LOUISVILLE — Rashaud Scott said he just went out and had fun Friday.
The serious stuff comes Saturday, when the defending national discus champion takes center stage in the NCAA Mideast Regional Track and Field Meet at Cardinal Park.
The University of Kentucky senior's idea of fun Friday resulted in a first-place finish in the shot put. His winning put of 62 feet, 11/4 inches came on the second of six attempts. He reached 60-3 twice and fouled three times. The top five finishers in each event qualify for the NCAA Championships, June 10-13 at Arkansas. Also, any finishers outside the top five, but within the top 12 in the nation, will advance.
The Mideast, one of four regions, drew 93 women's teams and 74 men's teams.
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Through five women's finals, Arkansas leads with 20 points, followed by Southern Illinois with 17. UK and Indiana are tied for third with 14.
Through five men's finals, Arkansas leads Louisville 28-17. UK is tied for sixth with 10.
"I tried to build on that," Scott said of his winning second throw. "I haven't got that many throws in this season. I haven't practiced (shot) much. I'm happy with the win.
"I just go out there and have fun with the shot put. I really don't focus on it too much. ... Just have fun."
Most of Scott's practice time comes in the discus circle, his focal point Saturday.
"I'm looking to, if I win, win big," he said. "Hopefully, get a lead from the first and then see what happens."
Scott led a strong showing for home-state schools in the weight events.
Louisville's Steve Hnat also qualified for nationals in the shot, placing fifth.
The Cards' Jeré Summers (186-5) and UK's Ashley Muffet (181-0) finished first and third in the women's discus.
UK's Kristin Smith set a school record in the women's hammer, placing second.
Summers came into the discus seeded seventh.
"Honestly, I did not feel good but after today there is a big sigh of relief," she said. "I am a little nervous about the (national) championships. Last year, I fouled out. I had some far throws that were right outside the sector."
In the hammer, Smith threw a personal-best 209-2, a 10-foot improvement. Akron's Stevi Large took first with a regional record 219-1.
"I was just trying to be super positive and stay focused on doing well, not thinking about anything else and not doubting myself," Smith said. It's been a rough season, but we put it together when it really mattered."
U of L's Tone Belt was runner-up in the high jump (7-31/4) and fourth in the long jump (25-4).
"I was telling our coaches 'I feel as good as I've felt since I was a freshman,' " said Belt, a fourth-year junior. "That was three years ago, so I definitely felt good."
After winning the 2007 NCAA indoor long jump, Belt blew out his knee and sat out 2008. Once back, he battled foot and leg ailments.
"This is the first meet I've felt 110 percent," he said.
Arkansas went 1-2-3 in the men's long jump, led by Alain Bailey's meet-record 26-51/2.
The only track finals were the 5,000-meter runs. Eastern Kentucky's Joseph Maina (men's) and Western Kentucky's Janet Jesang (women's) each placed seventh.
Western's Gavin Smellie led qualifying in the men's 200 meters (20.43). UK's Rondel Sorrillo also advanced, but teammate and fellow Olympian Jose Acevedo did not.
Three freshmen led the men's 100 qualifying — Marcus Rowland of Auburn (10.16), D'Angelo Cherry of Mississippi State (10.21) and Zye Boey of Eastern Illinois (10.42). Next came Louisiana State junior Trindon Holliday (10.51), who is ranked No. 1 in the nation.
"I wasn't trying to push it too hard today," Holliday said. "Coaches told me to just relax and (focus on) just qualifying for tomorrow."
UK's Mikel Thomas, who competed in the high hurdles for Trinidad and Tobago at last summer's Beijing Olympics, was a scratch. Thomas suffered a broken collarbone during practice last week and underwent surgery Friday.