Sprinters Shine at Kentucky Invitational

Chase Cambell

Big Blue Nation showed up in bunches this weekend, not only supporting No. 6 UK men’s basketball in Rupp Arena, but also making it out to Nutter Field House to support the track and field team.

The Cats hosted the Kentucky Invitational, a two-day event that started Friday evening, where several schools from in and around the state participated. UK put on a dominant display across the event.

The runners opened their competition on Friday evening, where the women’s distance medley relay team finished an astounding 13 seconds ahead of the second place Ohio State team, starting their weekend off right.

Freshman sprinter Faith Ross opened up Saturday’s sprints with an easy win in the 60-meter hurdle preliminaries, along with a third place finish in the same event. She, however, is shooting for more in her first year.

“I’ve got to come back, refocus, and fix any flaws,” Ross said, after her finish in the 60m hurdles final. “Competing here at home is a great feeling, I’ve just got to take advantage.” Ross’ teammate, junior Jacklyn Howell, finished second, barely ahead of Ross.

Sprints weren’t the only thing the Cats excelled at, having first place finishes in the women’s high jump, the women’s and men’s mile, and several other events. In the men’s weight throw, all three Kentucky men finished in the top ten, and in the women’s pole vault, sophomore Olivia Gruver barely missed first place.

The only area UK seemed to have some consistent struggles was in their throwing, with only one thrower with a top three finish in four events. This, of course, doesn’t deter their spirit.

Throughout the entire meet, the throwers could always be found together, cheering each other on, smiles all around, even if their throws weren’t going the way they had hoped. One of the more exciting throwers was senior Brandi Walker, who, on Friday evening, was part of a fight for 3rd place that included five different throwers, eventually being taken by Cincinnati.

“It was all making sure I got three quality throws out there,” Walker said. “I’m better than I was last year at this meet.”

The encouraging team spirit seems to be flowing through the Cats, as they finished in the top three in just about half of the events at the invitational. The team faced some sturdy competition in the likes of Louisville, Ohio State, and even Arkansas State. This is a sign of great things to come, as UK is sure to improve throughout this young season.

The Cats’ track and field team will be back in action next Friday and Saturday, where they’ll face 11 other power conference teams, as well as UCF and Harvard at the Nutter Field House once again.