Former University of Kentucky track standout Kendra Harrison finished first in the finals of the women’s 100-meter hurdles at the U.S. Track and Field Championships in Sacramento, Calif., on Saturday.
As a reigning Diamond League champion, Harrison had already qualified for the World Championships in London this summer. Her performance this weekend only confirmed the world record holder’s dominance in the event.
“Everyone in this event is really strong,” said Harrison, who finished in 12.60 seconds to beat Olympic silver medalist Nia Ali by a 0.08 margin. “These girls are going to represent and get that sweep like last year (at the Olympics).”
Harrison went all out despite already having a safety net to worlds thanks to her Diamond League title. She needed the work after breaking her left hand while warming up for a hurdles race this spring.
“To come from breaking a hand to winning, it means everything,” Harrison said. “My confidence is where it needs to be.”
Other athletes with Kentucky connections to qualify for the Worlds include:
▪ Former UK athlete Andrew Evans, who took silver in the discus throw finals.
▪ UK senior Shakeela Saunders, who earned the bronze medal in the women’s long jump with a leap of 22 feet, 8 1/2 inches.
Athletes who advanced to the semifinals or finals in their events included: Nick Anderson (UK) in the men’s 110-meter hurdles; Tyson Gay (former Lafayette standout) in the men’s 200 meters; Destiny Carter (UK) and Dezerea Bryant (ex-Cat) in the women’s 200 meters; and Sydney McLaughlin (UK recruit) in the women’s 400-meter hurdles.
On Friday night, 35-year-old Justin Gatlin surged past NCAA champion Christian Coleman to win the 100-meter title. Gatlin finished in 9.95 seconds to edge the 21-year-old Coleman by 0.03 seconds. Both are products of the University of Tennessee.