KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – Records galore went down as the Kentucky track and field teams concluded the Southeastern Conference Outdoor Championships on Sunday.
Sydney McLaughlin smashed the collegiate record in the 400-meter hurdles running 52.75 to win by more than three seconds. Teammate Jasmine Camacho-Quinn also won by a huge margin, and came within .01-seconds of the 100m hurdles collegiate record.
So after another championship meet, tales of Kentucky hurdling prowess have only grown in lore, but the Wildcats showed elite status across the track and field event spectrum over the past three days of competition in the nation’s best conference.
UK’s women’s 4x400m relay of Faith Ross, Camacho-Quinn, McLaughlin and Kayelle Clarke concluded the meet by winning gold, themselves with the 11th fastest time in collegiate history, 3:25.99. It was UK’s first mile-relay SEC gold, and the meet record by more than a second.
The performance was all the more impressive considering a momentum-reducing handoff bobble between the second and third legs.
The Kentucky women’s 4x100m relay of Celera Barnes, Camacho-Quinn, Clarke and Kianna Gray ran the fourth fastest time in NCAA history en route to SEC silver to start the day.
So in all for the weekend, Kentucky concluded the SEC Championships having made a whole lot of changes to the all-time collegiate lists.
McLaughlin lowered the 400m hurdles collegiate record by nearly half a second, Camacho-Quinn ran the second fastest 100m hurdles time by a collegian in history, UK turned in the fourth fastest 4x100m relay time in NCAA history and the 11th fastest mile relay.
McLaughlin, Camacho-Quinn and the mile relay each set the SEC Championships records.
The UK women’s team tied for sixth place with 70 points. The Kentucky men’s team placed seventh with 54.33 points.
Florida won the men’s team competition with 111 points, and won the women’s title with 91.
Lightning fast hurdles notes
McLaughlin of course obliterated the world junior record that she’s held for three years, having improved the mark seemingly every time she’s run the past two years. The performance was also the 13th-fastest 400m hurdles time ever recorded. The 2016 Olympian became the ninth fastest 400m hurdler on the world all-time list (a few runners have multiple times on the list).
“This is the time we were looking for, 52-something” McLaughlin said. “I’m just really glad I was able to come out and get it.”
For another eye opener, the freshman ran .85 seconds faster than the then-personal-best time she posted just two weeks ago in her season debut. McLaughlin’s 400m hurdles time would’ve placed sixth in Sunday’s SEC open women’s 400m final.
McLaughlin tied three-time NCAA Champion Shamier Little for the No. 5 performance ever by an American.
“I still have a lot of learning to do in the race,” McLaughlin said. “But I think so far this season, we’ve been able to progress.”
McLaughlin won her second SEC Championship, having won the indoor 400m in February.
Camacho-Quinn, still not yet a master of the block start, still ran a truly world-class time 12.40 (+1.2) in the 100m hurdles. She broke UK volunteer assistant coach and training partner Kendra Harrison’s SEC Championships and Kentucky school record by .10 seconds. She came within .01 of 2016 Olympic Gold Medalist Brianna Rollins-McNeal’s collegiate record.
“I’m really excited,” Camacho-Quinn said. “I mean I wanted to break the collegiate record, but 12.40 at SECs, I’ve still got time. I knew it was gonna tough out here, I just wanted to come out here, react to the hurdles and have fun.”
Harrison won the SEC 100H Championship in 2014 and 2015, and now Camacho-Quinn has won three-straight years. She’s now a five-time SEC short hurdles champion, plus she was on the winning 4x400m relay.
She moved to No. 15 on the world all-time list.
For perspective, Camacho-Quinn is within .20 of Harrison’s 100H world record, and McLaughlin is now .41 seconds off the 400H world record of 52.34 set 15 years ago by Russia’s Yuliya Pechonkina.
Both of their Sunday performances were world leading.
Kentucky’s women’s 4x100m relay claimed silver in a record-setting final. LSU won in a collegiate-record 42.05, while UK placed second in 43.30, which is the No. 4 time in collegiate history and made UK the third fastest school in NCAA history.
Daniel Roberts shattered the 110m hurdles UK record he set yesterday, running the second fastest time in the NCAA this year, 13.27 (+0.9). Florida’s Grant Holloway won in a world-leading 13.15, which bettered the 13.16 Roberts’ UK volunteer assistant coach/training partner Omar McLeod ran on Saturday in Shanghai at a Diamond League meeting. Roberts’ time is ranked No. 6 in the world this year.
Jacob Thomson bounced back well from a fourth-place 10k on Friday, coming second in Sunday’s 5k with a time of 13:48.96. He stayed in the lead pack throughout the race, but couldn’t quite match the winner, Alabama’s Vincent Kiprop, who won by less than half a second. Thomson finished the meet having scored 13 points, and will end his decorated SEC Championships career as a six-time medalist, including three golds.
Marie-Josee Ebwea-Bile replicated her SEC indoor performance claiming bronze in the triple jump with a best mark of 45’7.75”/13.91m (0.0) to score six points.
Freshman Dwight St. Hillaire tied the UK record he set on Saturday, picking up bronze in the 400m with a time of 45.08.
Noah Castle claimed bronze in the men’s discus tossing a mark of 186’5”/56.82m to score six points to go along with the five he put up with a fourth-place shot put on Saturday.
