LEXINGTON, Ky. – Kendra Harrison added two gold medals in the 100 and 400 meter hurdles to her hardware collection and 20 points on the final day of the 2014 Track & Field Southeastern Conference Championships hosted by the University of Kentucky.
Harrison became the first athlete to win both the 100 and 400 meter hurdles at the SEC Championships since South Carolina’s Ellakisha Williamson in 1999. Harrison blazed through the 100 meter hurdles in a time of 12.86 to win a gold medal and score 10 points for the Wildcats. The win for Harrison marks her second SEC title after winning the indoor 60 meter hurdles earlier this season. Taking fourth in the event was Harrison’s teammate Kayla Parker who finished in a time of 13.34.
Harrison registered her second gold medal of the day in the 400 meter hurdles. She scorched the field with a school-record time of 54.76 seconds. The Clayton, N.C., native tallied 20 points for UK.
The UK women finished in fourth place in the final team standings with 104 points. Arkansas won the team title with 123 points, while Florida took second with 116.50 points. The fourth place finish marks the first time since 1983, when there were only seven teams in the league, that the Wildcats placed fourth or higher.
In the men’s team standings, UK finished sixth with 65.50 points. Texas A&M took home the team championship with 155 points and Arkansas placed second with 116.50 points. UK’s sixth place finish is the highest placing since 1996.
“Some people responded and really stepped up to the pressure and we had a really good go at it early," head coach Edrick Floréal said. "Had a lot of momentum and then it sort of fizzled out and I guess it became contagious and then we sort of fell apart at the end of it. But towards the middle, the first few events, it was clear we were going to go for something.
"We always want to do well here at home. That’s kind of the No. 1 goal. You want to defend your turf. And anytime you got any chance to do anything, not getting top three, it’s always like an opportunity missed. But other than that we just gotta keep growing as a team.”
The Wildcats began the day in spectacular fashion on both the men's and women's side, before finishing with respectable team finishes. Ray Dykstra won the first event of the day -- the javelin -- before the UK women's 4x100m relay thrilled a sizeable home crowd with a second-place photo finish. 3,184 fans were in attendance on Sunday, giving the 2014 SEC Outdoor Championships a three-day attendance total 8,568 (Thursday had free attendance and no tickets).
The top three teams in the country in the women’s 4x100 meter relay were on display to kick off the running events on the final day of the SEC Championship. The third-ranked Wildcats were in a three-way battle with the top-ranked Texas A&M Aggies and second-ranked Florida Gators as the three teams finished within .09 seconds of each other. UK’s team of Dominique Booker, Dezerea Bryant, Tamyah Pipkin and Keilah Tyson would claim silver and eight points, setting a new school record time of 43.25. Texas A&M just edged out UK with a time of 43.20, while Florida finished third with a time of 43.29.
Bryant added to her already loaded medal collection with a bronze medal in the 100 meter dash. She crossed the finish line in a time of 11.24 (+1.3) seconds. Finishing a spot behind Bryant was Tyson with a time of 11.32 (+1.3). The pair scored 11 points for Kentucky.
Bryant, Tyson and Booker then all competed in the women’s 200 meter dash with Bryant claiming silver and eight points with a time of 22.68 (-0.8). Tyson scored three points in a sixth place finish with a time of 23.41 (-0.8), while Booker finished seventh (two points) in a time of 23.59 (-0.8).
In the final women’s event of the competition, the UK 4x400 meter relay team of Harrison, Bryant, Sha’Keela Saunders and Angelica Whaley placed fourth in a loaded field.
Allison Peare claimed a school record mark of 4:15.14 en route to a silver medal in the women’s 1,500 meter run. Peare added another silver later in the afternoon in the women’s 800 meter with a time of 2:04.13, which tied a school record. The senior contributed 16 points on the final day of competition with the two silver medals.
Kentucky scored eight more points in the women’s discus after Madison Jacobs won a silver medal with a throw of 53.52 meters/175-feet 7 inches.
Cally Macumber placed sixth in the women’s 5,000 meter with a time of 16:07.50, giving UK three more points.
Raymond Dykstra set a new facility record on his way to a gold medal in the javelin with a mark of 76.45 meters/250-feet 10 inches. Dykstra extended his school record in the event after previously setting it at 250-feet 2 inches.
In the men’s 1,5000 meter race, a pair of Wildcats recorded gold and bronze medals, as Keffri Neal took first with a time of 3:48.69 and Matt Hillenbrand coming in third with a time of 3:49.68. The duo hauled in a combined 16 points for the UK men’s team in the event. Neal later scored a point with an eighth place finish in the men’s 800 meter final with a time of 1:52.74.
Nick Anderson finished fourth in a stacked field of the men’s 110 meter hurdles. Anderson finished with a time of 13.93 seconds.
In the men’s shot put final, Bradley Szypka scored five points for UK with a fourth place finish and a top throw of 19.58 meters/64-feet 3 inches.
Charles Moushey and Michael Jensen combined to score four points for the men in the pole vault. Moushey tied for fifth to score 3.5 points after clearing 5.15 meters/16-feet 10 ¾ inches. Jensen finished eighth after vaulting 5.00 meters/16-feet 4 ¾ inches.