The University of Kentucky track and field team took care of business in the hurdles events on Day 2 of the NCAA East Preliminary Championships on Friday in Lexington.
All four of the Cats’ competitors in the men’s 110- and women’s 100-meter hurdles advanced to the quarterfinals, which is set to be run at 7:20 p.m. Saturday.
Nick Anderson, a UK senior, won Friday’s first heat of the 110-meter hurdles with a time of 13.56 seconds. Anderson’s time lowered his own school record set earlier this season, and it was the second fastest qualifier out of all competitors.
“I felt pretty well in the race, I felt like I got well,” Anderson said. “It’s just the first round, just trying to win the race, of course, and make it to the next round. That’s the goal.”
Anderson was the runner-up in last season’s NCAA championships, second only to Devon Allen, who is now a pro hurdler for Nike.
Anderson has run the seventh-fastest time recorded this season.
“This year my main focus was to come back and win it all,” Anderson said. “That’s my main focus, my main job for the whole year.”
Anderson’s teammate, Daniel Roberts, finished third in the fifth heat of the 110-meter hurdles, which was good enough to grab an automatic qualifying spot to the quarterfinals.
In the 100-meter hurdles, defending NCAA champion Jasmine Camacho-Quinn advanced to the quarterfinals by posting the fastest time out of all qualifiers in the first round. Jacklyn Howell also advanced with the third-fastest time of the first round.
“I feel like Kentucky is a hurdle powerhouse here,” Anderson said. “Coach Flo (Edrick Floreal) just knows everything about hurdles and I don’t doubt anything he tells me. We just have a group of hurdlers all thanks to Coach Flo.”
The 100-meter hurdle quarterfinals are scheduled for 7:05 p.m. Saturday.
Many tickets were punched to the NCAA championships, including some athletes from UK.
The Cats will send at least two sprinters to Eugene, Ore., as Destiny Carter and Kianna Gray advanced to the national championships in the 100-meter dash. Gray placed seventh in the 100-meter dash at last year’s NCAA championships.
Five female UK sprinters will compete for qualifying spots to Eugene in the quarterfinals of the 200-meter dash, as Carter, Gray, Camacho-Quinn, Kayelle Clark and Precious Hitchcock all advanced out of the first round. Carter ran the fastest time of all the Wildcats, and the second-fastest qualifying time at 22.61 seconds.
The women’s 200-meter quarterfinals are scheduled for Saturday at 7:35 p.m.
In the final event of the night, Katy Kunc qualified for her first track national championships in the 3,000-meter steeplechase with a time of 10:03.
Eastern Kentucky had a qualifier advance to Eugene in the men’s steeplechase, as Jamaine Coleman posted the second fastest qualifying time behind Louisville’s Edwin Kibichiy.
UK also picked up Eugene qualifiers in field events: Ellen Ekholm in the high jump and Nikolas Huffman in the shot put.
Huffman finished 11th, the second-to-last qualifying spot, to make his first national championships.
“It wasn’t necessarily the performance I wanted but it’s top 12 so there is no complaining,” Huffman said.
Western Kentucky also had some qualifiers, as Emmanuel Dasor moved on to the NCAA championships in the 400-meter dash, and Julius Moore grabbed the final qualifying spot to Eugene in the 100-meter dash.
More spots in Eugene on the line Saturday
The final day of the East Preliminary Championships is Saturday, with the men’s discus kicking off the field events at 2 p.m. The women’s 4x100 meter relay begins the track action at 6 p.m. All the Saturday events will send qualifiers to the national championships.
NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships East Preliminary
When: Field events begin at 2 p.m., track events at 6 p.m.
Where: UK track and field complex