A pair of Kentucky track and field Class of 2015 alumna, Leah Nugent and Kendra Harrison, confirmed places on their respective national teams that will compete at the IAAF World Championships in London later this summer, on Friday.

Nugent, who claimed NCAA and Southeastern Conference bronze as a senior in 2015, ran a 400-meter hurdles season best – .09 seconds off the personal best she ran at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro last summer – to claim bronze at the Jamaican National Championships in 54.49.  The top three at Jamaica Trials, who also have the World Championships standard, make the team that’ll compete in London.


Harrison qualified for her second outdoor World Championships (she made the 60m hurdles final at the World Indoor Championships last year) just by virtue of starting the 100m hurdles.

Like the Olympic Games, each country is permitted as many as three entries per World Championship event, with the IAAF allowing a fourth “wildcard” to athletes who are defending World Outdoor or Diamond League champions. So the top three finishers in each event, who have the standard time/mark this season as designated by the IAAF, earn spots on the Team USA World Championships team.


American “wildcard” nominees must compete in at least one round of competition at the USATF Outdoor Championships to claim their wildcard spot, although not necessarily in their wildcard qualifying event.


As reigning Diamond League Champion – she was undefeated on the Diamond League circuit last season — Harrison stamped her 100m hurdles wildcard with a sporty start to the USATF Championships.


That said, Harrison’s performance on Friday was no formality as the world record holder appeared to bring plenty of effort in her first competition since early last month when she suffered a hand injury before winning a Diamond League meet.

She had the top time of the first round, a season-best and world leading 12.54 into a -1.4 headwind.


“My heat went really well,” Harrison said. “It’s my first race back since breaking my hand. I wanted to come out here and put a good number down. I got the automatic, which makes me feel better, but the goal is to get my first USA (outdoor) title.”

The semifinals and finals are scheduled for Saturday with start times of 4:05 and 5:54 p.m. ET respectively.

UK volunteer assistant coach Kori Carter – originally recruited to Stanford and now coached as a professional by UK head coach Edrick Floréal – had the second fastest time of the 400m hurdles first round: 55.09, placing second to Olympic Gold Medalist Dalilah Muhammad in the first heat.

In the third 400m hurdles prelim, Olympian and UK signee Sydney McLaughlin also advanced automatically. She was second in her heat and sixth fastest on the compiled prelim results in 55.41.

UK Class of 2014 alumna, and two-time SEC Champion, Cally Macumber placed 19th with a time of 16:11.52 in the 5k.

In the U.S. men’s junior shot put, Charles Lenford Jr. placed fifth with a mark of 64’8.5”/19.72m (13.2-lb./6kg). In the women’s junior shot put, Nicole Fautsch placed 18th in 43’10”/13.36m.


A look ahead to Saturday
Saturday will start with Wildcats in the discus. Southeastern Conference Champion from 2012 and 2014, as well as 2016 Olympian Andrew Evans will compete in the senior competition at 1:15 p.m. ET, and Lenford will contest the junior discus at 1:20 p.m. ET.

Nick Anderson will open his 2017 USATF Outdoor Championships campaign in the first round of the 110m hurdles at 2:20 p.m., while 2015 alumna Dezerea Bryant will run the first round of the event in which she won two NCAA titles at UK the 200m at 3:15 p.m. ET. UK senior Carter and sophomore Kianna Gray are also entered.

Sha’Keela Saunders will look to improve upon the fourth place finish she had at Olympic Trials last year in the long jump starting at 3:45 p.m. Carter is also in the long jump.

The women’s 100m hurdles semifinals are scheduled for 4:05 p.m. ET, and the 400m hurdles semis are slated to go off at 4:39 p.m. ET.


Meet primer

The Kentucky track and field season continues under the California Central Valley’s scorching sun this weekend at the USATF Outdoor Championships, held for the fourth time since 2000 at Sacramento State’s Hornet Stadium.

The USATF Senior and Junior Championships will each be contested concurrently this weekend in Sacramento.

The USATF Outdoor Championships run June 22-25, and serve as the selection competition (trials) the Team USATF that will travel to the World Championships, to be held August 4-13 at London’s 2012 Olympic Stadium (now named the London Stadium).

USATF.org will provide live results at separate sites for the senior and junior championships.

NBC will broadcast the USATF Outdoor Championships June 24 and 25 from 4-6 p.m. ET. Coverage outside the linear broadcast windows will air on NBC Sports’ streaming platform: NBC Sports Gold.


Live coverage of USATF Junior Outdoor Championships will be usatf.tv.

The stadium was host site for the 2014 USATF Outdoor Championships – with no major international championship scheduled that year, and prior to that the 2000 and 2004 Olympic Trials. Hornet Stadium also hosted multiple NCAA Championships in the mid-2000s.

