Wildcats Travel to 2004 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships

Eight University of Kentucky track and field athletes have traveled south to Austin, Texas, to compete in the 2004 NCAA Outdoor Championships, which begin Wednesday. The athletes will compete in seven different events over the next four days after earning spots the NCAA Mideast Regional in Baton Rouge, La., last month.

Jeff Chakouian will look to compete for his first NCAA shot put title after finishing first in the regional with a school-record throw of 66-03.00. That throw ranks him third in the country in the event behind Nebraska?s Carl Myerscough and Ohio State?s Dan Taylor. Chakouian begins competition Thursday with the qualifying round at 8:30 p.m. CT.

For the women, Ildiko Varga will compete in the women?s discus qualifying round on Wednesday at 4 p.m. CT. Varga took second place in regional action with a school-record and personal-best toss of 182-01.00. She ranks eighth in the country in the event to lead UK.

Kentucky earned two spots in the 800 meters for the men and women. Jean Balan joins Kris Landers, ranked 11th in the country, in the preliminary event Wednesday afternoon. On the women?s side, Brooke Patterson, ranked fifth in the nation, and Beth Heimman, eighth in the country, will compete in the 800 meters for UK. Patterson topped her own personal best in Baton Rouge with a time of 2:04.13 in the preliminary round.

Rounding out UK?s competitors in the NCAA meet are Hunter Spencer in the 1,500 meters and Thomas Morgan in the 5,000 meters. Morgan finished fifth at last week?s regional and currently ranks seventh in the event. Spencer also ranks seventh in his event with a time of 3:41.36. Morgan will first compete in the preliminary round on Wednesday at 10:05 p.m. CT, while Spencer?s event gets underway on Thursday at 8:15 p.m. CT.

Complete results from the NCAA Championships will be available at www.texassports.com.