Dezerea Bryant became the first woman in University of Kentucky track and field history to win a national championship in the 200-meter dash late Friday night at the NCAA indoor championships at Albuquerque, N.M.
Bryant was the first Wildcat to win an NCAA championship at any sprint distance.
And she is just the fourth UK track athlete to win a women's individual NCAA title. All of the previous winners — Lisa Breiding, Valarie McGovern and Bernadette Madigan — were distance runners.
Friday's finals was billed as a showdown between Bryant and Texas A&M's Kamaria Brown, the fastest two women not just in the collegiate ranks, but also in the world this year at 200 meters.
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"I think Dezerea being our first sprinter NCAA champion in school-history says it all," UK Coach Edrick Floréal said. "Anytime you can we can do something that's never done before, we are taking a huge step in the right direction. The competition was pretty tough, too. She had to really make Kamaria Brown uncomfortable. That was the plan, to get out and make her feel uncomfortable. She did that, she executed the plan in order to win."
Bryant got the better start and never looked back, clocking a school-record lowering personal best time of 22.69.
The runner-up, Florida's Kyra Jefferson, was 0.1 seconds behind.
"I executed well, I just felt really focused on winning," Bryant said. "It's very exciting. I'm a little smaller than my competitors, but I see some advantage in that I have to focus more on executing in order to win."