Capitalizing on opportunity. Execution. Determination.
Add up the aforementioned and, Saturday anyhow, the sum is three wins for the home team in the season-opening Kentucky Invitational indoor track and field meet.
UK's winners in Nutter Field House: Keith Hayes in the men's 60-meter hurdles, Josh Nadzam in the mile, and the women's 4-by-400-meter relay of Jenna Martin, Julie Nunn, Brittany Cabbler and Jazmyn Shorter.
Hayes, a junior transfer from Kansas, edged former Wildcat and 2008 Olympian Mikel Thomas in the hurdles, 7.84 seconds to 7.90. UK sophomore Darryl Bradshaw was fourth and freshman Brandon Bagley sixth.
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"With me and Mikel, we knew it was going to be us pushing, so we just tried to make the best of this opportunity we had," Hayes said.
"We trained through this meet, so I really wasn't that fresh coming into it."
Nadzam, a senior, competed unattached as he may redshirt this season.
Eastern Kentucky's Victor Kemboi sprinted to the lead at the top of the back straightaway, but Nadzam battled back and won going away in 4 minutes, 9.84 seconds. Kemboi faded to fifth, behind a trio of Michigan State runners.
"I did what I wanted — just execute, stay behind them until the very end. Then a couple guys made a move. I just wanted to go as soon as someone made a move, and I felt the last guy challenge, so I just tried to overtake him in the last stretch," Nadzam said.
In the women's relay, Shorter gave up the lead to Central Florida's Afia Charles on the last lap, but rallied to win on a lean at the wire. UK clocked 3:40.11 to UCF's 3:40.15.
"Determination," Shorter said. "I'd just seen my teammates on the sideline telling me 'let's go,' encouraging me.
"I wanted it. I was feeling it. I felt like (Charles) wasn't far enough (ahead), so I had it in my heart to go get it."
Martin led off and had the fastest split, 53.9. Shorter was next-fastest in 54.62.
UK's men came in second to Alabama in the relay, 3:12.87 to 3:14.14. Freshman Kadeem Kushimo, who led off the relay, also placed second in the 60-meter dash.
Cats shot-putter Colin Boevers placed third, behind Michigan State's Zach Hill (59 feet, 10¼ inches) and Louisville's Weston Banks.
Tennessee's Dentarious Locke swept the 60 (6.75) and 200 (21.15).
"I kind of had a little block problem," said Locke, a redshirt freshman from Tampa, Fla. "But I can get better."
Alabama's Fred Samoei (8:03.20) and Julius Bor went 1-2 in the 3,000 meters, followed by Western Kentucky's Shadrack Kipchirchir. Eastern Kentucky's Soufiane Bouchikhi was right with Kipchirchir at the finish, but was disqualified for breaking from his start alley too soon.
Chip Heuser, a former Florida and Oklahoma vaulter out of St. Xavier, won his event by clearing 17-¾. Tennessee freshman Justin Hunter won the long jump with an NCAA automatic qualifying mark of 26-1.
Louisville won three women's events.
Charachesicia Lockhart took the long jump (20-5), while Friday's triple jump winner, Sharika Smith of Western Kentucky, placed fourth.
U of L shot-putter Khadija Abdullah (52-9½ ) topped UK's Mary Angell (50-3½ ).
Rachel Gehret, a U of L senior with eligibility outdoors only, competed unattached and won the high jump (5-10½ ) over Cardinals junior Megan Schubert (5-9¼).
Central Florida ruled in the women's sprints. Auriyall Scott (23.35) and Dominique Booker (23.65) ran 1-2 in the 200 meters, ahead of two-time Olympian Dee Dee Trotter. Booker also won the 60 (7.29).