University of Kentucky junior Olivia Gruver won the gold medal in the pole vault at the Southeastern Conference Indoor Track and Field Championships at Texas A&M on Saturday, clearing 15 feet, 3.75 inches.
She nearly did more than just win her first SEC title. With her final jump she attempted to clear 15 feet, 7.25 inches, which would have been a new indoor collegiate record. But she came up short. Gruver’s winning vault put her at No. 2 on the all-time collegiate list.
Two other Cats hit the medal podium Saturday. Katy Kunc set a personal record by eight seconds, running the 3K in 9:17.60 to take bronze. Tim Duckworth won bronze in the long jump with a season-best leap of 25 feet, 6.75 inches.
The championships conclude on Sunday,with UK freshman phenom Sydney McLaughlin competing in the 400-meter run. She was the top qualifier in the preliminaries with a personal- and school-record time of 50.97 seconds.
Softball sweeps twin bill
The 23rd-ranked Kentucky softball team won a pair of games in Orlando, Fla., on Saturday, knocking off No. 22 Bradley 11-6 and unranked Harvard 9-3. The Cats have won three in a row and are 8-3 on the season.
Bailey Vick put together a remarkable day at the plate for the Cats, reaching base in all nine of her at-bats. She slapped four singles and drew five walks, plus stole five bases.
In the first game, the Cats used a six-run seventh inning to erase a 6-5 deficit. Alex Martens singled up the middle then Vick drew a walk. Erin Rethlake, who allowed a grand slam in the fifth inning that tied the game, followed with an RBI single. Then Abbey Cheek drove in two. Katie Reed and Cheek scored on a throwing error to cap the inning. Rethlake returned to the circle in the bottom of the seventh and sat Bradley down in order to secure the win. Reed went 3-for-4 with an RBI from the cleanup spot.
In game two, the Cats used a pair of four-run innings to put away Harvard. Jenny Schaper and Brooklin Hinz each went 2-for-3 and drove in two runs. Martens was 2-for-3 with a double and an RBI.
Freshman pitcher Grace Baalman took the circle in the third inning in relief of starter Larissa Spellman. Baalman went the rest of the way, allowing just one hit and one earned run while striking out three to improve to 5-1. Baalman retired Harvard’s final 10 batters. She got the win in game one as well, coming on in relief in the sixth inning and striking out two batters.