UK track men jump to 11th in final national poll; Rashaud Scott is region Field Athlete of Year

June 9, 2009

The University of Kentucky men’s team jumped from 20th to No. 11 in the final U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association poll of the season. The NCAA Outdoor Championships open Wednesday at the University of Arkansas and continue through Saturday.

Texas A&M moved from No. 2 to No. 1 in the final poll. Oregon also moved up a spot to No. 2, followed by four Southeastern Conference squads — previously top-ranked Florida, Arkansas (up from 6), LSU (up from 8th) and South Carolina. In all, the SEC has eight of the top 20 teams. 

Texas A&M also moved from No. 2 to No. 1 in the women’s poll, switching places with Oregon. Third is LSU, which leads five SEC teams in the top 20.

UK has the top-ranked women’s team from the state, improving from No. 34 to 32.

The UK men are led by Rashaud Scott, the Field Athlete of the Year in the Southeast Region (see below). He is coming off a sweep of regional shot put and discus titles and is defending NCAA champion in the latter event. He is ranked No. 1 in the discus and No. 8 in the shot. Teammate Chase Madison is No. 7 in the discus.

In addition, the Wildcats qualified in both the 4-by-100 and 4-by-400 relays, ranking sixth and 12th, respectively.

Rondel Sorrillo, who anchors the 4-by-100 unit, also made it in the 100 (ranked No. 22) and 200 (No. 5).

Louisville’s men improved from 37th to 29th in the team rankings. The Cardinals are led by a pair of top 10-ranked athletes — Corey Thorne, No. 2 in the steeplecase, and Tone Belt, No. 6 in the high jump.

Western Kentucky jumped 14 spots to No. 37. The Hilltoppers are led by Gavin Smellie, ranked No. 2 in the 200, and Mandhla Mgijima, No. 7 in the long jump.

Eastern Kentucky moved from No. 163 to 137. The Colonels’ lone NCAA qualifier is 5,000-meter runner Joseph Maina (No. 27).

UK’s women have four NCAA qualifiers, all ranked 17th or better: Ashley Muffet (No. 4, discus), Kristin Smith (No. 7, hammer throw), Ashley Trimble (No. 11, heptathlon) and Emilee Strot (No. 17, discus).

Louisville is ranked No. 35, an improvement of 14 spots. The Cards are led by Jere’ Summers, who ranks sixth in the discus and 10th in the shot.

Western Kentucky jumped 19 spots to No. 53. Janet Jesang, No. 5 at 5,000 meters, leads the Hilltoppers.

The final team rankings:


1. Texas A&M

2. Oregon

3. LSU

4. Arizona State

5. Tennessee

6. Florida State; 7. Southern Cal; 8. Penn State; 9. Baylor; 10. Texas.

11. Michigan; 12. UCLA; 13. Miami (Fla.); 14. Florida; 15. Washington.

16. UTEP; 17. Oklahoma; 18. Arkansas; 19. Nebraska; 20. Auburn.

21. Illinois; 22. Virginia Tech; 23. Indiana; 24. BYU; 25. Stanford.


1. Texas A&M

2. Oregon

3. Florida

4. Arkansas

5. LSU

6. South Carolina; 7. So. Cal; 8. Stanford; 9. Nebraska; 10. Ariz. State.

11. KENTUCKY; 12. Fla. State; 13. Miss. State; 14. Texas; 15. Auburn.

16. Minnesota; 17. Kansas State; 18. Texas; 19. Baylor; 20. Georgia.

21. Wash.; 22. Arizona; 23. Cal; 24. Boise State; 25. Wash. State.

Division I regional athletes and coaches of the year

Rashaud Scott

Rashaud Scott

Erik Jenkins

Erik Jenkins

Kentucky shot put/discus ace Rashaud Scott has been named by the USTFCCCA as men’s Field Athlete of the Year in the Southeast Region.

Western Kentucky’s Erik Jenkins was named Women’s Head Coach of the Year in the Southeast Region.

The full list of award winners follows.

Name (school) region

Tiffany Ofili

Tiffany Ofili

Women’s trackTiffany Ofili (Michigan) Great Lakes; Clara Grandt (West Virginia) Mid-Atlantic; Angela Bizzari (Illinois) Midwest; Jenny Barringer (Colorado) Mountain; Danette Doetzel (Providence) Northeast; Murielle Ahoure (Miami, Fla.) South; Porscha Lucas (Texas A&M) South Central; Francena McCorory (Hampton) Southeast; Charonda Williams (Arizona State) West.

