Kentucky track and field junior Jacob Thomson medaled in the Southeastern Conference 10,000 meters for the second season in a row.
Champion in the event a year ago with a time 30:03.72, Thomson backed up last year’s gold with a bronze on Thursday.
Alabama had the gold and silver medalists as Alfred Chelanga won in 30:25.24, and Antibahs Kosgei was second in 30:25.27. Thomson ran 30:27.69 on Thursday.
All three – the only SEC athletes to break 29 minutes in 10k performances earlier this season – made the pace for the duration of the race. The lead pack included eight men with eight laps to go, and the group of leaders dwindled down to just the three that finished in the medals with a mile remaining.
Already expected to be a tactical – if slower race – as a conference championship, the muggy conditions may have contributed to them ticking off 400m splits closer to 80 seconds than 70 for the first dozen or so laps around South Carolina’s Cregger Track.
Chelanga, Kosgei and Thomson upped the pace and started breaking 70 seconds per lap with 3,200m remaining to separate themselves from the field.
The trio was still together at the bell, but the Crimson Tide runners pulled a few steps ahead of Thomson by the final turn. While Thomson came close to reestablishing contact into the stretch, he couldn’t match the 58 seconds and change final lap by the gold and silver medalists. Thomson ran the last 400 meters in 1:01.37 compared with the 58.88 Chelanga ran.
“Coming back as the defending champion I really wanted to get out there, defend my title and put up 10 points for the team.” Thomson said. “Fell a little bit short. Executed the race plan well, just got beat by two of the top runners in the country. I’ll hang my hat on it and get ready for the 5k. I’m not going to get down about the 10k. I thought I put in a good effort and just got beat by a better man today.”
Thomson will defend his SEC 5k title on Saturday.
Three of 21 men’s events, and two of 21 women’s events have been scored through one of the three meet days.
Alabama leads the men’s scores with 29, Texas A&M and Georgia are tied second on 16, Missouri has 13 and Ole Miss has 11 to round out the top five. UK is eighth on the six points Thomson scored.
Ole Miss leads the women’s scores on 15, UGA has 13, Tennessee and Missouri have 10 and Arkansas is fifth on eight points. UK is 10th with the point Walker scored.
Senior Brandi Walker scored the first SEC Championship point of her career in the hammer throw, qualifying for the final out of flight one and tossing an eighth-place mark of 190’10″/58.16m.
Ian Jones advanced to his first SEC 800m final with a qualifying time of 1:50.12. That final will be Saturday.
Destiny Carter had the third fastest 200m qualifying time, a windy 22.64 (+2.8) to make that final for the second year in a row.
Kiah Seymour ran 57.34 to make Saturday’s 400m hurdles final.
“Day one is all about advancing people, except for the few finals that there are,” Thomson said. “The women’s team got off to a good start in the 200m and the hurdles, and it was great to see Brandi score in the hammer throw. On the men’s side Ian made the 800m final, which is huge for him. I think it’s his first SEC final. Now we head into day two tomorrow.”
SEC Network+ will stream the action via WatchESPN/ESPN3 Friday beginning at 6:25 p.m. ET. Coverage picks back up Saturday at 3:10 p.m. ET .
Dwight Stones will handle play by play, Larry Rawson and Jill Montgomery will provide analysis and
SportsCenter’s John Anderson will conduct the interviews.
The meet will first air on television Wednesday, May 17 from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET on ESPNU.
PTtiming is handling timing and live results.
The Friday outlook
Kentucky has no entries in multi-events so the first event of Friday featuring Wildcats will be the men’s long jump at 2:30 p.m.
The first track event will be the 110m hurdles at 6:30 p.m. ET.
Field finals to watch are the women’s pole vault featuring Olivia Gruver at 6:15 p.m ET.
The women’s long jump whre Sha’Keela Saunders is the reigning SEC Indoor Long Jump Champion is scheduled for a 6:45 p.m. ET start. Two-time defending champion Quanesha Burks (Alabama) is the current NCAA leader in the event, with Saunders ranking second so that Friday showdown figures to be prominently featured.
