Jan. 15, 2011
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Six athletes on the University of Louisville men's and women's track and field teams set career-best marks on Saturday, the final day of the Kentucky Track and Field Invitational, at E.J. Nutter Field House.
"Overall, it was a solid performance," head coach Ron Mann says. "It was a good opening for a lot of athletes. Now, we'll move into a point where we're competing week in and week out, so you can see the development from each meet."
On the men's side, Weston Banks (shot put) and Howard Shepard, III (800m) finished runner-up in their respective events. Banks entered the competition with a career-best mark of 17.70m/58-1 and surpassed that in his second attempt, with a toss of 17.72m/58-1.75. Shepard also set a career-best, as he completed the race in 1:51.48, falling just three seconds short of earning an NCAA automatic qualifying mark.
Additionally, the men received strong performances from the jumps group. Kyle Gann placed fifth in the pole vault, and freshman Kevin Jackson bettered his first mark of his collegiate career with a vault of 4.60m/15-1. In the long jump event, Seon Powell placed third with a leap of 7.54m/24-9 - one hundredth of a meter short of his personal best - and Wesley Smith, who ran the 60m in addition to competing in the long jump, placed fifth with a jump of 7.46m/24-5.75.
"I think Kyle Gann had a nice day," Mann comments. "I was also pleased with Howard and the way Wesley Smith came out and ran the 60m and did the long jump."
Ranked 18th in the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association's preseason poll, the women's squad received first-place finishes from Charachesicia Lockhart and Khadija Abdullah.
After an impressive season-opening performance in the long jump on Dec. 3, posting a mark of 6.08m/19-11.5, Lockhart blew away that jump and the competition in her first attempt. The junior registered a leap of 6.22m/20-5, easily taking first in the event and setting a career best.
"The long jump competition was great. Charachesicia did a great job," Mann says. "She redshirted last year, and you can see she's getting better. She's very focused and ready to go. I think the combination of her sprinting and jumping is working well, and coach (Jake) Jacoby and coach (Terry) Winston are doing a tremendous job with her."
Abdullah, who also opened the year in solid fashion by earning an NCAA automatic qualifying mark in the shot put, took first with a toss of 16.09m/52-9.5. The Cardinals had a strong showing in the event on the women's side, as Chinwe Okoro and D'Ana McCarty placed fourth and fifth, respectively.
"That crew is just continuing to get better each meet," Mann says of the female throwers. "It's not only a good group, but it's becoming very deep as well."
Megan Schubert placed second in the high jump with a career-best mark of 1.76m/5-9.25. She finished behind current teammate Rachel Gehret, who was competing unattached and won the event with a leap of 1.79m/5-10.5.
In the sprints group, Saravia Richardson and Margret Harris reached the 60m finals, as Richardson took fourth with a time of 7.51, while Harris posted a time 7.59 for a ninth-place showing.
The Cardinals return to action on Friday, Jan. 21, in Bloomington, Ind., at the two-day Gladstein Invitational on the campus of Indiana University. Competition will take place in the Harry S. Gladstein Fieldhouse.
KENTUCKY TRACK AND FIELD INVITATIONAL (LEXINGTON, KY. - E.J. NUTTER FIELD HOUSE)
Women's High Jump
2. Megan Schubert - 1.76m/5-9.25
6. Michelle Theophille - 1.71m/5-7.25
Men's Pole Vault
5. Kyle Gann - 4.90m/16-0.75
10. Kevin Jackson - 4.60m/15-1
Women's Long Jump
1. Charachesicia Lockhart - 6.22m/20-5
Men's Long Jump
3. Seon Powell - 7.54m/24-9
5. Wesley Smith - 7.46m/24-5.75
Men's Shot Put
2. Weston Banks - 17.72m/58-1.75
9. Sam Bombaugh - 15.88m/52-1.25
Women's Shot Put
1. Khadija Abdullah - 16.09m/52-9.5
4. Chinwe Okoro - 15.18m/49-9.75
5. D'Ana McCarty - 15.03m/49-3.75
8. Amashi Kendall - 14.32m/46-11.75
Women's 60m Dash - Prelims
8. Saravia Richardson - 7.60q
10. Margret Harris - 7.62q
Men's 1 Mile Run
7. Luke Lovelace - 4:13.67
Women's 60m Dash - Finals
4. Saravia Richardson - 7.51
9. Margret Harris - 7.59
Men's 800m Run
2. Howard Shepard, III - 1:51.48
Women's 4x400m Relay
6. Louisville `A' (Brown, Harris, Lockhart, Jackson) - 3:49.53