Destinee Hooker

Destinee Hooker

Women’s fieldKara Patterson (Purdue) Great Lakes; Gayle Hunter (Penn State) Mid-Atlantic; Liz Roehrig (Minnesota) Midwest; Blessing Okagbare (UTEP) Mountain; Tahari James (Boston U.) Northeast; Kim Williams (Florida State) South; Destinee Hooker (Texas) South Central; Dorotea Habazin (Virginia Tech); Southeast; Sarah Stevens (Arizona State) West.

Trindon Holliday

Trindon Holliday

Men’s trackAdam Harris (Michigan) Great Lakes; Sean Tully (Villanova) Mid-Atlantic; German Fernandez (Oklahoma State) Midwest; Gil Roberts (Texas Tech) Mountain; Kyle Heath (Syracuse) Northeast; Calvin Smith (Florida) South; Trindon Holliday (LSU) South Central; Sam Chelanga (Liberty) Southeast; Galen Rupp (Oregon) West.

Aston Eaton

Aston Eaton

Men’s fieldDerek Drouin (Indiana) Great Lakes; Clarence Smith (Penn State) Mid-Atlantic; Will Claye (Oklahoma) Midwest; Dimitrios Fylladitakis (UTEP) Mountain; Nico Weiler (Harvard) Northeast; Chris Hill (Georgia) South; Jason Colwick (Rice) South Central; RASHAUD SCOTT (KENTUCKY) Southeast; Ashton Eaton (Oregon) West.

T. Buford-Bailey

T. Buford-Bailey

Women’s head coachJames Henry (Michigan) Great Lakes; Beth Alford-Sullivan (Penn State) Mid-Atlantic; Tonja Buford-Bailey (Illinois) Midwest; Wes Kittley (Texas Tech) Mountain; Bill Morgan (Connecticut) Northeast; Caryl Smith Gilbert (Central Florida) South; Jim Bevan (Rice) South Central; ERIC JENKINS (WESTERN KENTUCKY) Southeast; Dan Steele (Oregon) West.

Brian Forrester

Brian Forrester

Women’s assistantBrian Forrester (Akron) Great Lakes; Chris Miltenberg (Georgetown U.) Mid-Atlantic; Marc Burns (Wichita State) Midwest; Scott Irving (U.S. Air Force Academy) Mountain; Clive Terrelong (Connecticut) Northeast; Karen Harvey (Florida State) South; Vince Anderson (Texas A&M) South Central; Carrie Lane (Virginia) Southeast; Robert Johnson (Oregon) West.

Chris Bucknam

Chris Bucknam

Men’s head coach  – Dennis Mitchell (Akron) Great Lakes; Joe Compagni (Monmouth) Mid-Atlantic; Gary Pepin (Nebraska) Midwest; Mark Robison (Brigham Young) Mountain; Nathan Taylor (Cornell) Northeast; Michael Holloway (Florida) South; Tie: Chris Bucknam (Arkansas) and Sean Brady (Southeastern Louisiana) South Central; Jason Vigilante (Virginia) Southeast; Ron Allice (Southern California) West. 

Don Babbitt

Don Babbitt

Men’s assistant – Rodney Zuyderwyk (Purdue) Great Lakes; Sheila Burrell (Georgetown U.) Mid-Atlantic; Billy Maxwell (Nebraska) Midwest; Dion Miller (Texas Tech) Mountain; Michelle Eisenreich (Brown) Northeast; Don Babbit (Georgia) South; Dick Booth (Arkansas) South Central; Tim Hall (Clemson) Southeast; Mark MacDonald (Washington State) West.

Today my wide world of sports includes track & field, a Hall of Fame, UK baseball and Olympic sports

March 5, 2009

Spanning the commonwealth and beyond …

The Mason-Dixon Athletic Club will host its 49th annual Mason-Dixon Games, Friday and Saturday, in Broadbent Arena at the Kentucky Exposition Center in Louisville.

Approximately 3,000 Kentucky middle school and high school athletes will compete, plus about 70 Masters and Open athletes.

Friday’s schedule begins at 4:30 p.m. with Masters and Open events. Middle school events begin at 5:15 p.m.

Saturday’s high school schedule begins at 8 a.m. for Class A, 1 p.m. for 2A and 5 p.m. for 3A. The meet is designated by the Kentucky Track and Cross Country Coaches Association as the indoor state championships.

Admission is $5 each day. Officials will again be collected canned goods and non-perishable items, to be donated to the Dare to Care Food Bank.