Seven members of the current UK women’s team – which placed fourth at the NCAA Outdoor Championships earlier this month – and two more members of the UK men’s team – including 2016 NCAA 110m hurdles semifinalist and Olympic Trials semifinalist Nick Anderson – are competing at “USAs.”

Additionally, multiple UK alumni and elite professionals who serve on the UK staff under UK head coach Edrick Floréal’s tutelage will look to qualify for the IAAF World Championships this weekend.


Temperatures in Sacramento have topped 10 degrees the first two days of the meet, and are forecasted to reach 100 degrees on Saturday and 97 degrees for the meet finale on Sunday.

Sacramento State previously hosted USATF Outdoor Championships in 2014, and the U.S. Olympic Trials for Track & Field in 2000 and 2004. Sacramento was also recently announced as a finalist city for the 2020 U.S. Olympic Trials – Track & Field, along with Eugene, Oregon and Walnut, California.

UK assistant coach Toby Stevenson qualified for the Olympic Games in Sacramento in 2004. He’d go on to claim the silver medal in the pole vault in Athens later that summer. Stevenson, who works directly with the vertical jumpers and multi-event athletes at UK coached Olivia Gruver to the NCAA Championship in the pole vault two weeks ago. He also coached Tim Duckworth to NCAA silver in the men’s indoor heptathlon in March. Stevenson coached reigning Olympic pole vault champion Katerina Stefanidi to the NCAA title in 2012.

Plenty more athletes with Kentucky connections will compete at National Championships across the globe this weekend as well as in the coming weeks.

For example current UK assistant coach, three-time Olympian and NCAA 200m Champion at UK as a collegian Rondel Sorrillo will run at the Trinidad and Tobago Championships.


Information for this report was obtained via USATF.


UK at 2017 USATF Outdoor Championships


Day Two — Friday, June 23rd
Shot Put Jr. Men Final 5. Charles Lenford Jr.: 64’8.5”/19.72m
Shot Put Jr. Women Final 18. Nicole Fautsch: 43’10”/13.36m
100H Women First Round
Advance Top 3 + next 4 fastest to semis
1. Kendra Harrison: 12.54Q (-1.4) | Season best, world leader
100m Women Semifinal –
Top 3 + next 4 fastest to semis; Semis: Top 4 each semi to final
15. Destiny Carter: 11.36 (-0.7)
400H Women First Round
Advance top 4 + next 4 fastest to semis
3 prelims
2. Kori Carter (Jordan – UK volunteer assistant coach): 55.09Q
6. Sydney McLaughlin (UK signee): 55.41Q
5000m Women Final Cally Macumber (UK class of 2014)


Day Three — Saturday, June 24th
1:15 p.m. Discus Men Final Andrew Evans (Nike – Class of 2014)
1:20 p.m. Discus Jr. Men Final CJ Lenford
2:20 p.m. 110m Hurdles Men First Round –

Top 3 + next 4 fastest to semis

1 of 4 prelims

Lane 4: Nick Anderson

3:15 p.m. 200m Women First Round
Top 3 + next 4 fastest to semis
Heat 1 of 4
Lane 7: Dezerea Bryant (Nike – Class of 2014)
Heat 2 of 4
Lane 6: Destiny Carter
Lane 7: Kianna Gray
3:45 p.m. Long Jump Women Final
Top 8 to final
Sha’Keela Saunders, Destiny Carter
4:05 p.m. 100m Hurdles Women Semifinal
Top 4 per semi advance
TBD (Harrison)
4:39 p.m. 400m Hurdles Women Semifinal TBD (Carter, McLaughlin)
5:54 p.m. 100m Hurdles Women Final TBD (Harrison)


Day Four — Sunday, June 25th
3:00 p.m. Pole Vault Women Final Olivia Gruver
3:20 p.m. 200m Women Semifinal TBD (Carter, Gray, Bryant)
4:04 p.m. 110m Hurdles Men Semifinal TBD (Anderson)
4:20 p.m. Nike Women’s 200m Women Final TBD (Carter, Gray, Bryant)
4:46 p.m. 400m Hurdles Women Final TBD (Carter)
5:43 p.m. Nike Women’s 200m Women Final TBD (Carter, Gray, Bryant)
5:53 p.m. 110m Hurdles Men Final TBD (Anderson)


Day One UK results — Thursday, June 22nd  
Hammer Men Final Foul: Andy Fryman
Javelin Women Final
One flight, top 8 to final
16. Sarah Blake:
100m Women First Round –
Advance Top 3 + next 4 fastest to semis (Four prelims)
14. Destiny Carter: 11.12q (+1.4)

26. Kianna Gray: 11.38 (+1.4)
28. Dezerea Bryant (UK Class of 2015): 11.42 (+0.7)


The most up-to-date coverage of the UK track and field program is available via @KentuckyTrack handles on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.


Jake Most