Kentucky Opens Outdoor Season at Arizona State

March 19, 2009

TEMPE, Ariz. - The University of Kentucky track and field teams open their outdoor track season this weekend at Arizona State's Baldy Castillo Invitational on Joe Selleh Track at Sun Angel Stadium in Tempe, Ariz.

Competition begins Friday at 6 p.m. ET with the men's and women's hammer throw competition. Action resumes Saturday at 10:30 a.m. ET.

Several nationally-recognized programs, including several that scored at the NCAA Indoor Championships last weekend, are among the teams competing in the invitational. Those squads include Arizona State (men t-5th, women 5th), BYU (women 3rd, men t-41st), Kentucky (men 19th), Louisville (women t-22nd), Minnesota (men 12th), Nebraska (men t-5th), North Dakota State (women t-56th) and New Mexico (men t-16th).

Legendary Sun Devil coach, Senon 'Baldy' Castillo, the namesake of this weekend's meet, passed away at his home in Phoenix at the age of 90 in January. Castillo led the Sun Devil track & field program for 29 years through 1982 and guided the men to the 1977 NCAA Outdoor Championship. For all of his success, Castillo was inducted into the USTFCCCA Hall of Fame in 2000.

UK closed out the 2008 outdoor season, at the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships last June at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa.

The Wildcat men secured their best NCAA Outdoor finish by placing ninth nationally, while the 25 points accumulated by the Blue and White marked a program-best total in the 87-year history of the Men's Championships.

The Cats also added a national champion to the mix. Rashaud Scott became the first Kentucky track and field athlete in a dozen years to win an NCAA title when he clinched the men's discus title. The 2009 returning senior became the first Wildcat man to win an NCAA Outdoor field event and just the second UK Outdoor Men's Champion in school history.

A few weeks later Scott added more hardware to his collection with two All-America awards in the discus as well as the shot put. The Wildcat won the discus title with a throw of 199-8 to claim one nod. The next day, Scott placed eighth in the shot put with a throw of 60-0.25 to earn his second honor. The selections were both firsts for the accomplished thrower.

Departed senior Andy Fryman also achieved his first two All-America honors of his career. He joined Scott in the discus selections and gained another accolade in the hammer throw. The Wildcat placed tenth in the discus competition with a throw of 179-5. A few hours later the Maysville, Ky., native threw a personal-best distance of 216-8 in his final hammer throw competition as a collegiate - a distance that ranks second all-time in school history.

With his second-place finish in the high jump, Grant Lindsey earned his first All-America selection. The 2008 freshman cleared a personal-best height in his first-ever collegiate attempt of 7-5 to break the 11-year-old UK varsity record during his first NCAA Championship appearance.

The UK men's 4x400 meter relay team also attained All-America recognition after a third-place finish at the NCAA Championships. The Wildcat squad of departed seniors Nathan Browning and Justin Harrison, returning junior Kwasi Obeng and 2009 senior Jose Acevedo ran 3:02.00 to set a new Kentucky varsity record. It was the second All-America selection for Browning, Harrison and Acevedo after receiving the award during the 2007 Indoor season for their 4x400m relay team that placed second nationally.

UK men's NCAA Championship automatic qualifiers included two Mideast Regional champions in Scott and Lindsey as well as Fryman (discus - 3rd), junior Mikel Thomas (110m hurdles - 2nd) and classmate Jose Acevedo (200m dash - 5th).

After a 12-year absence from the Championships, the 4x100m relay squad of Obeng, Acevedo, along with returning seniors Brandon Austin and Gordon McKenzie qualified by time to compete for the Cats at Nationals.

McKenzie also claimed two at-large nods in the men's 100m dash as well as the 200m sprint. Departed senior John Richardson rounded out the men's selections with a bid in the 1500 meter run.

The UK women placed five participants into the NCAA Championships. Last year, 2008 sophomore Jenna Martin placed sixth in her heat and 13th nationally in the 400 meter dash semifinals with a time of 53.25. Martin finished third in her first round heat crossing the line in 52.84.

In the 800 meter run semifinals, both Wildcat competitors competed in heat one. Returning senior Jessica Ortman finished just 0.02 seconds off of her personal best to place 12th in the nation with a time of 2:06.54. Departed senior Lavera Morris crossed the finish just behind Ortman, clocking in at 2:07.11 to place 13th nationally.

Returning senior Emilee Strot finished 22nd nationally in the discus after a qualifying throw of 155-2 in gusty conditions.

In the women's heptathlon, 2009 sophomore Danielle Sampley finished 21st overall as the second-ranked freshman in the nation totaling 5,266 points in her first Outdoor Championship appearance. In 2008 the UK teams entered 45 new top-10 outdoor times/marks into the all-time school record books, seven new varsity records and seven new freshman standards.

A full recap of the Cats' performances will be available after competition on UKathletics.com.