UK sports: Bryant 2nd in 60 meters at NCAA indoors; Davis wins national air rifle title

March 15, 2014 

Kentucky sprinter Dezerea Bryant ran the 60 meters in 7.12 seconds, the third-fastest collegiate time ever, but was edged at the finish line by Alabama's Remonda Burchell on Saturday at the NCAA indoor championships in Albuquerque, N.M.

Burchell, the junior college national champ in the 60-meter dash last year, finished in 7.11 seconds.

On Friday night, Bryant became the first woman in UK track and field history to win a national championship in the 200-meter dash. She was the first Wildcat to win an NCAA title at any sprint distance.

Friday's finals were billed as a showdown between Bryant and Texas A&M's Kamaria Brown, the fastest two women not just in the collegiate ranks, but also in the world this year at 200 meters.

"I think Dezerea being our first sprinter NCAA champion in school history says it all," UK Coach Edrick Floréal said Friday night. "Any time we can do something that's never done before, we are taking a huge step in the right direction. The competition was pretty tough, too. She had to really make Kamaria Brown uncomfortable. That was the plan, to get out and make her feel uncomfortable. She did that, she executed the plan in order to win."

Bryant got the better start and never looked back, clocking a school-record lowering personal best time of 22.69 seconds.

The runner-up, Florida's Kyra Jefferson, was 0.1 seconds behind.

"I executed well, I just felt really focused on winning," Bryant said. "It's very exciting. I'm a little smaller than my competitors, but I see some advantage in that I have to focus more on executing in order to win."

■ Kendra Harrison ran the women's 60-meter hurdles in 7.94 seconds to place fourth on Saturday night. Brad Szypka threw a personal-best 19.51 meters to finish fifth in the men's shot put.

Allison Peare was ninth in the women's mile in 4:47:33, and Matt Hillenbrand was 10th in the men's mile in 4:08.01.

Davis wins national title in air rifle

Kentucky's Connor Davis outshot West Virginia's Maren Prediger 205.4-205 to win the air rifle competition at the NCAA championships at Murray State on Saturday. Davis was the first Wildcat to win an individual air rifle title since Nancy Johnson in 1994.

"It was an exciting final," UK Coach Harry Mullins said. "(Davis) really worked and stayed alive to continue to the next round. There is a lot more pressure with the new final format but that did not faze him."

UK, ranked third nationally, backed that up with a third-place finish at the NCAA championships at Murray State.

Top-ranked West Virginia won its second straight title and 16th overall with a NCAA record-setting score of 4,705. The Cats previously held that mark with 4,700 in 2011. Alaska-Fairbanks finished second at 4,677 and UK shot 4,675.

"Looking at the season as a whole, it's hard to not be pleased," Mullins said. "Is it disappointing to finish third when you set your sights on a championship? Yes. But I'm not looking at it like that. This team worked incredibly hard all year, things just didn't fall our way at the end and that happens."

Other highlights

Baseball: Austin Cousino and Micheal Thomas both hit first-inning home runs to lead No. 20 Kentucky to a 7-2 win in the opener of a doubleheader at Alabama.

Chandler Shepherd pitched 72⁄3 innings to earn the victory. He allowed nine hits and two runs. He had five strikeouts.

Thomas finished 4-for-4 with three RBI.

■ The Cats led the nightcap 3-1 with two outs in the bottom of the ninth before Alabama's Austen Smith hit a two-run homer to tie it and send the game to extra innings. Then the Tide's Mike White hit a two-out, two run homer in the 10th to give Alabama a 5-3 victory.

Kentucky got its runs on a three-run home run by A.J. Reed in the fifth inning. Reed has an NCAA-best nine home runs this season.

Men's golf: UK dropped two spots to 11th on the leaderboard after shooting a 4-over par 292 in Saturday's second round of the Schenkel Invitational at Statesboro, Ga. Georgia Southern was in first place at 14-under 562.

Texas' Kramer Hickok and UAB's Martin Rohwer were tied for the lead at 6-under-par 138. UK junior David Snyder was tied for the lead at 4-under par before Saturday's round, but he struggled and his 75 put him in a tie for 19th.

Softball: Ninth-ranked UK got a game-winning home run by Lauren Cumbess in the first game, and Nikki Sagermann and Christian Stokes both homered in the second in a doubleheader sweep at No. 16 Missouri on Saturday.

Kentucky (21-4, 4-2 Southeastern Conference) won the opener 8-7 in eight innings and the second 3-1.

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