Posted: Jan 26, 2013 10:34 PM
Kentucky fans inside Nutter Field House witnessed a mostly ho-hum day of results on Saturday. That is until the final four events on the program.
Without an individual or relay victory over two days at the Rod McCravy Memorial Meet, by late Saturday afternoon it was looking as though the women's 3,000 meters would be the Wildcats' best - if not only - shot at a top finish.
In reality the race did not disappoint nor did the rest of the day as the Wildcats would go on to win three events - all within the final hour of the meet
"We are still yet a work and progress," head coach Edrick Floreal said. "There are a few people who are really moving forward. The people who have already made up their mind to be great continue to be great, but we need some more.
"We still have more people with a lot of potential that just need to make up their mind. Decide to dare to be great. Dare to take that leap of faith to see what they're made of, but I remain resilient. We are going to find a way to do this."
Cally Macumber continued her assault on the Kentucky record books as she won the 3K, breaking the Nutter Field House record in personal record time.
Macumber and her fellow cross country All-American Chelsea Oswald treated the crowd to one of the best runs in the nation this season. Macumber's time of 9:10.34 is currently the fastest 3K in the nation this season as of Saturday evening. The performance is also the third-best in school history.
Oswald's second-place time of 9:19.01 also broke the McCravy Meet record and is No. 7 in the country.
With five entries in the heat, the Wildcats boasted the class of the field, and before the gun even sounded meet announcer Dennis McNulty told the crowd as much. More importantly women's distance coach Hakon DeVries took advantage of the depth.
"I was really pleased with all four of the girls (Macumber, Oswald, Anna Bostrom and Hiruni Wijayaratne)," DeVries said. "All of them got PRs. Cally got the facility record and the third fastest time in school history. There's a really rich history of women's distance running here, and there's definitely more to come out of all four of them.
"It's definitely setting ourselves up well to progress through the season, and hopefully do some big things for the team at SECs."
Allison Peare paced her teammates out to a lead from the first lap going out so fast that by the 1K split it was clearly a two person race between Macumber and Oswald.
The All-American duo kept pushing one another, so hard in fact, that by the 2K split it was clear that the facility record would be brought into question.
Macumber answered the question emphatically heading down the final straightaway. The indoor senior accelerated to open her lead, and kicked with everything she had to set a new Nutter record, and by extension shatter the McCravy meet ceiling by more than 11 seconds.
The excitement of the women's race seemed to inspire the men's distance runners. Matt Hillenbrand was next on the track in the men's 3K and he won in his first collegiate race at that distance with a time of 8:10.04. The time ranks ninth-fastest in the nation as of Saturday evening.
The women's 4x400 meter relay team then made it three straight race wins as Angelica Whaley, Shiara Robinson, Devinn Cartwright and Morganne Phillips took their heat comfortably in 3:43.81 as the time stood up through four more flights.
Kayla Parker took third in the women's 60-meter hurdles, and was the second-highest collegiate finisher as she set a new PR 8.38 in the prelims.
Kadeem Kushimo boasted some impressive finishes considering his busy schedule of events on Saturday as he placed second with a PR 6.75 in the men's 60m and fourth in the 400m. He was also part of a men's 4x400 team also featuring Ben Mason, Keith Hayes and Brandon Bagley that won its heat.
The Kentucky throwers continued a strong string of placements to start the season as Bradley Szypka and Isiah Kent went 2-3 in the shot put. Szypka threw 18.12m/59-05.5 and Kent threw 17.59m/57-0.0.
The meet is named in honor of its namesake, a former Kentucky track athlete who died in 1987 at the age of 19 while sleeping in his dorm room.
Only a sophomore at the time of his passing, McCravy had already become one of the team's leaders. A social work major, Rod is remembered as a dedicated, enthusiastic athlete who was a conscientious student and outstanding human being. He set the then-UK freshman record in the 400 hurdles and finished sixth at the TAC National Junior Championships. A meet named in Rod's honor enables the Kentucky track and field family to remember him, as well as provide an on-going opportunity to speak to UK athletes about his impact on the program and those he surrounded.