UK Track earns championship honors

Erika Bonner

The University of Kentucky Women’s Track and Field team came in top five in the NCAA championships over the weekend, placing 4th overall with a score of 46. The UK Men’s Track and Field team came in the top 20, tying for 16th place with a score of 16.

As if freshman Sydney McLaughlin hadn’t already proved she was one of the best in the country, she placed first in the 400-meter hurdles with a time of 53.96 in the championship. With the first-place finish, she earned herself her first NCAA trophy.

Jasmine Camacho-Quinn earned a gold for Kentucky as she placed first after trailing behind in the 100-meter hurdles. Her time was 12.70 seconds, making for her second collegiate championship.

Although the pouring rain during the race could’ve been an obstacle, Camacho-Quinn didn’t let that get in the way of her championship.

“The rain just started coming down harder,” said Camacho-Quinn in her post-race interview. “I just stayed focused.”

McLaughlin and Camacho-Quinn were both part of UK’s 4×400 relay, which finished fourth overall with a time of 3:30.52.

While McLaughlin picked up her first title, junior pole vaulter Olivia Gruver also defended her gold honor Thursday. Gruver cleared 14’11”/4.55m for her second NCAA win.

Other finalists were Katy Kunc, who placed 12th in the steeplechase final with a 10:09.04 time, and Ellen Elkholm who competed in the women’s high jump final, placing 10th.

Adding six points to the women’s team’s score was Marie-Josee Ebwea-Bile, who placed third in the triple jump with a 44’9.75”/13.66m finish.

The weekend also brought a piece of history for the UK track and field team– Tim Duckworth scored 8,336 to become Kentucky’s first UK NCAA decathlon champion. Duckworth has also become just the second man in NCAA Track and Field history to win the indoor heptathlon and outdoor decathlon in the same year.

This makes for the second year in a row and the third time in the last four years that the women’s team placed on the podium.