LEXINGTON, Ky. – The UK track and field teams will welcome 22 squads to Nutter Field House for this weekend’s Kentucky Invitational, beginning Friday at 4 p.m. ET.
The meet will serve as the Wildcats’ home opener, with UK also scheduled to host the indoor McCravy Memorial Meet next weekend, and two outdoor meets including the Southeastern Conference Championships.
Friday’s action will feature only the men’s and women’s weight throws and men’s and women’s distance medley relays.
The women’s weight throw will begin at 4 p.m., and the women’s distance medley relay will be the first track event at 8:30 p.m.
Rebecca Famurewa and Madison Jacobs are slated to compete in the weight throw, while Andrew Evans and Bradley Szypka will represent UK in the men’s edition of the event. Kentucky has a men’s team and a women’s entered in the distance medley relays.
Saturday’s action will begin at 9 a.m. with the women’s high jump, while the first running event of the day, the women’s 60-meter hurdles heats will begin at 11:30 a.m.
Admission to the weekend’s meet is free to the public. Parking will be available in the C-6 lot adjacent to Commonwealth Stadium after 3 p.m on Friday and all day on Saturday.
Kentucky Invitational programs, which include heat sheets, will be sold for $1.
The streaming coverage of UK’s home meets is just part of the fan-friendly atmosphere second-year head coach Edrick Floréal has brought to Lexington.
Nutter Field House has taken on a more spectator-friendly layout for the home collegiate meets in 2014.
The new layout includes a high definition video board within Nutter Field House, increased seating on the infield for watching field events, raised runways for jumps events and increased seating along the finish straightaway so fans can be closer to the most exciting action.
Fans can also take in an unparalleled level of in-race analysis from meet announcer Dennis McNulty, who annually calls the NCAA Cross Country Championships in addition to other high profile events in the world of athletics.
Nutter Field House Visitors
The Kentucky Invitational field will be comprised of 23 teams in total.
The field will be made up of Ohio State (women’s team only), UCF, Wake Forest, EKU, WKU, Arkansas State, Chicago State, Dayton (women’s team only), Jackson State, Kentucky State, Marshall (women’s team only), Northern Kentucky, Shorter, Southern Indiana, Southern Illinois, Troy, Xavier, Bellarmine, Florida A&M, Miami (Ohio) and IUPUI in addition to UK. Setting the Stage for UK
The Wildcats will compete for the first time since departing campus during the December break. Head coach Edrick Floréal has put his team through a tough training regimen since welcoming the Wildcats back to campus last week.
Given UK’s recent challenging stretch of practice leading up this weekend, the Wildcats will approach the Kentucky Invitational as a final tune-up for next weekend’s Rod McCravy Memorial Meet.
The McCravy Memorial field is currently made up of 14 teams, seven of which are ranked in the national top 25.
The Kentucky women’s team recently checked in at No. 6 in the United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) preseason rankings.
UK’s previous best USTFCCCA ranking was No. 15 early in the 2008 season, the first year of the poll. UK’s prior highest preseason ranking was No. 22 in 2009.
UK finished the 2013 indoor season – Floréal’s first as head coach in Lexington – ranked No. 20, earning the same finish at the NCAA Championships. The result was UK’s best at Nationals since earning the same team finish in 1994.
Additionally, two more Wildcats earned All-America honors during the 2013 outdoor season.
UK has also been bolstered by the nation’s fifth-ranked women’s recruiting class (Track & Field News).
Headlining that group are transfers Dezerea Bryant, Kendra Harrison and Leah Nugent, who have earned a combined 17 USTFCCCA All-America honors between them in addition to 16 individual college conference titles.
Kayla Parker, who was a 100-meter hurdles All-American outdoors, produced what was at the time the nation’s leading 60m hurdles performance in December, a time which now ranks No. 2 nationally this season.
Bryant was recently mentioned on USTFCCCA’s Bowerman Award Preseason Watch List. The Bowerman, considered track and field’s version of the Heisman Trophy, is given to the sport’s most outstanding individual competitor annually since 2009.
The junior earned nine All-America honors and nine Atlantic Coast Conference Championships in two collegiate seasons at Clemson. She swept the ACC short sprints both indoors and outdoors as a freshman in 2011, and won four more conference championships, including the 4x100m relay, last season.
The UK men’s team also returns key contributors from a year ago to this year’s squad.
Headlining the group is Matt Hillenbrand, who won the SEC mile championship a year ago and went on to be named All-America in the 1,500m outdoors.
Brad Szypka also returns after finishing fourth in the SEC indoor shot put and earning All-America honors outdoors.