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Ex-Cat, current Kentucky star entered in U.S. Olympic Trials’ deepest event

Kendra Harrison, right, cleared the last hurdle ahead of Tiffany Porter, left, and the rest of the field on her way to a win in the 100-meter hurdles at the Prefontaine Classic in Eugene, Ore., on May 28. Her time set an American record of 12.24 seconds, the second-fastest ever.
Kendra Harrison, right, cleared the last hurdle ahead of Tiffany Porter, left, and the rest of the field on her way to a win in the 100-meter hurdles at the Prefontaine Classic in Eugene, Ore., on May 28. Her time set an American record of 12.24 seconds, the second-fastest ever. AP

Kentucky will have two rooting interests when heats begin Thursday for the women’s 100-meter hurdles at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials for track and field at Eugene, Ore.

UK freshman Jasmine Camacho-Quinn, who won the NCAA championship in the 100 hurdles last month, and Kendra Harrison, a former UK hurdler who won the NCAA title in the event in 2015, are among 35 athletes who have declared their intent to compete Thursday.

The first round of heats will start at 8:02 p.m. EDT on Thursday. The semifinals will be at 6:58 p.m. and the finals at 8:54 p.m. on Friday. Thursday’s heats may be viewed online only at NBCsports.com/live. Friday’s semifinals will be shown on NBC Sports Network with the finals on NBC.

Harrison’s qualifying mark of 12.24 seconds is the best in the field and the current American record. Camacho-Quinn’s 12.69 ranks eighth. The top three finishers advance to the Olympic Games in August in Brazil.

“My coach (UK’s Edrick Floreal) has been telling me I could run that fast, and even faster, so to see my hard work and that I actually ran that fast was great,” Harrison said during her pre-Trials news conference.

The women’s 100 hurdles is one of America’s deepest events. The five fastest times in the world this year have all been posted by U.S. hurdlers. The field includes 2008 Beijing Olympic gold medalist Dawn Harper-Nelson and Brianna Rollins, the 2013 world outdoor champion.

Should Camacho-Quinn qualify for the U.S. squad, she’ll have a decision to make. She has already accepted a spot on Puerto Rico’s Olympic team. Her mother, Maria, is Puerto Rican, making her eligible for that country as well. Camacho-Quinn is the sister of Los Angeles Rams Pro Bowl defensive end Robert Quinn.

“I’d have to choose between Puerto Rico and the U.S. It’d have to be quick,” Camacho-Quinn told The Post and Courier in her hometown of Charleston, S.C, last month. “I really kind of declared for Puerto Rico, so if I did make the U.S. team, that would kind of be wrong (to change sides).”

Two other Cats in action Thursday

Two other athletes with UK ties will take their turns at the Olympic Trials on Thursday.

Junior Kiah Seymour runs in the women’s 400 hurdles at 8:58 p.m. EDT. Andrew Evans, a 2014 UK graduate, competes in the discus throw at 9 p.m.

On Friday, senior Nick Anderson runs in the 110 hurdles at 6:02 p.m.

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