Harrison and Gruver have record-setting days at McCravy Memorial Meet


Edrick Floreal coaches the track team in Lexington, Ky.,on Monday, September 8, 2014. Photo by Michael Reaves

Chase Campbell

The UK indoor track team, hosted what is possibly the biggest indoor track meet on Friday and Saturday, featuring powerhouse competition, including almost 40 of last season’s First Team All-Americans.

The McCravy Memorial Meet has become a meet in the national spotlight as a springboard for the beginning of the indoor season, and this meet was no exception, as the Cats battled with schools like No. 13 Baylor, No. 20 Penn State, No. 7/5 Texas, and No. 6/4 Southern California. At a meet with national implications, the Cats made sure to give their best.

After starting the home indoor season in impressive fashion last week at the Kentucky Invitational, the Cats were determined to show up against more intense competition.

Senior sprinter Nick Anderson made it very clear how big this meet always is.

“We’ve got big teams that come here and compete,” Anderson said. “We always try to come here and hit our national marks.”

The day began with Ibn Short taking the lead at the two-day Heptathlon, which he would go on to win the second day. Immediately after, men’s high jumpers Tim Duckworth, Xaivier McAllister and Justin Kretchmer placed second, third and fourth respectively in their event. McAllister and Duckworth both reached the same height as the winner, at 7 feet, 0.25 inches.

The highlight of Friday, however, was surely Olivia Gruver’s record pole vaulting performance. Competing against a slew of All-Americans, Gruver vaulted to a new UK indoor record of 14 feet, 1.25 inches, finishing second only to Baylor’s elite All-American Annie Rhodes. Gruver tied her personal record with this vault, which equals the UK outdoor vaulting record.

Saturday began with the women’s 60-meter hurdles, in which UK alum, two-time NCAA individual champion and Nutter Field House record holder Kendra Harrison made an appearance. Harrison flew through the races with ease, setting another new Nutter Field House record of 7.75, three hundredths of a second away from the American record, setting the third-fastest time in American history. The outdoor 100-meter hurdles world record holder is surely eyeing the indoor record this season as well.

The UK sprinters took care of business, with Anderson winning the 60-meter hurdles, and Javianne Oliver winning the women’s 60-meter dash.

The distance was something that every team seemed to struggle with, as every team’s times seemed to fall short of their expectations. The winner of the men’s mile, Ole Miss junior Sean Tobin, ran 4:01, and everyone seemed to fall behind on their usual distance time, and it was a funk they couldn’t quite seem to get out of. It must have had to be compensation for the high-flying excitement of the earlier competitions.

The UK track team will compete again next weekend in Bloomington, Indiana, for the IU relays.