Sha'Keela Saunders saved her best for last Friday night.
Saunders, a Kentucky sophomore, came through on her sixth and final attempt to win the long jump with a school-record and national season-leading distance of 21 feet, 5¼ inches as the Rod McCravy Memorial indoor track and field meet got underway.
The McCravy, which wraps up Saturday in Nutter Field House, includes 83 All-Americans and is arguably the top regular-season meet in the nation. All but one of the top seven women's teams are here, including No. 6 UK, and eight of the top 25. Eight of the NCAA top-25 men's teams are on hand.
UK also had a winner in the women's weight throw, where Rebecca Famurewa broke her own school record.
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With her last-round jump, Saunders overtook Oregon junior Jenna Prandini, who had led at 21-2½ . Prandini passed on her final three chances.
Prandini edged Saunders for last year's NCAA Outdoor Championships victory.
"Exactly," said Saunders, from Suffolk, Va. "That's why this is so exciting."
Saunders' second-best jump of 21-1½ came in Friday's fifth round, after a fourth-round foul.
So what gave her the added distance in round six?
"Praying. Praying!" she said with a laugh. "I can't say I did anything down the runway differently. All I could think about was just giving more effort, giving more effort. My faith. And it just happened for me. I'm blessed."
Coach Edrick Floreal was giving Saunders words of wisdom after each jump.
"We had to back up some because I was over the board sometimes. I was fouling," Saunders said. "So we had to back up the approach so that I wouldn't foul, so that I could get a fair jump on the last one."
With UK set to host the Southeastern Conference Championships next month, and with the NCAAs to follow, she has her sites set on more big jumps.
"Now I know where I'm at. I know where my strength is," Saunders said. "So if I start falling short, I just know I need to make some adjustments so that I can actually carry this momentum throughout the season. Because this is a great meet, this is a great win, but it's important later on in the season."
In the weight throw, Famurewa reached 70-10¾, shattering her week-old school record of 67-11½ .
"I was definitely really nervous going into the first round of throws, but I think after that first throw that I kind of knew that something good was going to happen today," said the senior from Brecksville, Ohio. "I threw against some really good girls today, so I'm just very happy that everything lined up for me today and I was able to get a big throw out there."
On the track, UK was missing NCAA champion Dezerea Bryant, scratched as a precaution from the 200 meters. Bryant tweaked a hamstring during last week's Kentucky Invitational, when she swept the 60- and 200-meter dashes.
Other women's winners included: former UK standout Allison Morgan, competing professionally for Brooks ID Elite, in the 5,000 meters (16:32.61); Georgia's Tatiana Gusin in the high jump (6-0); Arkansas' Sandi Morris in the pole vault (14-10¼); LSU's Jada Martin in the 200 (23.44); Texas' Courtney Okolo in the 600 (1:19.85), and Arkansas in the distance medley relay (11:02.80).
Men's winners included: Jonathan Wells of Illinois in the high jump (7-0¼); KeAndre Bates of Florida in the long jump (24-9); Andre De Grasse of Southern Cal in the 200 (20.90); Vernon Norwood of LSU in the 600 (1:08.84); Eric Jenkins of Oregon in the 5,000 (13:31.76); Jordan Young of Virginia in the weight throw (69-10¼), and Oregon in the distance medley relay (9:32.61).