In conjunction with the Games, the Mason-Dixon Games Hall of Fame induction banquet will be tonight (Thursday) at Wildwood Country Club in Fern Creek.

Inductees include athletes Bobby Brown (long jump), Susie Brutscher (pole vault pioneer), 1976 Olympian Tommy Haynes (triple jump, long jump) and 1968 Olympic gold-medalist (200 meters) Tommie Smith (440 yards), along with officials Ron Althoff, David L. Armstrong, Donnie Ray and Jack Thompson, plus “significant supporter” of the Games David A. Jones.


Al Michaels returns to Olympic broadcasting

Dick Ebersol, chairman of NBC Universal Sports and Olympics, announced Thursday that Emmy Award-winning broadcaster Al Michaels will serve as host of NBC’s live weekend and weekday daytime coverage of next year’s Vancouver Winter Olympic Games.

Michaels last broadcast a Winter Olympics in 1988, also in Canada — Calgary, Alberta.

In 1980, Michaels made the call on what, according to a variety of polls, Americans consider the nation’s top sports moment of the 20th century, The Miracle on Ice hockey victory over the Soviet Union.

“Do you believe in miracles? YES!” was his most memorable line as the game neared the finish at the Lake Placid Winter Olympics.

Michaels will host more than 50 hours of live coverage. Although this will mark Michaels’ debut as an Olympic host, he is no stranger to the Games. Vancouver will mark his sixth Olympic assignment.

He covered hockey, biathlon, speed skating, ski jumping and cross-country skiing at the 1972 Sapporo Olympics; hockey at the 1980 Lake Placid Games; figure skating and hockey at the 1984 Sarajevo Games; track and field, plus road cycling, at the 1984 Los Angeles Summer Games and hockey at the 1988 Calgary Games.

Michaels is the only broadcaster to call a Super Bowl, World Series, NBA Finals and host a Stanley Cup Final for network television.


12 semifinalists for Sullivan Award are named

The 12 semifinalists for the 79th annual James E. Sullivan Award include three gymnasts and three swimmers.

Nastia Liukin

Nastia Liukin

The Sullivan Award, named in honor of the AAU (Amateur Athletic Union) founder and past president, is presented annually to the outstanding amateur athlete in the United States. In addition to athletic accomplishsments, the Sullivan Award considers the qualities of leadership, character, sportsmanship and the ideals of amateurism.

Gymnasts on the semifinals list are Beijing Olympics all-around champion Nastia Liukin, Olympic balance beam gold-medalist Shawn Johnson and Olympic silver-medalist on the horizontal bar, Jonathan Horton.

Swimming semifinalists are the Olympic men’s 4-by-100-meter freestyle relay champions, Paralympian champion Erin Popovich (four gold medals, two silver) and 41-year-old Olympian Dara Torres (three silver medals).

Also on the list are: Cynthia Barboza, Stanford University, volleyball; Amanda Blumenherst, Duke University, golf; Sam Bradford, University of Oklahoma, football; Tyler Hansbrough, University of North Carolina, basketball; the Lopez family (Olympic medalists Diana, Mark and Steven), taekwondo, and Gerald “Buster” Posey, Florida State University, baseball.

Fan can vote online at The winner will be announced April 15 at the New York Athletic Club.


Trammel is USATF Athlete of Week

Two-time Olympic and World Outdoor silver-medalist Terrence Trammell, winner of the men’s 60-meter hurdles and the Visa Championship Series at last weekend’s USA Indoor Track & Field Championships, is USA Track & Field Athlete of the Week.

Trammell led all the way at Boston, clocking 7.37 seconds to break Reggie Torian’s 10-year-old meet record of 7.38. Trammell just missed the American record (7.36) but did get the fastest time in the world this season.

Among others, Trammell beat Oklahoma State freshman German Fernandez for weekly honors. Running in the Big 12 Indoor Championships at College Station, Texas, Fernandez won the mile in a collegiate-record 3:55.02. Three hours later, Fernandez won the 3,000 meters in the second-best time in meet history, 7:57.21.


