Added thoughts from NCAA Mideast track and field

May 31, 2009
… And a clarification
First, the clarification.
In the meet story that I wrote about Saturday’s Mideast Regional, I noted that Rashaud Scott’s winning discus throw of 216 feet, 2 inches broke the University of Kentucky record of 214-5, set by two-time Olympian Mike Buncic in 1986. My source: UK’s media guide.
However, a later check of UK’s meet notes, as well as the media guide listings of “top 10 marks” in each event, showed that Buncic threw 217-4.
Having actually written the story about Buncic’s record, I checked my personal files to find that … Buncic’s distance was 217-11, set in a UK all-comers meet on Aug. 14, 1985. His UK eligibility had ended two months earlier, but marks registered in the same season (summer) that an athlete’s eligibility expires are considered “collegiate” performances. The 217-11 broke Buncic’s previous best of 214-5, set in July 1985 at the National Sports Festival. And that surpassed Buncic’s best-ever throw in a college-only competition, 212-5.
So Sunday I asked Don Weber, UK’s coach then and now, which mark he considered to be Buncic’s school record. If the answer was 217-11, Scott would not have the UK record.
Weber’s answer: 214-5.
Here’s why.
The National Sports Festival (later called the U.S. Olympic Festival and now defunct) was a legitimate national competition with certified officials and procedures, and Buncic was technically still a collegian.
The 217-11 came in a backyard meet that welcomed everyone from toddlers to senior citizens, with an entry fee of 50 cents per event. And the distance was questionable.
Weber recalls that when he was called to the discus sector, Buncic’s throw had not been marked properly.
So now you know — Scott actually did break Buncic’s UK record of 214-5, set in 1985.

And now …

More from Saturday’s NCAA Mideast Regional Track and Field meet. (For meet story, see

You’ve got to love how the Kentucky men stepped up to take third place in the team standings. The top five in individual events, as well as the top three relays, automatically qualify for the NCAA Championships, June 10-13, at Arkansas.

The 20th-ranked Wildcats have been snake-bitten with injuries for most of the outdoor season, particularly in the sprints.

But there was Rondel Sorrillo, who didn’t even compete outdoors until the Southeastern Conference meet because of injuries, taking third place in the 200 meters and anchoring the second-place 4-by-100-meter relay.

Rondel Sorrillo

Rondel Sorrillo

“Better than SEC, but it still hurts,” said Sorrillo, who ran the 200 for Trinidad and Tobago at last summer’s Beijing Olympics — beating eventual gold-medal winner Usain Bolt in the first round. “It hurts, but I’m back.”

What hurts?

“My butt, my hamstrings, my calves,” he said. “Both legs.”

Jose Acevedo

Jose Acevedo

There was Jose Acevedo, who also ran the 200 at Beijing, representing Venezuela.

He ran second on the 4-by-100 relay, then anchored the third-place 4-by-400 relay. That despite a foot injury that, Coach Don Weber said, would have kept a less-determined sprinter out of the meet.

When Justin Austin went down at the Penn Relays, the Cats had to plug holes on both relays.

Also missing was Mikel Thomas, a 2008 Olympian for Trinidad and Tobago in the 110-meter hurdles. He suffered a broken collarbone during practice, a week-and-a-half ago.

Kwasi Obeng

Kwasi Obeng

Stephan Smith

Stephan Smith

Saturday, Kwasi Obeng did the job on the relays, running the third leg on the quick relay and leading off the 4-by-4.

Stephan Smith, a half-miler, filled in on the second leg of the 4-by-4.

“Considering the way we’ve been for most of the outdoor season, especially in our sprint group — hurt and banged up as much as we have been — it’s a great day,” Weber said. “Especially for those guys.”

Now, being off next weekend, the Cats will try to “maintain” fitness and continue the healing process.

Erin Tucker

Erin Tucker

Don Weber

Don Weber

“We can get a little bit better,” Weber said, “so that’s encouraging.”

In the 4-by-100, UK led through three legs. Obeng’s handoff to Sorrillo didn’t go too well, though, allowing 100-meter champion Trindon Holliday of LSU to be first out of the final exchange zone.

“Trindon … had the baton first because (Sorrillo) had to wait on Kwasi to get the baton,” said Erin Tucker, UK’s sprints and hurdles coach. “Anytime, the four-by-one, when you have to wait a little bit, you lose that acceleration and then you’ve got to start back up from square one. … You want to get the baton going full speed.”

