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 www.usatoday.com. 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.

BEST MARKS WEEK ENDING MARCH 1
MEN

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
 
WOMEN
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.

 

 


Cats add pair of pitchers to 2010 recruiting class

January 29, 2009

He has yet to experience a game as head coach of the Kentucky Wildcats, but Gary Henderson continues to make noise — music, actually — on the baseball recruiting trail.

Henderson, who moved from pitching coach to head coach when John Cohen bolted to Mississippi State last year, has a recruiting class this year that is ranked No. 4 in the nation by Baseball America. UK opens the season Feb. 20 with a four-team tournament at Coastal Carolina, along with Troy and James Madison. The Cats’ home opener is set for Feb. 27 against Western Michigan.

Henderson’s recruiting crop for the 2010 season has grown by two since we last told you of six pitchers and a catcher who committed during the fall signing period.

Matt Little

Matt Little

Since then, Henderson has added a pair of transfers: RHP Matt Little of Virginia Beach, Va., and LHP Bryce Robinson of Kokomo, Ind.

Brent Ingram, UK’s switch-hitting media relations contact for baseball, has the full scouting report. He notes that Little comes from Louisburg (N.C.) College and Robinson from Georgia Tech.

Little, a 5-foot-10, 180-pound junior with a mid-90s fastball, was named by PGcrosschecker.com as the sixth-best prospect in the 2008 Coastal Plains League. Playing for the Peninsula Pirates, he was 3-1 with a 2.60 ERA over 16 games, including four starts. He worked 45 innings, with 40 strikeouts, 37 walks and 24 hits — no homers — allowed, with a league-low .168 batting average by opponents.

At Louisburg, a junior college, he was 4-4 with a 2.88 ERA in 2007.

Bryce Robinson

Bryce Robinson

Robinson, a 6-1, 180-pound freshman, was listed by Baseball America as the 99th best high school prospect last season, a four-star recruit. A three-time team MVP for Kokomo and two-time all-state selection, he hit a school-record 14 homers and posted a career mark of 19-2 with a 1.20 ERA. Kokomo won the state title in 2007, when Robinson struck out 93 with a 0.96 ERA, allowing just nine runs (seven earned) over 51 innings. He also played quarterback and was three-year captain of the Kokomo football team.

Henderson’s recruiting class for this season includes two “Top 100″ high school prospects – No. 5 Alex Meyer (RHP, Greensburg, Ind.) and No. 38 Andy Burns (IF, Fort Collins, Colo.).

The rest of the 2010 class is made up of: LHP Jon Carlson (Rolling Meadows, Ill.); RHP Jordan Cooper (Shelbyville, Tenn.); RHP Joe Devine (Mount Carmell, Ill.); RHP/OF Sam Kidd (Ohio County); C Luke Maile (Covington Catholic); LHP Taylor Rogers (Littleton, Colo.), and RHP Walter Wijas (Elk Grove Village, Ill.).