‘Cats qualify 11 in women’s NCAA Track and Field preliminaries


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Hunter Shelton

After multiple top-tier performances in Jacksonville, the Kentucky women’s track and field team will carry 11 entries into the NCAA Championships in June.

Saturday saw the conclusion of the East Preliminaries competition at Hodges Stadium at the University of North Florida, and while there were no team scores, the Wildcat logo was a prevalent feature near the top of the leader boards. The top 12 finishers in each event advanced to the NCAA Championships, which are set to take place from June 9-12. in Eugene, OR.

It would be sophomore Annika Williams who set the tone for the Cats, as her jump of 5’11.5”/1.82 meters in the high jump propelled her into a spot in nationals.

The first running event of the day would see one of two Wildcat relay teams punch their ticket to Eugene, as the 4×100 team of Shadajah Ballard, Celera Barnes, Dajour Miles and Megan Moss cashed in a season best time of 43.7 seconds.

Before the second relay unit would qualify, freshman Tori Herman would steal the show in the 1500 meters, as she snatched the school record with a time of 4:14.12. The time barely bested the previous record of 4:14.91 that belonged to Allison Peare, which she set in 2014.

The Cats would cap off the running events with their second relay qualification, as the 4×400 team of Masai Russell, Megan Moss, Faith Ross and Dajour Miles clocked in with a time of 3:31.81, placing seventh in the event.

Along the way Celera Barnes finished in ninth in the 100m dash with a time of 11.25, a season-best for the senior.

Megan Moss collected a top-five time in Wildcat history in the 400m dash. Coming in at 52.13 seconds, the sophomore squeaked into qualification as she finished 12th in the event.

Faith Ross and Masai Russell would each qualify in both the 100m and 400m hurdles. Ross would score a 12.93 in the 100m, while Russell would grab a time of 12.90. In the 400m, Russell would again just edge her teammate, finishing with a time of 57.25 compared to Ross’ 57.52.

Joining Saturday’s qualifiers is Molly Leppelmeier, who qualified to nationals on Thursday in the hammer throw.

The 11 entries will join the men’s 13, as the Wildcats head to Eugene with plentiful opportunities to place in the national meet June 9-12.