Ex-Cats

A former star and current one help Kentucky dominate hurdles at Drake Relays

Keni Harrison, center, outran fellow former Kentucky star Jasmine Camacho-Quinn, left, and Nia Ali, right, during the women’s 100-meter hurdles at the Drake Relays.
Keni Harrison, center, outran fellow former Kentucky star Jasmine Camacho-Quinn, left, and Nia Ali, right, during the women’s 100-meter hurdles at the Drake Relays. AP

A pair of University of Kentucky track and field athletes, one a former star and the other a current one, won hurdles events at the Drake Relays on Saturday.

Keni Harrison cruised to her fourth straight win in the women’s 100-meter hurdles, joining Lolo Jones as the only women in meet history to do so. Harrison crossed in a wind-aided 12.65 seconds on a miserable day at Drake Stadium, where temperatures plunged into the high 30s with a steady rain and a wind chill that made it feel below freezing at times.

Jasmine Camacho-Quinn, Harrison’s training partner and another former UK star, was second at 12.85. Canadian Phylicia George was third at 12.96.

The weather wasn’t the only challenge faced, as a pair of false starts threatened to sap the hurdlers of their momentum. But it didn’t hamper Harrison, the world record-holder at 12.20.

“I just had to re-focus,” Harrison said of the restarts. “I didn’t feel my best, but sometimes you have to go out and just get the job done.”

The men’s 110-meter hurdles produced a mild upset, as Kentucky junior Daniel Roberts held off 2016 Olympic champion Omar McLeod by one one-hundredth of a second for the win in a wind-aided race.

Roberts won in 13.28 to become the first college athlete to win the event since it was added to Drake’s schedule in 2002.

“I knew he was going to be there. I know he’s very fast. So I had to just get out, focus on my lane,” said Roberts of McLeod, who once was his training partner. “I tell myself all the time that I’m the best hurdler in the world because that’s where I want to be one day.”

American Kori Carter, the 2017 world champion (and a former volunteer assistant coach for the Cats), won the 400-meter hurdles in her first appearance in the event in nearly two years. Carter finished at 56.07, the eighth-fastest time in the world so far this season.

Ashley Spencer, who won bronze in the event at the 2016 Rio Games, was third at 57.02.

“I’m a little rusty,” Carter said. “I did not know how much I missed this race … I felt like a little kid again.”

Kentucky’s Faith Ross won the women’s collegiate 100-meter hurdles in a wind-aided 13.30 seconds. The Cats’ Tai Brown and Caleb Wilt went 1-2 in the men’s 110-meter hurdles collegiate finals, running respective wind-aided times of 13.98 and 14.10.

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