The good news is that the problem was due in part to Sorrillo accelerating, finally, through the zone. By his own admission, Sorrillo had been deficient in that area during practice. And now Obeng and Sorrillo have nearly two weeks to work on the final exchange.

Gordon McKenzie

Gordon McKenzie

Tucker said Gordon McKenzie “ran an awesome leadoff leg. … Jose built off it. … Kwasi just looked like a superstar because he’s out in front. And then we had the little thing with Rondel.”

As good as the sprint results were, UK came out best in the weights.

Rashaud Scott, who won the shot put on Friday, added the discus title Saturday. Having successfully defended his regional title, Scott will try to repeat as national champion at Arkansas.

And consider this: all six of his throws Saturday were better than second-place finisher Greg Pilling of Central Michigan.

Pilling threw 197-2, two feet ahead of UK’s Chase Madison.

Rashaud Scott

Rashaud Scott

Scott’s incredible series:198-7, 203-7, 203-5, 206-11 1/2, 212-9 1/2 and 216-2. That final throw is now the regional and Cardinal Stadium record. Scott said he thinks he has “another meter or two” in him this season.

Madison, a senior who transferred in 2007 from Iowa State, can relate to UK’s sprinters.

At Iowa State, he broke a bone in his left foot. A titanium screw was inserted to fix the bone. It didn’t work.

Chase Madison

Chase Madison

When he arrived at UK for his entrance physical, “they said, ‘well, you’re either going to have to have another surgery on that thing to fix it because they did it totally incorrect, or you’re never going to throw again,’” Madison said when interviewed before last winter’s SEC Indoor Championships.

He opted for surgery, which involved taking bone from his ankle and grafting the bone to his foot. Oh, and four screws and a plate.

He went from June 2006 until April 2008 without throwing a disc in competition.

Now, he throws in pain. Look at his foot and you can actually see the plate and a screw sticking out from the bone. Pain limits his practice time, but he’s a believer in quality workouts over quantity. When he does throw, he throws with purpose.

Saturday, he said his pain was controlled as well as could be expected: “I had quite a bit of Aleve in me.”

“It’s nice to be back to a national meet. I haven’t been since 2006, since I’ve been hurt,” he said. “It was a decent day, I guess. Could have expected a lot more, could have been a lot worse. So, regroup and get ready for two weeks.”

U of L: A crown of Thorne’s
Corey Thorne

Corey Thorne

Louisville’s highlight Saturday came from Corey Thorne, who outkicked Eastern Michigan’s Josh Karanja to win the 3,000-meter steeplechase in a stadium-record 8:36.98. Karanja finished in 8:37.20.

“It’s going to be just like that at nationals,” Thorne said. “Whether it goes fast or slow, it’s going to come down to who has the best kick. So coming out here, it’s kind of like a trial.”

Ron Mann

Ron Mann

Head coach Ron Mann and distance coach Brice Allen prepared Thorne well.

“One of the things that Coach Allen and I have done over the last 10 days is doing a lot of speed work over the barriers, preparing for that last quarter,” Mann said. “Those barriers come up very quickly and you’ve got to be ready for it. He did a nice job of executing that.”

Tarah McKay

Tarah McKay

Jere' Summers

Jere' Summers

U of L also had two automatic qualifiers in women’s events.

Tarah McKay ran fourth at 1,500 meters. Jeré Summers, the surprise winner of Friday’s discus, took second in Saturday’s shot put.

McKay, a junior from St. Clements, Ontario, Canada, improved one spot from her regional finish of a year ago.

Summers, a junior from Oakland, Calif., is a two-time Most Outstanding Field Event Performer in the Big East.  She transferred to U of L after competing two indoor seasons and one outdoor season at Cal State Northridge.

WKU: Smellie is good
Gavin Smellie

Gavin Smellie

Western Kentucky senior Gavin Smellie won the men’s 200 meters, tying the Cardinal Park record of 20.45 seconds. (Auburn freshman Marcus Rowland was runner-up, followed by Sorrillo. Earlier, Rowland false-started out of the 100 meters, an event in which he was ranked No. 2 in the region and No. 4 in the nation.) 

Smellie, a Canadian, also led off the Hilltoppers’ second-place 4-by-400 relay and anchored the eighth-place 4-by-100 relay. The first seven spots in the quick relay went to Southeastern Conference schools, led by LSU and Kentucky.

Western’s women placed third in the 4-by-100 relay.

