Richardson and Ball Keep It Rolling for Track and Field

COLUMBUS, Ohio ? Sophomore John Richardson ran the fastest 800 meters of his career and junior Gavin Ball posted a season-best in the shot put as both Wildcats earned regional qualifying marks at the Jesse Owens Classic at Ohio State University Saturday.

Richardson placed first and was the only runner in the 19-athlete field to go below the regional standard in the 800 with a personal-best time of 1:49.52. The Ocean City, N.J. native now owns regional marks in the 800 and 1,500 (3:45.34) ? both top times for UK this season. Richardson also ran Kentucky?s fastest 800 (1:50.31) and mile (4:04.74, sixth all-time UK) during the indoor season. Fellow sophomore Stephan Smith fell shy of his attempt to qualify regionally with a fifth place time of 1:52.52 (1:51.17, season-best). Freshman Ryan Finn improved his personal-best to 1:53.49, while fellow first-year runner Scott Geisinger lowered his PR by over three seconds with a time of 1:55.08.

Junior Gavin Ball notched the top collegiate mark of the day in the shot put with a regional qualifying throw of 57-5.50 (tenth all-time UK). Ball joins teammate junior Andy Fryman (63-4.25, fourth all-time UK) as Kentucky qualifiers in the event. Former UK great Jeff Chakouian posted the top throw of the day with a heave of 65-10.25.

Senior Michelle Gales improved her PR in the long jump with a leap of 19-6.50. The jump was the sixth farthest in UK history and just shy of a regional mark (19-7). Freshman Mary Durham also improved her personal-best with a jump of 11-1 (re-broke UK outdoor frosh record) in the pole vault.

Current Kentucky throws coach and former Pac-10 champion Doug Reynolds got back into the ring and posted a second place toss of 183-7 in the discus. Reynolds, competing unattached today, ranked as high as 11th in the world in the discus in 1999.

Friday evening, senior Nicole Allyn improved her personal-best in the hammer throw with a toss of 184-3 (third all-time UK). Allyn owns one of UK?s six regional marks for throwing events. Freshman Ashley Muffet has marks in the shot put, discus and hammer, and senior Ildiko Varga has gone beyond the standard in the discus and hammer.

For the season, both teams combined have an impressive 24 regional qualifying marks. The men?s team owns 15, while the women have nine.

Next weekend, the Cats travel to Fayetteville, Ark. for the Southeastern Conference Championships, May 11-14.