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Kentucky native dominates shot put

Reese Hoffa saved the best for last Saturday.

The Kentucky native and two-time world champion already had first place and a Nutter Fieldhouse record in hand as he entered the shot-put ring for his final attempt in the Kentucky Invitational.

With a best mark of 67 feet, 51/4 inches through five tries, Hoffa let out a roar as he released a 69-63/4 gem. The old Nutter record of 66-93/4 was set by Ohio State's Dan Taylor six years ago.

"I had my family in the crowd, and I just wanted to make sure I put on a show," said Hoffa, a former All-American for Georgia. "And made sure the twenty-buck entry fee was well worth it."

Hoffa's win highlighted a meet that included 16 schools, half from the Southeastern Conference, plus several post-collegiate Olympians.


Read more about the Kentucky Invitational on Mark Maloney's blog


Mariam Kevkhishvili, a Florida senior, set a Georgian national record of 60-71/4 in the women's shot. That also broke the Nutter mark held by Cleopatra Borel (59-0, 2004).

Western Kentucky's Janet Jesang, a senior from Uganda, destroyed the Nutter record in the women's 3,000-meter run. Her time of 9 minutes, 11.09 seconds bettered the 9:19.37 mark set by Michigan's Erin Webster in 2006 and beat the automatic qualifying mark for the NCAA Championships.

Hoffa, 32, was born Maurice Antwon Chism in Louisville, the youngest of two boys in a single-parent family.

After accidentally setting his home on fire, he was placed in an orphanage at age 4 because his mother was unable to provide for the family. At 6, he was adopted by a family from Bardstown, soon to move to Georgia.

He grew into a 5-foot-11, 315-pound man. He won the 2006 World Indoor Championships and 2007 World Outdoor Championships. He has competed in the last two Olympics, placing 22nd in 2004 and seventh in 2008.

"Great crowd," Hoffa said. "It seemed like they were pretty excited to see a ball go that far, so my job is done."

UK junior Colin Boevers placed fourth at 57-61/2.

"It was a good opener. I threw well," Boevers said. "Coach (Doug Reynolds) told us to execute what we do in practice, and I feel like I did it pretty well. I didn't quite connect on any throws, so I know there's more in the tank."

Kevkhishvili won the women's shot by 6 feet over Tennessee's Annie Alexander. UK's Ashley Muffet and Jennifer Svoboda placed 4-5.

Jesang dominated the women's 3,000, winning by more than 171/2 seconds over former Tennessee All-American Sarah Bowman.

The men's 3K was much tighter, Louisville's Matt Bruce (8:13.50) edging UK's Luis Orta (8:14.11). U of L showed even better in the men's long jump, placing 1-2-3-5. Wesley Smith (25-41/2) led, followed by Friday's high jump winner, Tone Belt (25-21/2). Then came Rudon Bastian, UK's Keenon Hall and Andre Black.

"That's our second meet. We're still working on things, and they're dialing in fairly well," said Jake Jacoby, who coaches U of L jumpers.

UK's best result came in the women's 4-by-400 relay. Jenna Martin, Jazmyn Shorter, Brittany Cabbler and Precious Nwokey combined to win in 3:39.94. Nwokey's 54-flat anchor leg held off Lanie Whittaker of Florida (3:39.96).

Eastern Kentucky's top performance came in the women's 400, by freshman Bianca Forbes (56.36, 14th).

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