By Jacob Most
March 16, 2014 -
Photo Gallery | Results
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – The Kentucky women’s track and field team scored its most points ever at a NCAA Indoor Championships, finishing with 23 points for ninth place nationally on Saturday at the Albuquerque Convention Center.
The ninth-place finish earned the Wildcats their highest women’s team placement since 1989 when UK ended the meet eighth with the University’s previous all-time NCAA Indoor high score, 15 points.
The UK women’s team also finished inside the national top-10 for the second time ever, the other being 1989.
Dezerea Bryant finished the NCAA Championships as the team’s high-scorer having earned 18 points in two events. On Saturday she came agonizingly close to pulling off the indoor short sprint double finishing runner-up in the 60-meter dash, a day after winning the NCAA 200m Championship.
Bryant ran the third fastest raw time in NCAA history, 7.12 seconds as she dropped a photo-finish to Alabama’s Remona Burchell who clocked in at 7.11; the second-fastest collegiate raw time ever. The times will be adjusted by .02 seconds because Albuquerque is approximately 4,900-feet above sea-level so Bryant now ranks No. 6 on the NCAA All-Time 60m performers list.
"I am very thankful for how far we have come but we cannot rest until we get to our destination," head coach Edrick Floréal said. "By no means are we satisfied with our team results, but we also appreciate that we continue to head in the right direction. The NCAA Championships are ofted decided by hudreths if-not thousandths of seconds. We have now seen what it takes to do something really unique and special as a team. We will continue to strive toward those goals.
"Dezerea Bryant really did a great job this weekend winning the NCAA 200m Championship and running one of the fastest collegiate times ever in the 60m to score 18 points. She represented UK tremendously, and I look forward to seeing what's to come from Dez and the rest of the Cats."
Kendra Harrison placed fourth in the 60m hurdles. She was just .01 seconds off Arkansas State’s Sharika Nelvis’ winning time of 7.93. Baylor’s Tiffani McReynolds also ran 7.93 but lost on the photo finish, and LSU’s Jasmine Stowers was third with the same time as Harrison, 7.94.
Bradley Szypka made a major step forward in his career as he placed fifth in the shot put to earn the Kentucky men’s team’s only four points of the meet. The Wildcats’ men’s squad finished tied for 45th.
Szypka’s first two throws were well below his potential and he sat in ninth-place on the bubble of making the final going into his third attempt. With the pressure on, Szypka connected for a personal-best mark, 19.51m/64-0.25, which was his best of the meet and earned him his first points at a NCAA Championship.
Matt Hillenbrand placed 10th in the mile with a time of 4:08.01, completing an indoor season in which he won both the SEC mile and 3k titles, and was named Southeast Region Runner of the Year.
Allison Peare finished ninth in the women’s mile, clocking in at 4:47.33 in her first individual event at a NCAA Championship.
The women’s 4x400m relay team of Bryant, Leah Nugent, Sha’Keela Saunders and Kenyattia Hackworth finished 12th with a time of 3:37.69.
Oregon won both the men's and women's team titles. The Men of Oregon scored 62 points, while Arkansas were second with 54.
The Women of Oregon edged Texas 44-43.5. The meet came down to the 4x400m relay as the race winner between the Ducks, Longhorns and Florida would claim the team-title. By the anchor leg of the relay Oregon and Texas were well in front. Oregon made up about four meters on the last straight-away to squeak past Texas at the finish line, claiming the NCAA Championship in one of the most thrilling finishes in collegiate track and field history.
The Wildcats will begin the outdoor season next week at the Baldy Castillo Invitational in Tempe, Arizona.