By Jacob Most
Feb. 13, 2014 -
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark., and AMES, Iowa, and BLOOMINGTON, Ind. - The Kentucky track and field teams' footprints will make marks in three separate parts of the country this weekend. A trio of Wildcat groups will compete at three separate meets: Arkansas' Tyson Invitational, the Iowa State Classic and Indiana's Hoosier Hills Invitational.
The weekend will serve as the one of team's final tuneup opportunities before the championship season begins in two weeks at the Southeastern Conference Meet, Feb. 27-March 1, hosted by Texas A&M.
Kentucky's top sprinters, horizontal jumpers and throwers for the most part travel southwest to the Tyson Invitational, while most of UK's elite middle-distance and distance runners will be at Iowa State and the largest group of Wildcats (29) are scheduled to make the drive to Indiana's Gladstein Fieldhouse.
The action from the ISU Classic will be broadcast live on FloTrack.com. At Arkansas and IU, the host institution Website will provide live results.
Elite fields will participate at both Tyson and ISU.
Many of the nation's top sprinters, jumpers and throwers annually travel to Tyson Invitational to take advantage of the top competition on the Randall Tyson Track Center's lightning-fast surface. Simarly, the ISU Lied Recreation Athletic Center provides a great deal of allure to elite distance runners looking to post fast times on an oversized 300-meter track.
More than 100 All-Americans from over 50 teams will be competing in Ames this weekend, including UK All-Americans Allison Peare (2013 Distance Medley Relay) and Matt Hillenbrand (2013 1,500m - Outdoor). Adam Kahleifeh, Robert Scharold and Keffri Neal will also travel to ISU.
Notably, the Tyson Invitational marks an annual "homecoming" of sorts for UK head coach Edrick Floréal, an Arkansas alumnus who won five NCAA triple jump titles and four NCAA team championships under head coach John McDonnell during his time as a Razorback competitor from the late 1980s until graduating in 1990.
Start lists for the Tyson Invitational have yet to be released, but the seventh-ranked women's team will be led by its "The Bowerman" Award Watch List members Dezerea Bryant and Kendra Harrison, as they are both scheduled to compete.
Bryant is entered in the 60m dash and 4x400m relay, and she will be joined in the relay by Harrison, who will also run the 60m hurdles. Bryant owns the nation's fastest 60m and 200m times this season, while Harrison is the top-ranked hurdler in the country.
2013 100m hurdles All-American Kayla Parker and Leah Nugent are also entered in the Tyson 60m hurdles, while Morganne Phillips is set to return to Tyson Track in the 400m and 4x400 for the first time since picking up All-America status as the 400m leg of UK's DMR at the same facility during last season's NCAA Championships.
Bradley Szypka will headline the UK men's lineup at Tyson, returning to a venue where he threw a then-personal best shot put to place fourth at last year's SEC Championships. Szypka has improved his PR shot put to 19.43m/63' 9" this season, a mark which ranks 10th nationally.
Chelsea Oswald, a 2013 All-American at 3,000m, will make her 2014 debut at the distance at IU on Saturday at 12:45 p.m. ET.
Charles Moushey and Justin Kretchmer will also continue their attempts to break the UK freshman record in the pole vault and high jump respectively at IU.