60 – 6.51 Jacoby Ford (Clemson) – Blacksburg, Va., 2/28 & Mark Jelks (Nike) – Boston, 3/1     U.S. leaders
200 – 20.66 Trey Harts (Baylor) – College Station, Texas, 2/27
400 – 46.08 Gil Roberts (Texas Tech) – College Station, 2/28    
U.S. leader
800 – 1:48.18 Michael Rutt (Connecticut) – Boston, 2/27
Mile – 3:55.02 German Fernandez (Oklahoma State) – College Station, 2/28 Collegiate Record
3000 – 7:53.67 David Torrence (unat) – Boston, 2/28
5000 – 13:57.49 Jake Schmitt (Washington) – Seattle, 2/27
60H – 7.37 Terrence Trammell (TAS) – Boston, 3/1     World leader
HJ – 2.32/7-7.25 Andra Manson (Nike) – Boston, 2/28
PV – 5.60/18-4.5 Jeremy Scott (unat) – Boston, 2/28
LJ – 7.90/25-11 Mikese Morse (Miami) – Blacksburg, 2/27
TJ – 16.94/55-7 Brandon Roulhac (Shore AC) – Boston, 2/28    
U.S. leader
SP – 20.67/67-9.75 Dan Taylor (Nike) – Boston, 3/1
WT – 23.73/77-10.25 Jake Freeman (unat) – Boston, 3/1
Hept – 5747 Nick Adcock (Missouri) – College Station, 2/28
60 – 7.15 Angela Williams (Nike) – Athens, GRE 2/25 & Lisa Barber (adidas) – Boston 3/1
200 – 22.94 Porscha Lucas (Texas A&M) – College Station, 2/28
400 – 52.34 Dominique Darden (Reebok) – Boston, 3/1
800 – 2:02.39 Phoebe Wright (Tennessee) – Lexington, 3/1    
U.S. leader
1500 – 4:17.37 Anna Willard (Nike) – Boston, 3/1
Mile – 4:25.91 Jenny Barringer (Colorado) – College Station, 2/28 Collegiate Record
3000 – 8:53.27 Amy Begley (Nike) – Boston, 2/28
5000 – 15:55.63 Gwen Jorgensen (Wisconsin) – Bloomington, Ind., 3/1
60H – 7.84 Lolo Jones (Asics) – Boston, 3/1
HJ – 1.93/6-4 Destinee Hooker (Texas) – College Station, 2/28 =U.S. leader
PV – 4.83/15-10 Jenn Stuczynski (adidas) – Boston, 3/1     AMERICAN RECORD
LJ – 6.71/22-0.25 Brittney Reese (Nike) – Boston, 3/1    
U.S. leader
TJ – 13.77/45-2.25 Shakeema Welsch (unat) – Boston, 2/28    
U.S. leader
SP – 18.59/61-0 Jillian Camarena (NYAC) – Boston, 2/28   
U.S. leader
WT – 24.43/ Amber Campbell (Mjolnir) – Boston, 3/1    
U.S. leader
Pent – 4216 Bettie Wade (Michigan) – Bloomington, 2/28

UK baseball opens 3-game set vs. Indiana State

Fresh off Wednesday’s two-out, two-run game-winning ninth-inning homer against Eastern Kentucky, the Kentucky Wildcats will open a three-game series Friday, 4 p.m., against visiting Indiana State.
Wednesday’s 9-8 outcome, courtesy of Chris Bisson’s walk-off homer, was UK’s 24th consecutive home non-conference win.

James Paxton

James Paxton

Chris Rusin

Chris Rusin

The Cats (6-2) and Sycamores (9-2) will meet Friday at 4 p.m., Saturday at 1 p.m., and Sunday at 1 p.m.


UK will go with junior left-hander James Paxton (2-0) in the opener and senior lefty Chris Rusin (1-1) on Saturday. Paxton has 17 strikeouts and only one walk over 11 2/3 innings. Rusin leads the Southeastern Conference with 20 strikeouts, including a career-high 12 in a win over Western Michigan. Sunday’s starter is to be announced.

Cats add two games to schedule

Having lost a game because of inclement weather last weekend, UK has added a pair of games to its schedule.
The Cats will play host to Georgetown College, Tuesday at 4 p.m., and Wright State, April 1 at 6 p.m.

Pre-game clinic Saturday

UK’s third annual (free) coaching clinic will take place before Saturday’s game at Clilff Hagan Stadium, 8-10 a.m.
The clinic will feature drills pertaining to pitching, fielding, hitting, base-running and catching. All coaches in attendance will receive free admission for themselves and a friend to the UK-Indiana State game.

Briefly: James Johnson, Bobby Curtis


James Johnson, right, with Helena Hau and myself in Beijing.

James Johnson, right, with Helena Hau and myself in Beijing.

