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Matt Hillenbrand Wins SEC Mile Championship

Matt Hillenbrand

Matt Hillenbrand

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By Jacob Most

Feb. 24, 2013

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Matt Hillenbrand executed a perfect race plan surging into the lead in the final 20 meters of the men’s mile to win the Southeastern Conference Championship in the event on Sunday.

Hillenbrand stayed in contact with the pace-makers for much of the race as the leaders went out in a fairly comfortable pace.

The Louisville, Ky., native waited until the bell lap to take a shot at the lead, but he patiently held off as Arkansas’ Patrick Rono maintained the top position on the back straight-away of the bell lap.

With the defending-champion Rono coasting for home, Hillenbrand surged to the outside taking advantage of a perfectly-planned sneak attach with just 20 meters remaining.

Hillenbrand accelerated across the finish line in a time of 4:01.55 letting out a gasp of excitement with the realization that the conference title was his.

“A few weeks back when we ran at Notre Dame I made a move too soon,” Hillenbrand said. “My coach told me I had to stay right there and make the last move.  I knew when he made a move on the backstretch if I could just wait till the home stretch to make my move I could get it.”

Hillenbrand’s time was a new personal-best, and the seventh-fastest in school history. The junior became the first Kentucky athlete to win the men’s mile since David Freeman took home the title in 2004.

The Kentucky women’s team finished seventh in the team standings with 34 points, and the men finished 10th with 30. Cally Macumber led all Wildcats with 15 points earned throughout the meet. Hillenbrand led the men with 11.25.

Bradley Szypka continued his strong 2013 with a new personal-record shot put of 18.83 meters/61’09.5” to notch a fourth-place finish. The mark was eighth-best in school history indoors.

Chelsea Oswald ran a 25-second PR in her first 5,000 meters race of 2013 in a time of 16:24.42. She led wire-to-wire in what was otherwise the slower heat of a two-flight timed final. Oswald wrapped up the SEC Championships having accumulated nine hard-fought points for her team.

Cally Macumber also scored points for the second day in a row fighting her way to a fourth-place mile finish in 4:43.00. With the result, Macumber added five points to the 10 she took on Saturday winning the 3,000 meters.

Keith Hayes finished fourth in the men’s 60-meter hurdles final with a time of 7.82, and Darryl Bradshaw took seventh in 8:05. The pair combined to add seven points to the Kentucky cause.

Keilah Tyson finished sixth in the women’s 60 meters with a time of 7.46 to pick up three points.

Allison Peare ran a new season-best by two seconds to score four points with a fifth-place time of 2:06.45 in the women’s 800 meters final.

Keffri Neal finished sixth in the 800 meters scoring three points with a time of 1:50.24.

Freshman Rebecca Famurewa scored a point in her first SEC meet as she reached a new PR 18.75 meters/61’21” in the women’s weight throw.

The men’s distance medley relay squad set the pace for much of the race, and the team of Hillenbrand, Ben Mason, Neal and Adam Kahleifeh scored five points with a fourth-place finish. The team’s time of 9:53.17 was a new season-best.

The women’s 4x400-meter relay team of Angelica Whaley, Julie Nunn, Keilah Tyson and Morganne Phillips closed the meet with a seventh-place finish of 3:41.38 to add two points in a season-best time.

Robert Scharold ran a PR mile time of 4:09.99 one day after setting a seven-second PR mile in the prelims.

The Wildcats will continue the postseason portion of the indoor campaign next weekend as multiple Wildcats will go for national top-16 times at NCAA qualifying meets.

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