Kentucky women finish 4th in SEC Track and Field Championships

mmaloney@herald-leader.comMay 18, 2014 

As well as the Kentucky women performed Sunday, Coach Edrick Floreal hungered for just a bit more.

The host Wildcats wound up fourth as the Southeastern Conference Outdoor Track and Field Championships finished a four-day run.

Kendra Harrison, a junior transfer from Clemson, sparked UK by winning the 100- and 400-meter hurdles.

"I think it was a mixed bag," Floreal said, referring to both the UK women and men. "Some people responded and really stepped up to the pressure. We had a really good go at it early, had a lot of momentum, and then it sort of fizzled out."

Eighth-ranked Arkansas won the team event with 123 points, followed by No. 1 Florida's 116½ . No. 4 Texas A&M came in with 113, followed by No. 6 UK with 104.

Coming from Clemson to a league meet that featured six of the top eight teams in the nation marked a big step up in competition for Harrison.

"It is kind of unreal right now when it comes to SEC," she said. "There's a lot more competition, and I'm glad to be here."

She opened her day by winning the 100-meter hurdles in 12.86. Teammate Kayla Parker took fourth in 13.34.

Harrison came back to win the 400-meter hurdles in 54.76, second-fastest time in the world this year. UK's Leah Nugent placed seventh.

"I'm more pleased with the 400 just because I PR'd (personal record), and just unbelievable for me," Harrison said. "In the 100, with the headwind, I think that was a pretty good time. But I'm more happy with the 400.

"Getting out of the blocks in the 400, I knew I had to go over the first four hurdles on my good leg. And to do that, I had to run 100 percent and not hold back like I usually do. So I just let it all out there. Then, coming home on the homestretch, I just knew I had to bring it home and not try to stutter-step or go with my wrong leg, and I'm happy that I did it."

While Harrison realized her hopes, teammate Dezerea Bryant had to settle for less in the 100 and 200.

Texas A&M junior Olivia Ekpone won both events.

In the 100, it was Ekpone in 11.11, followed by Alabama'a Remona Burchell in 11.12. Then came Bryant in 11.24 and teammate Keilah Tyson in 11.32.

In the 200, Ekpone punched in at a meet-record 22.23, trailed by Bryant in 22.68. UK's Tyson and Dominique Booker finished 6-7.

"No, not really" how she wanted to place, said Bryant, a junior transfer from Clemson. "But I have more time."

Harrison and Bryant also ran on the fourth-place 4-by-400 relay.

Bryant, Tyson, Booker and Kayla Parker combined to place second in the 4-by-100 relay. Texas A&M defended its title in 43.20.

Allison Peare gave UK 16 points with runner-up finishes in the 1,500 and 800.

Florida's Cory McGee won metric mile in 4:13.48. Peare finished in 4:15.14 to edge defending champ Carly Hamilton of Georgia by 53 hundredths of a second.

Alabama's Yanique Malcolm held off a fast-closing Peare in the 800, 2:03.28 to 2:04.13.

"I'm really happy," said Peare, a senior. "It's my last SECs and I'm just trying to leave it all on the track. Especially at home. I had the whole homestretch cheering for me. It was awesome."

Madison Jacobs gave UK yet another second-place finish, in the discus with a personal-best throw of 175-7.

"My coach has been telling me over and over again exactly what I need to do to throw far, and I knew that if I just kept practicing I would become better," Jacobs said. "I'm very excited because it was an unexpected win; well, second place, but to me it's almost like a win. Coming in as a freshman and placing second is a really big thing for me."

UK's Cally Macumber placed sixth in the 5,000, an event where Arkansas went 1-2-3 to clinch the team title.

Diane Robison was first in a meet-record 15:48.25.

Florida's Ciarra Brewer won her third straight title in the triple jump, breaking her meet record with a distance of 45-7¾.

Mark Maloney: (859) 231-3229. Twitter: @MarkMaloneyHL. Blog:

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