In just her second meet of the outdoor season, Olivia Gruver placed fourth in the women’s pole vault, clearing 13’11.25”/4.25m to score five points and improve upon the no height she incurred at the 2017 SEC Outdoor Championships.
Katy Kunc completed a nine-point SEC Championships, scoring five points in the 5k with a fourth-place time of 16:36.95 to go along with the 3k steeplechase bronze she earned on Saturday.
Kianna Gray finished sixth in the women’s 200m with a time of 23.07 (+0.6).
Senior Ian Jones earned two points in the men’s 800m, with a time of 1:50.34.
Charles Lenford Jr. used a 4’0.75” personal best mark to advance out of the first of two discus flights to the final, eventually scoring two points with a seventh-place mark of 178’4”/54.37m.
Jacklyn Howell scored in the SEC 100m hurdles final for the fourth year in a row, placing sixth with a time of 13.13.
Ellen Ekholm started the day by scoring two points with a seventh-place high jump of 5’7”/1.70m.
Nicole Fautsch earned two points with a seventh-place discus throw of 159’11”/48.75m.
The UK men’s 4x400m relay of Fred Dorsey III, St. Hillaire, Timothy Duckworth and Jones ran 3:11.20 to place seventh and score two points, concluding the meet program.
Duckworth split an eight-place point three ways in the men’s pole vault with a clearance over 16’2.75”/4.95m.
Duckworth opened up Saturday with a massive long-jump mark of 26’10.5”/8.19m_w (+2.5) in the second round after a foul on his first attempt. It gave him the lead through the prelims and at the time was the best jump in the NCAA this year. He would end up claiming bronze to score six points.
Florida’s Grant Holloway took the lead in the fifth round with the top mark on the NCAA qualifiers list this season, 27’3.25”/8.32m_w (+2.9), and then Texas A&M’s Will Williams surpassed Duckworth on his sixth attempt 27’0.75”/8.25m_w (+3.8).
Duckworth, the current NCAA decathlon leader, who elected to compete in just the long jump and pole vault this weekend – perhaps looking to conserve energy for the open pole vault tomorrow, as well as a future decathlon as the postseason progresses over the next 30 days – elected to pass through the rest of his attempts. Duckworth claimed bronze in the SEC indoor long jump earlier this season.
Katy Kunc claimed bronze in the 3,000-meter steeplechase running a time of 10:06.37 to score six points.
The senior is now a six-time SEC medalist having won the steeplechase last year, taken bronze at the past two conference cross country championships and then having claimed silver in the 5k and bronze in the 3k indoors earlier this year.
Noah Castle picked up five points in the men’s shot put with more than a two-foot personal best, 63’1.5”/19.24m, moving to No. 5 on the UK all-time list. Nikolas Huffman finished one spot outside of scoring position, finishing ninth.
Jacob Thomson finished fourth in the 10k with a time of 29:22.31 to score five points on Friday.
David Cline tossed a personal best 218’3”/66.53m to score a point by placing eighth. The time improved his mark as the No. 2 performer on the UK all-time list.
Ethan Shalaway scored Kentucky’s first point of the 2018 SEC Championships, placing eighth in the javelin with a mark of 212’1”/64.65m. Elijah Marta just missed scoring, placing eithth with a mark of 210’5”/64.14m.
The UK men’s and women’s teams have both finished as high as second at the SEC Outdoor Championships. The UK women’s team’s best finish was second place in 1981 (150 points.
The UK men’s team’s best SEC outdoor finish was second in 1971 with 114 points.
Last season the UK women’s team finished third, and the UK men’s team finished 11th at the SEC Outdoor Championships.
The defending SEC men’s champion is Texas A&M, which has captured two SEC crowns since joining the league. Tennessee has claimed a league-leading 25 SEC men’s titles. The defending SEC women’s champion is Arkansas, which has won each of the last four SEC crowns. LSU has claimed a league-leading 13 SEC women’s titles all-time.
Tickets are available for purchase at UTsports.com, with all-session passes $25 for adults and $10 for students.
Conference Championship meets marked the last team athletes can record marks that qualify for the NCAA Preliminary Championships to be held Memorial Day weekend. There, they will look to advance to the NCAA Outdoor Championships, which will occur June 6-9 at Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon.
The UK women’s team came into the meet ranked No. 5 in the nation, and the UK men’s team was ranked No. 13.
A total of 18 SEC men’s and women’s track and field teams were ranked among the nation’s top-25 teams, according to the latest national rankings announced Monday by the U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association.
A nation-leading eight SEC men’s programs entered the weekend ranked in the top-25, including five of the top eight. Florida is ranked No. 1, Alabama is No. 3, Texas A&M is No. 5, Georgia is No. 6 and Arkansas is No. 8. Other SEC programs in the top-25 include No. 12 LSU, No. 13 Kentucky and No. 20 Mississippi State. No other conference has more than five men’s teams in the top-25.
A nation-best 10 SEC women’s programs were ranked in the top-25 with six in the top nine. LSU is No. 1, Arkansas is No. 4, Kentucky is No. 5, Georgia is No. 6, Texas A&M is No. 8 and Florida is No. 9. Other SEC teams ranked in the top-25 include No. 15 Tennessee, No. 17 Alabama, No. 18 Missouri and No. 23 Ole Miss. No other conference has more than five women’s teams in the top-25.