By Jacob Most
Feb. 11, 2014 -
LEXINGTON, Ky. – Dezerea Bryant continues to rake in plaudits, echoing a broader theme for the Kentucky track and field program, as she was named Southeastern Conference Women’s Runner of the Week on Tuesday.
Bryant earned the honor for the second time this season, and she was named National Athlete of the Week by the United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) on Monday.
A Wildcat has won SEC Women’s Runner of the Week after each of UK’s three meets this season (Bryant Jan. 21 and Feb. 11 and Kendra Harrison on Jan. 28).
Bryant produced the fastest 200-meter performance (22.82 seconds) by any woman in the world so far this season last Saturday, after winning the 60m at the Doc Hale Virginia Tech Elite Meet the day before.
Her nation-leading 200m time of 22.82 means she now has the fastest collegiate time this season in both the 200m and 60 (7.19).
Bryant’s 200m performance was significant on multiple levels as the time smashed her previous school record of 23.04, set a new personal best for the two-time indoor 200m All-American (nine times in all events) and is just 0.14 seconds outside the all time collegiate top-10 list in the event.
The performance made Bryant the 15th-fastest American collegian of all-time at 200m. [i]
Making her 200m time more impressive is the fact it came at Virginia Tech's Rector Field House. Her lap around the Rector oval was the fastest run outside of Arkansas’ Randall Tyson Track Center since 2012 The Bowerman winner Kimberlyn Duncan (LSU) ran a time of 21.76 during the 2012 NCAA Championships at Boise State.
Wildcats Up to No. 7 in Rankings
Buoyed by Bryant’s performances as well as by those by Harrison, the UK women’s track and field team moved up a spot to No. 7 in the newest edition of the USTFCCCA National Rankings, which were released on Tuesday.
Bryant has the nation’s fastest time this season in two events (in the ranking formula her 200m top time ranks No. 3 because other athletes’ top times from last season are still being considered), while Harrison owns the nation’s top-ranked 60-meter hurdles time.
Considred a hurdles specialist, Harrison produced the nation’s 10th-ranked 60m dash time and 11th-fastest 200m time (in her debut at the distance) last weekend, although both new times qualify as No. 13 for the rankings due to the aforementioned reasoning regarding previous season’s marks. Both Bryant and Harrison made up two legs of UK’s seventh-ranked (fourth-fastest) 4x400m relay.
UK dropped two spots to No. 8 in last week’s national standings after not competing during the previous weekend. The Wildcats were ranked No. 6 in the first two versions of the rankings, which is an all-time best for the team.
While positions have adjusted moderately in the first four versions of the rankings, change is all but certain for next week’s edition. The preseason marks from 2013 used in determining team scores through this week will be removed from consideration, and beginning next week, only marks from the current season will be considered.
UK currently has eight times from the current season being considered, while six are being pulled from the 2013 campaign. Three of the times that were produced last season are only moderately faster than the 2014 seasonal-best times by the same athletes, meaning even if the Wildcats whose top marks are being pulled from last season don’t improve this weekend, the effect on UK’s standing should not be drastic.
The national team rankings are complied by mathematical formulae based on national descending order lists and data taken from previous seasons.
Bryant and Harrison Make First In-Season Bowerman Watch List
Both Bryant and Harrison earned honors from USTFCCCA last week as both were included in the organization’s first update of “The Bowerman” award watch list since the indoor track and field season began.
Bryant was mentioned as “receiving votes” on the preseason list, but was bumped up to full-fledged member once the first in-season list was revelead on Feb. 6.
Similarly, Harrison was not mentioned on the preseason watch list, but after herself posting a world-leading hurdles time (7.96) three weeks ago (the time is no longer world-leading, but remains tops among collegians) she is now listed as “receiving votes.”
Accounting for last weekend’s performances Bryant and Harrison have each produced two performances this season which could be considered “world-leading” after the weekend they each ran those times[ii].
Bryant and Harrison ran the second and anchor legs respectively on UK’s school record and then-world-leading 4x400m relay three weeks ago. The relay victory at the home McCravy Memorial meet came against, amongst others, defending NCAA Champion Oregon, a team which returned three of four legs from its 2013 Indoor National Championship lineup.
Bryant has not lost a final in either the 60m or 200m this season. The nine-time All-American has the nation’s top-ranked time in both of her speciality events, and ranks No. 4 in the 4x400m relay. Similarly Harrison leads the nation in the 60H, ranks 10th and 11threspectively in the 200m and 60m, and also was part of the No. 4 relay.
[i] Information provided by Kyle Terwilllegar, USTFCCCA via Track and Field News.
[ii] Bryant’s 200m time (Feb. 8 – 22.82), Harrison’s 60H time (Jan. 25 – 9.76) and both were on 4x400m relay (Jan. 25 – 3:33.35)