JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The NCAA Championships begin today for the Kentucky track and field teams. The Wildcats will compete Thursday through Saturday at the NCAA East Preliminary Championships at the University of North Florida’s Hodges Stadium.
The name of the game at the preliminary championships is advancing to the national championships finals site.
Twelve performers from each preliminary site advance to the NCAA Championships – hosted for the fourth-consecutive year as part of a run that is scheduled to continue through 2021 at Oregon’s Hayward Field – June 8-11.
Kentucky already has its first two qualifiers for the NCAA National Championships — Tim Duckworth and Cameron Short – who were named to the NCAA Championships decathlon field, which will be contested the first two days of NCAAs.
For the heptathlon and decathlon, the top 24 declared student-athletes in each event based on their position on the national descending-order list were accepted into the Championships. Heptahlon and decathlon are not contested at preliminary championships sites.
For each individual event contested at each of the preliminary sites, the top 48 declared student-athletes were accepted into the competition. For each relay event, the top 24 declared relay teams were accepted into the competition. Combined events (Heptathlon and Decathlon), are not contested at the preliminary sites.
The top-ranked UK women’s team set a new school-record with 31 entries. UK had 25 regional entries entered into East Preliminary Championships each of the past two seasons. Twenty-five was the previous school record.
Kentucky has the third most women’s preliminary championships entries in the nation behind Arkansas (33) and Oregon and Texas A&M (32). Kentucky has the most women’s entries in the East Region.
The men’s team has 18 entries into the East Preliminary Championships – five more than it qualified a year ago. Kentucky’s 18 entries ranks tied for the 18th most in the country.
In total, 39 Wildcats (22 women, 17 men) will compete for the right to advance to the semifinal and final rounds of the NCAA Championships. Kansas’ Jayhawk Park will serve as the host site for the NCAA West Preliminary Rounds also being held this weekend.
Thursday Kentucky will have 10 chances to advance to Eugene. Those spots are available for nine Wildcats in field events where they’ll have three attempts.
Action starts at Noon in the men’s hammer and women’s javelin. UK also has entries in the men’s and women’s long jump, and the women’s hammer.
Jacob Thomson will run in the 10,000 meters at 9:40 p.m. That’s the only track event with spots in the NCAA Championships field, available on Thursday.
The rest of the running events going off on Thursday are preliminary heats to advance to quarterfinals where spots in the Eugene field will be on the line.
Kentucky has entries in the women’s 400m hurdles, men’s 1,500m, women’s 100m, women’s 400m and women’s 800m prelims on Thursday.