UK Hitting Its Stride Just in Time for SEC's
April 30, 2011
LEXINGTON, Ky. – Senior Keenan Hall and junior Keith Hayes have begun their ascent on the nation’s leaders, moving into the top 20 of the triple jump and 110-meter hurdles respectively, in front of a record-breaking crowd at the 102nd running of the Drake Relays on Saturday.
Hall captured the Kentucky school record in the triple jump with an event-winning leap of 15.72m/51-07.00, surpassing current teammate David Banks who set the previous school record of 51-05.50 in Columbus, Ohio last season.
“Keenan Hall has continued to make improvements throughout this outdoor season,” assistant coach of jumps, vaults and multi-events James Thomas said. “This win at the Drake Relays is hopefully another confidence builder as the Southeastern Conference Championships are just two weeks away.”
Before moving into the top spot on UK’s all-time triple jump list, Hall had made a steady climb up to third just two weeks ago at the Sea Ray Relays, with a then career-best mark of 51-00.75. The seniors current long mark ranks 19th nationally and fifth in the SEC. The native of Indianapolis, Ind., also ranks high in the long jump, coming in at eighth in the SEC and 28th among the nation.
Just as impressive, Hayes, an All-America honoree in the 60m hurdles this year, put himself in great position to do the same in the 110m hurdles, with a second-place finish at Drake Relays. The junior transfer from Kansas put together a career-best time of 13.76, shooting him to second in the SEC and UK’s all-time 110m hurdles list. Hayes only trails former Wildcats great Mikel Thomas on the list but is closing in on the school-record mark of 13.57.
“We came into the race and wanted to work on getting our rhythm back,” assistant coach of men’s sprints and hurdles Erin Tucker said. “We are very happy with his new wind-legal personal-best. Mr. Hayes is waking up.”
Hayes qualified for the finals of the 110m hurdles on Friday with a time of 14.38, which was his previous season-best time, showing the rapid improvement he made this weekend. Before the Drake Relays, Hayes had a top time of 14.39, set at the Kentuckiana Border Battle on April 9.
A select group of Wildcat distance runners will be in action tomorrow at the Payton Jordan Invitation in Palo Alto, Calif., and can be seen live online at Flotrack.com
For continuous updates on UK track and field follow @Kentuckytrack on twitter and at UKathletics.com.