UK women finish best-ever seventh at NCAA outdoors

June 14, 2014 

Kentucky's women's track and field team earned the best NCAA Outdoor Championships finish in school history, seventh overall with 26 points, on Saturday at Oregon's Hayward Field in Eugene. UK's men finished 15th overall with 14 points.

"For us, from where we have come from and where we are going I think we keep stepping in the right direction," Coach Edrick Floréal said "We keep getting better, we keep competing and we just have to get consistent across the board. We have to get all of our big guns and all of our medium guns to all perform evenly at all times."

Two women, Kendra Harrison and Allison Peare, scored four points each by finishing fifth in their events on Saturday. And Raymond Dykstra was second in the javelin to give the men's team eight points.

Dykstra, the Southeastern Conference javelin champion, improved on each of his first four throws, eventually tossing his personal best and school-record bettering 251 feet, 8 inches. He finished second to Oregon's Sam Crouser.

"Fantastic job by Ray," Floréal said. "You're in hostile territory. The guy below you that's trying to beat you has his whole family, his uncle and everyone wearing Oregon colors yelling for him. It was basically one man against the whole crowd, and I thought he performed extremely well."

Peare surged from ninth to fifth before the finish in the 1,500 meters.

"We saw signs all year that she was a phenomenal competitor that was getting used to being in the limelight," Floréal said. "At the highest level she delivered the goods."

Harrison, who was second in the 400-meter hurdles Friday, came back with her second-fastest all-conditions time, :12.79, in the 100-meter hurdles and finished fifth.

"I think coming off the 400-meter hurdles (Harrison was favored, and finished second) she could have tanked," Floréal said. "Coming back and fighting pretty hard to get fifth place was key."

The UK women's program's previous best NCAA Outdoor Championships finish was ninth with 18 points in 1989. The Cats were shut out at last season's NCAA championships.

■ Led by a pair of top-five finishes from its 4-by-100 and 4-by-400-meter relays, Western Kentucky set a program record with seven athletes earning first-team All-America honors.

The 4-by-400-meter men's relay team was fourth and the 4-by-100 squad was fifth to make Western the only non-SEC program to finish in the top five in both. Freshmen Ventavius Sears and Emmanuel Dasor ran middle legs for both relays while Elvyonn Bailey anchored both. Chris Chamness ran the lead leg for the 400 relay and Ja'Karyus Redwine started the 4-by-100.

Individually, sophomore javelin thrower Tomas Guerra finished sixth and senior thrower Jessica Ramsey was eighth in the shot put on Saturday.

■ Eastern Kentucky's Ole Hesselbjerg was third in the men's 3,000-meter steeplechase. He ran a personal-best 8:38.75.

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