EKU: I go, you go, we all go for Mugo

Stanley Mugo

Stanley Mugo

Eastern Kentucky’s top finish of the day came from Stanley Mugo in the 3,000-meter steeplechase.


A junior from Kenya and the Ohio Valley Conference’s Co-Male Track Athlete of the Year, Mugo placed 10th.

By placing among the top 12 in the region, he still has a chance of receiving an at-large bid to the NCAA Championships (bids to be announced Tuesday). His time Saturday was 9:00.89. However, he ran 8:52.07 in April at the Penn Relays.
Regions and records

The Mideast, one of four regionals, is comprised of 167 teams from 12 states (Kentucky, Alabama, Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Ohio, Tennessee and Wisconsin).

Cardinal Park records were set in 22 of Saturday’s 28 events. Two others were tied, and another was negated because it was wind-aided.
































































































UK’s Scott was among five athletes setting regional records, and the only male.  

Phoebe Wright

Phoebe Wright

Women’s meet records went to: 

* U.S. Olympic Trials champion Kara Patterson of Purdue, who won javelin for the fourth year in a row, this time at 192-1.

* Two-time defending NCAA champ Tiffany Ofili of Michigan, 12.96 in the 100-meter hurdles.

* Tennessee former walk-on and now top-ranked Phoebe Wright, 2:02.20 in the 800.

* Middle Tennessee State’s Sarah Nambawa, ranked second nationally, with a triple jump of 45-9.

SEC T&F: Arkansas lead team races

February 28, 2009

Arkansas leads both the men’s and women’s standings heading into Sunday’s final day of competition.

The Razorback men have 37 points, followed by Florida (33), Tennessee (32), Auburn (25), South Carolina (19), Alabama (14), Ole Miss (12), Georgia (11), then Kentucky and LSU (6 each).

The Arkansas women lead LSU 45-32, with Kentucky next at 28. Then it’s Tennessee (25), Mississippi State (19), Florida (18), Alabama (10 1/2), Ole Miss (10), Auburn (3), South Carolina (2 1/2) and Georgia (2).

The final two events on Saturday’s schedule saw Tennessee’s Sarah Bowman win the women’s 3,000 meters for a third consecutive year, holding off teammate Jackie Areson 9:21.66 to 9:24.34. Bowman will go for three-peats Sunday in the mile and distance medley relay.

Tennessee sophomore Michael Ayers, after taking over first place in the pole vault, finished strong in the 1,000 meters to take the men’s heptathlon with 5,717 points. Gray Horn of Florida was second (5,586), followed by 1,000-meter winner Scott Pierce of South Carolina (2:33.46, 5,325) and first-day leader Curt McGill (5,292) of Carolina.

Ulrey sprints away in 3,000 meters

 A Nutter Field House record fell as Arkansas junior Dorian Ulrey won the men’s 3,000 meters in 7:55.56.

That broke the Nutter record of 7:59.25 set in 2004 by another Arkansas distance dominator, Alistair Craig, and missed the SEC record by a mere half-second.

Shawn Forrest made it a 1-2 finish for the Razorbacks, timed in 7:56.45. Alabama’s Tyson David was third in 7:57.07. Kentucky freshman Luis Orta took 11th in 8:22.34.

Ulrey was content to sit in the middle of the pack for most of the race. He was still in fourth with one lap left on the 290-meter oval. With a little more than 200 meters left, he burst off the curve to gain the lead, never to be caught.

The Razorbacks lead through four men’s events with 35 points. Florida is second with 25, one ahead of Auburn. Tennessee is fourth with 22. Kentucky remains eighth with six points.

Meanwhile, Tennessee’s Michael Ayers won the heptathlon pole vault by clearing 16-10 3/4.

Picking up 957 points, Ayers leads Florida’s Gray Horn, 4,919-4,784, with only the 1,000 meters left. South Carolina’s Curt McGill dropped from first to third place with 4,729, clearing 13-3 1/2 for eighth in the vault.

Henry advances with season-best 200

Top-seeded Samantha Henry of LSU notched a season-best 23.61 to lead nine qualifiers into Sunday’s finals of the women’s 200 meters. Florida freshman Alishea Usery qualified second in 23.62.

Kentucky’s lone entrant, Jazmyn Shorter, did not advance. She finished 16th overall in 24.68.

Lawrence rocks; 2 Cats in 200-meter finals

Fabulous freshman Torrin Lawrence of Georgia lived up to his top billing in men’s 200-meter preliminaries, blasting a 20.90 to lead the way into Sunday’s finals

Justin Austin

Justin Austin

Two more freshmen followed — Auburn’s Marcus Rowland (20.96) and Arkansas’ Marek Niit.