James Johnson,

a three-time national champion Greco-Roman wrestler out of the University of Kentucky, has been on tour since Feb. 23 as coach of U.S. Greco-Roman athletes competing in the Hungary Grand Prix and in Slovakia. The tour ends Sunday.

* Former state high school champion Bobby Curtis (St. Xavier, Villanova) placed third at last month’s U.S. Cross Country Championships. That earns him a spot on the Team USA squad that will run in the World Championships at Amman, Jordan, on March 28. Meb Keflezighi won the U.S. title, followed by Tim Nelson, Curtis and 2008 Olympic 10,000-meter runner Jorge Torres.
* Former UK standout Allison Grace helped Team USA place seventh at the recent Yokohama International Women’s Ekiden. The 14-team relay event was won by Japan in 2 hours, 20 minutes, 27 seconds. Grace, who trains out of Blowing Rock, N.C., as part of the Zap Fitness club, anchored with a 5.195-kilometer leg in 17:47. Carrie Messner Vickers led off for Team USA, followed by Desiree Davila, Samia Akbar, Stephanie Herbst-Lucke, Melissa White and Grace.



Checking in on the Reds, track and field, hockey

January 28, 2009

In the “timing is everything” department Wednesday comes an e-mail notice from the Cincinnati Reds which reads in part:

“The Reds are welcoming fans to choose their seats in person at the annual Select-Your-Seat event Saturday, Jan. 31 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

“Stop by Great American Ball Park and get an exclusive tour of the press box, where you can take in a view of the ballpark and select your seats for 2009. You’ll even have a chance to head out into the stadium and check out your seats up close.

Great American Ball Park

Great American Ball Park

Saturday is also the last day to guarantee your seats for Opening Day at the best prices of the year with a Reds ticket plan. Save up to 22 percent on 2009 pricing if you buy before Feb. 1.”

As snow-laden trees, with a thick undercoat of ice, continue to fall around much of Central Kentucky, you’ve got to admire the Reds’ optimism for a Saturday promotion.

Admission is free. For more information and parking details, call the Reds at 513 765-7500. Or check on the web:

Notes on the run

Former Murray State and University of Louisville standout Wesley Korir earned $2,500 last weekend by winning a half-marathon at Carlsbad, Calif.

Korir, a Kenyan now living in Oakland, Calif., netted $1,500 for first place and a $1,000 bonus for his sub-1:04 time of 1 hour, 2 minutes, 45 seconds, the fastest time at Carlsbad since Jenko Bensa ran 1:02:38 in 2000. Runner-up to Korir, Sergio Reyes of California, clocked in at 1:04:17.

Korir missed out on a $15,000 payday in October, when he finished fourth in the Chicago Marathon. Because he was not seeded with elite runners at the front, he was ineligible for prize money in that race.

* USA Track & Field’s Athlete of the Week is German Fernandez of Oklahoma State, who ran the fastest indoor mile ever by a junior athlete. Competing in the Razorback Invitational at Arkansas, Fernandez was timed in 3:56.50. That broke the world junior best of 3:58.34, set last year by Boaz Lalang of Kenya.

Other noteworthy performances included:

* Derek Miles, Olympic pole-vaulter, clearing a world-leading 19 feet, 1 inch at Vermillion, S.D.;

* Christian Cantwell, Olympic silver-medalist, with a world-leading shot put of 70-5.25 at Nordhausen, Germany;

* And Porscha Lucas, Texas A&M, sweeping the 60 (7.30) and 200 (world-leading 23.39) in the Texas-Texas A&M Dual.

The Ice Man cometh

Mark Johnson has been named head coach of the 2010 U.S. Olympic Women’s Ice Hockey Team that will compete at Vancouver. He is in his seventh season as coach at Wisconsin, where his winning percentage of .802 coming into the season leads active coaches in NCAA Division I.

Mark Johnson

Mark Johnson

Johnson also will coach Team USA at this year’s World Championships, April 4-12, at Hameenlinna, Finland, and also during other pre-Olympic competitions.

Many remember Johnson as the leading scorer (11 points) on the 1980 “Miracle On Ice” men’s gold-medal team at the Lake Placid Olympics. He scored two goals in the “Miracle” win over the Soviet Union. The son of Hall of Fame coach Bob Johnson, he went on to score 508 points over 669 games in the National Hockey League.

Since women’s hockey was added to the Olympic program, Team USA has won gold (1998, Nagano), silver (2002, Salt Lake City) and bronze (2006, Torino). All three teams were coached by Ben Smith.