the NCAA meet. The goal is to do something once he arrives.”

ESPN3.com will stream live portions of the event with NCAA.com and aggieathletics.com streaming the remainder of events. The schedule is as follows:
 
Friday, March 10 at 10 a.m.-3:55 p.m. (NCAA.com/aggieathletics.com)/ 3:55 p.m.-8:40 p.m. (ESPN3)
Saturday, March 11 at Noon-4:55 p.m. (NCAA.com/aggieathletics.com)/5 p.m.-7:50 p.m. (ESPN3)
 
The 2011 NCAA Division I Indoor Track and Field Championships will air on a tape-delay on Wednesday, March 16 from 2:30 – 4 p.m. ET on ESPN2.

For continuous updates follow the UK track and field team on twitter @KentuckyTrack, and at Ukathletics.com.