Withthe nine fastest times from nine heats, regardless of heat placement, advancing to the finals, Kentucky put two sprinters in the finals. Freshman Justin Austin won his heat in 21.08 and senior Jose Acevedo took second in his heat (behind Florida’s Evander Wells) in 21.11, placing the Wildcats sixth and seventh overall.

Rondel Sorrillo, UK’s Olympian from Trinidad and Tobago, easily won his heat in 21.25. Due to not having a qualifying mark, though, he was placed in the slowest heat and was unable to advance, 12th overall. Runner-up Neil Danville of Auburn finished more than a seconed behind in 22.44.

Thomas cruises into 800 finals

Defending champion LaTavia Thomas of LSU breezed through qualifying in the women’s 800, fourth overall in 2:08.03.

Sofie Persson of Ole Miss led the rounds in 2:07.08, followed by Chanelle Price of Tennessee in 2:07.16.

Kentucky’s Jessica Ortman, who advanced in the mile earlier Saturday, made it 2-for-2 with the seventh-best 800 time, 2:08.95.

Franklin sets pace in 800 trials

Tennessee’s Joe Franklin led qualifying for Sunday’s finals in the men’s 800 meters.

Franklin finished in 1:49.35. Carlos Phillips was next in 1:49.35, leading a group of three Florida Gators to the finals.

Kentucky failed to advance a runner. Freshman Mike Knisley and Trent Halasek placed 15-16 in 1:53.31 and 1:53.92; sophomore Matt Frawley was 19th in 1:54.70.

Ole Miss soph leads 400-meter trials

Ole Miss sophomore LaJada Baldwin posted the fastest qualifying time in the women’s 400 meters, 53.38.

Auburn’s Joanna Atkins was next (53.42), followed by Nadonnia Rodriques, who led a pack of four South Carolinians into Sunday’s finals.

Kentucky’s Jazmyn Shorter was fastest of the non-qualifiers, 10th overall in 55.16. Freshman Brittany Cabbler tied for 17th in 56.84.

Acevedo advances to 400 finals

Jose Acevedo

Jose Acevedo

Calvin Smith

of Florida turned in the fastest qualifying time in the men’s 400 meters, 46.64.

Robert Simmons of LSU and Jose Acevedo of Kentucky, 1-2 in their heat at 46.74 and 46.98, rank 2-3 overall. Next is defending champion Justin Gaymon of Arkansas in 47.29.

Bowman is fastest in mile prelims

To no surprise, Tennessee’s Sarah Bowman led qualifying in the women’s mile. Bowman is attempting to win the mile, 3,000 and distance medley, each for a third consecutive year.

She won Saturday’s heat in 4:49.46, followed by teammate Rolanda Bell in 4:50.94.

Kentucky’s Jessica Ortman advanced, placing second in the other heat in 4:52.97. Florida’s Charlotte Browning won that race in 4:51.98.

Panezich moves Vols into second

A win in the shot put by Nick Panezich has moved Tennessee into second place in the men’s team standings.

Florida now leads the Volunteers 25-22. Arkansas is third with 14. Kentucky notched its first six points of the meet, good for eighth place.

Panezich won with the first of his six attempts, measured at 60-10 1/2. South Carolina’s Jason Cook was second at 6-3.

For Kentucky, Rashaud Scott placed fifth (59-5 1/2), Chase Madison seventh (58-8). Colin Boevers fouled all three of his qualifying attempts.

Scott and Madison both got their best throws in the first round. Scott fouled four of his final five chances, while Madison fouled all of his final five tries.

Arkansas men dominate mile prelims

The Arkansas men took a big step in their title chase, qualifying four individuals for Sunday’s finals in the mile.

Top-seeded Dorian Ulrey led Saturday’s preliminaries in 4:06.51. Teammates Duncan Phillips (4:06.63) and Michael Chinchar gave the Razorbacks a 1-2-3 sweep in the heat. Sixth in that race went to Arkansas frosh Rick Elliott (4:12.18). Auburn’s Felix Kiboiywo took the second heat in 4:09.07.

Kentucky advanced one of its three entrants to the finals, Adam Henken (4:11.77). Eliminated were Josh Nadzam (13th, 4:15.47) and Will Rover (15th, 4:17.09).

Through two men’s finals, Florida leads Arkansas 16-14. Tennessee and Ole Miss are tied with 12.

