By Jacob Most
March 2, 2013 -
BLACKSBURG, Va. and SOUTH BEND, Ind. and AMES, Iowa - For the second straight day with a spot at the NCAA Indoor Championships on the line a Kentucky track and field program record fell.
Last night it was the women's distance medley relay team at Notre Dame's Loftus Sports Center, today Keith Hayes ran the fastest 60-meter hurdles time in school history while competing at Virginia Tech's Rector Field House.
After starting the day with a time just .01 seconds off his personal-best performance in the preliminary heat, Hayes crossed the finish line in 7.73 during the semifinal heat.
Hayes then won the Virginia Tech Final Qualifier Meet 60H final with a time of 7.79.
The previous school 60H record of 7.74 was held by two-time Olympian Mikel Thomas, set in 2009.
"Our student-athletes are growing in confidence, and they have started to realize their potential," head coach Edrick Floreal said. "I couldn't be happier with how far we have come."
Hayes' top time would rank in a tie for No. 9 nationally this season, inside the top 16 threshold necessary for a NCAA Championships berth as of Saturday morning without all of the day's results available.
Saturday was the final day of competition for athletes to post times/marks, which would qualify them for NCAAs March 8-9 in Fayetteville, Ark.
Over at Notre Dame Matt Hillenbrand, who ran a personal best time last weekend en route to the SEC mile championship, lowered his all-time best yet again with a time of 4:00.23 to take fifth.
Keffri Neal ran a PR 800-meter time of 1:49.69, and Morganne Phillips also posted a personal best 400-meter time of 54.37.
In all, every competitor from Kentucky at the Alex Wilson Invitational in South Bend, Ind., this weekend posted a PR or school-record time.
Brad Szypka likely wrapped up his breakout indoor season at the Iowa State Qualifier Meet as he was unable to better his PR shot put of 18.83m/61'9.5", which ranked one inch short of a presumed NCAA berth before the Saturday meets.
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Virginia Tech Final Qualifier
Men's 60-meter Hurdles
1. Keith Hayes
Notre Dame Alex Wilson Invitational
Women's 400 meters
10. Morganne Phillips: 54.37*
Men's 800 meters
14. Keffri Neal: 1:49.70*
5. Matt Hillenbrand: 4:00.23*
Iowa State Qualifier
Men's Shot Put
5. Brad Szypka: 18.05m/59-02.75
*Denotes personal best
**Denotes school record