Kentucky’s women’s team is ranked No. 6 in this week’s U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association computer rankings – which are a forecast of team finish at the NCAA Championships, not the SEC Championships.
Three of the five women’s teams ranked ahead of the UK women are SEC squads (No. 1 Texas A&M, No. 4 LSU, No. 5 Arkansas), six of the top-10 are SEC teams, and a 11 SEC women’s team rank in the top-25.
Four of the top-five and six of the top-10 men’s teams are in the SEC. Twelve of the top-25 men’s teams in the country rank in the top 10.
UK’s SEC precedent
The Kentucky women’s team has placed third at the SEC Outdoor Championships each of the past two years. UK’s best SEC outdoor finish was second place in 1981, the first year the meet was held.
A year ago Kentucky placed 10th in the men’s competition with 48.50 points.
Arkansas is the defending SEC Champion on the men’s and women’s side both indoors and outdoors.
Indoor 2017: At the SEC Indoor Championships in February, the Kentucky women’s team tied the school record for team finish at the SEC Indoor Championships – third overall with 71 points.
The UK women’s program finished third at the SEC indoor meet for the first time since 1989, its only other top-three finish at indoor SECs.
The UK men’s team improved by 12 points and four spots from a year ago in placing seventh with 44 points at 2017 SEC indoors.
The SEC Championships format
Athletes earn points for their teams at the SEC Championships based on top-8 finishes on a 10-8-6-5-4-3-2-1 basis.
The meet features 21 events per gender, and the team with the most points at the end wins.
On the horizon
Kentucky will welcome in effect the whole of Division I this side of the Mississippi River May 25-27 for the NCAA East Preliminary Championships. UK will play host for that event for the first time. The Wildcats were the host institution for the 2014 SEC Championships at the UK Outdoor Track.
|Thursday, May 11 – UK Results|
|Men’s Hammer||Prelim/Final||10. David Cline: 209’6”/23.87m (Personal best, No. 3 performer in UK history)|
|Women’s Hammer||Prelim/Final||8. Brandi Walker: 190’10”/58.16m | 1 point (First SEC point of her career)|
|Men’s Javelin||Prelim/Final||9. Ethan Shalaway: 214’11”/65.52m|
|Track Events||Round||UK Entry|
|Men’s 800M||Prelim||5. Ian Jones: 1:50.12q|
|Men’s 200M||Prelim||20. Craig Green: 21.11w (+2.6)
24. Victor Oye: 21.29w (+3.0)
|Women’s 200M||Prelim||3. Destiny Carter: 22.64w (+2.8) Q
11. Kianna Gray: 23.04 (+1.6)12. Kayelle Clarke: 23.10w (+2.8)
17. Precious Hitchcock: 23.25 (+1.5)
19. Javianne Oliver: 23.47 (+1.5)
|Women’s 400H||Prelim||6. Kiah Seymouur: 57.34Q
13. Faith Ross: 1:01.27
|Men’s 10k||Final||3. Jacob Thomson: 30:25.24 | 6 points
12. Mick Iacofano: 31:50.67
|Women’s 10k||Final||22. Avery Bussjager: 37:10.35|
|Friday, May 12|