After three women’s finals, Kentucky leads LSU 27-23, followed by Arkansas with 16.

Sorrillo debuts with fastest 60-meter time

A couple more winners and a sensational qualifier have things hopping in Nutter.

Rondel Sorillo

Rondel Sorillo


freshman Christian Taylor lived up to his top billing in the long jump, reaching 25-3 1/2 to edge defending champion Alain Bailey of Arkansas by 1 3/4 inches.



Another defending champ from Arkansas, Katie Stripling, came far shy of her season-leading 14-3 1/4 in the pole vault. She came in at 12-9 1/2, then missed all three tries at 13-1 1/2, placing eighth.

LSU freshman Rachel Laurent won the vault with an NCAA automatic qualifier of 14-0 1/2. Tara Diebold and Tina Sutej of Arkansas placed 2-3, each clearing 13-5.

The sensational qualifier?

Rondell Sorrillo, a junior transfer who was making his Kentucky and NCAA debut.

Sorrillo, who competed for Trinidad and Tobago in the 200 meters at the Beijing Olympics, exploded in 60-meter prelims with an NCAA-automatic time of 6.60 seconds. LSU football player Trindon Holliday, ranked second in the NCAA,  was next fastest in 6.65.

Sorrillo, Holliday, Auburn’s Marcus Rowland (6.68) and South Carolina’s Jonathan Hancock (6.68) were the heat winners. UK freshman Justin Austin was among the others advancing to Sunday’s finals, timed in 6.73. Gordon McKenzie came up two places short of advancing, timed in 6.78.

The women’s 60 featured NCAA-automatic times in each of three heats: LSU’s Samantha Henry (7.19) and South Carolina teammates Kya Brookins (7.22) and Shayla Mahan (7.23).

Gamecocks roll in heptathlon hurdles

Friday, South Carolina heptathletes won three events outright and tied for first in another.

The Gamecocks have kept it going Saturday. Teammates Curt McGill and Eddie Stoudemire each cleared the 60-meter hurdles in 8.21 seconds, winning the event with 930 points each.

McGill continues to lead the overall standings with 4,098 points. Florida freshman Gray Horn is second with 4,009, followed by Tennessee’s Michael Ayers with 3,962.

Kentucky freshman Kevin Carney withdrew due to a leg injury that occurred Friday.

Preliminary races saw South Carolina’s Jason Richards qualify first in the men’s 60-meter hurdles, 7.78. Kentucky’s Mikel Thomas was next at 7.81, a hundredth of a second ahead of Florida’s Dennis Martin.

South Carolina’s Ronnetta Alexander had the quickest time in the women’s hurdles, 8.20. Kentucky’s Ashley Trimble, winner of Friday’s pentathlon, just missed advancing to the nine-woman finals. Her time of 8.61 ranked 10th.

Vols’ Wilson lifts off in high jump

Tennessee junior Brenard Wilson became the first men’s champion of the SEC meet, edging Auburn freshman Ryan Fleck in the high jump.

Brenard Wilson

Brenard Wilson

Wilson and Fleck each cleared 7-0 1/2, with Wilson winning because of fewer misses.

Three more freshman placed 3-4-5, all clearing 6-11 — Florida’s Frankie Hammond, Ole Miss’ Brian Knight and Alabama’s Tyler Cambell.

UK freshman Spencer Patterson placed 12th, clearing 6-5.

Through one men’s event, Tennessee leads Auburn 10-8. Points are awarded to the top seven finishers — 10-8-6-5-4-3-1.

After two women’s finals, Kentucky leads Mississippi State 27-14. Ole Miss is third with 10, one ahead of LSU.

One Ole Miss Smith upends two UK Smiths

Kentucky was hoping to get off with a bang Saturday, the second day of the Southeastern Conference Indoor Track and Field Championships.

Juliana Smith

Juliana Smith

Kristin Smith

Kristin Smith

The Wildcats came in with the top two seeds in the women’s 20-pound weight throw, Heather and Kristin — the unrelated Smiths.

Through four rounds in UK’s Nutter Field House, Kristin led (61-11 1/4) and Heather was in second (59-11 3/4).

But it was yet another Smith, Ole Miss sophomore Juliana, stealing the top spot with her fifth-round toss of 62-2 3/4.

Kristin Smith fouled her final two attempts and finished second.

Heather Smith

Heather Smith

Heather Smith finished with a pair of 60-footers, the best a 60-10 3/4 in the fifth round, and placed third.