Seven University of Kentucky athletes on Thursday punched their tickets to collegiate track and field’s main event.
Sha’Keela Saunders and Destiny Carter (women’s long jump), Olivia Gruver (women’s pole vault), Sarah Blake (women’s javelin), Ethan Shalaway (men’s javelin), Fred Dorsey (men’s long jump) and Jacob Thomson (10,000-meter run) qualified for the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships by finishing among the top 12 qualifiers in their field events at the NCAA East Preliminaries at UK. Gruver finished first in her event.
Carter also had the third-fastest time in the women’s 100 meters after the first round of qualifying on Thursday.
Carter, a senior, won her heat in 11.20 seconds. UK teammate Kianna Gray, a sophomore, had the seventh-fastest time, finishing second in her heat in 11.28 seconds.
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Their next round of qualifying comes on Friday in the quarterfinals.
Other UK quarterfinalists were sprinter Kenshard Hamilton (men’s 100 meters) and Ian Jones (men’s 800 meters).
A crowd of 1,104 was in attendance for the opening day of the three-day meet at UK.
The NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships in Eugene, Ore., will be held on June 7-10.
Other area athletes
▪ Louisville sophomore Martice Moore had the 22nd-fastest qualifying time in the men’s 400-meter hurdles. He will compete on Friday for a spot in the top 12 and a ticket to Eugene, Ore.
Other area athletes who advanced past the first round of qualifying include Western Kentucky junior Julius Morris (men’s 100 meters) and WKU senior Emmanuel Dasor (400 meters).
▪ Advancing to Eugene, Ore., by finishing in the top 12 was WKU senior Ventavius Sears (seventh in the men’s long jump).