|TIME (ET)||EVENT||Round||UK Entry|
|2:30 PM||Men’s Long Jump||Final||One Flight: Fred Dorsey|
|4:00 PM||Men’s Discus||Prelim/Final||One Flight: Noah Castle, CJ Lenford|
|6:15 PM||Women’s Pole Vault||Final||Olivia Gruver|
|6:30 PM||Men’s High Jump||Prelim/Final||Xaivier McAllister, Tim Duckworth, Justin Kretchmer|
|6:45 PM||Women’s Long Jump||Prelim/Final||Fl 2 of 2: Destiny Carter, Sha’Keela Saunders|
|7:00 PM||Women’s Shot Put||Prelim/Final|
|TIME (ET)||EVENT||Round||UK Entry|
|6:10 PM||National Anthem|
|6:30 PM||Men’s 110H||Prelim||Three heats | Top 2 Each Heat + Next 3 Times
Ht. 1, Ln. 6: Daniel RobertsHt. 2, Ln. 7: Nick Anderson
|6:50 PM||Women’s 100H||Prelim||Three heats | Top 2 Each Heat + Next 3 Times
Ht 3. Ln. 2: Jasmine Camacho-Quinn, Ln. 8: Jacklyn Howell
|7:10 PM||Men’s 1500M||Prelim||Three heats | 12 advance: Top 3 Each Heat + Next 3 Times
Ht. 2: Ben Young
|7:30 PM||Women’s 1500M||Prelim||Three heats | 12 advance: Top 3 Each Heat + Next 3 Times
Ht. 1: Michelle McKinney
|7:55 PM||Men’s 400M||Prelim|
|8:20 PM||Women’s 400M||Prelim|
|8:45 PM||Men’s 100M||Prelim||Four Heats | Top 1 Each Heat + Next 5 Times
Ht. 1, Ln. 2: Fred Dorsey
Ht. 4, Ln. 9: Kenshard Hamilton
|9:10 PM||Women’s 100M||Prelim||Four Heats | Top 1 Each Heat plus Next 5 Times
Ht. 1, Ln. 8: Kayelle ClarkeHt. 2, Ln. 2: Destiny Carter, Ln. 6: Javianne Oliver. Ln. 7: Kianna Gray
|9:35 PM||Men’s 3k Steeplechase||Final||Gabe Harm, Matthew Thomas, Brennan Fields|
|9:55 PM||Women’s 3k Steeplechase||Final||Katy Kunc, Caroline McCaslin, Amy Hansen|
|Saturday, May 13|
|TIME (ET)||EVENT||FIELD EVENT||UK Entry|
|11:00 AM||Women’s Javelin||Prelim/Final||Sarah Blake|
|1:00 PM||Men’s Triple Jump||Prelim/Final|
|1:30 PM||Women’s Discus||Prelim/Final|
|2:30 PM||Men’s Pole Vault||Final||Tim Duckworth|
|2:30 PM||Women’s High Jump||Final||Ellen Ekholm|
|4:10 PM||Women’s Triple Jump||Prelim/Final||Marie-Josee Ebwea-Bile, Sha’Keela Saunders|
|4:30 PM||Men’s Shot Put||Prelim/Final||Noah Castle, CJ Lenford, Nik Huffman|
|3:10 PM||National Anthem|
|3:15 PM||Men’s 4x 100M Relay||Final||UK|
|3:25 PM||Women’s 4x100M Relay||Final||UK|
|3:35 PM||Men’s 1500M||Final||TBD|
|3:45 PM||Women’s 1500M||Final||TBD|
|3:55 PM||Men’s 110H||Final||TBD|
|4:05 PM||Women’s 100H||Final||TBD|
|4:15 PM||Men’s 400M||Final|
|4:25 PM||Women’s 400M||Final|
|4:35 PM||Men’s 100M||Final||TBD|
|4:45 PM||Women’s 100M||Final||TBD|
|4:55 PM||Men’s 800M||Final||Ian Jones|
|5:05 PM||Women’s 800M||Final|
|5:15 PM||Men’s 400H||Final|
|5:25 PM||Women’s 400H||Final||Kiah Seymour|
|5:35 PM||Men’s 200M||Final||TBD|
|5:45 PM||Women’s 200M||Final||Destiny Carter|
|5:55 PM||Men’s 5000M||Final||Gabe Harm, Mick Iacofano, Jacob Thomson|
|6:15 PM||Women’s 5000M||Final||Michelle McKinney, Katy Kunc, Avery Bussjager|
|6:40 PM||Men’s 4x400M Relay||Final||UK|
|6:50 PM||Women’s 4x400M Relay||Final||UK|
‑ GO CATS –