EUGENE, Ore. – The Kentucky track and field teams begin the NCAA Outdoor Championships on Wednesday at Oregon’s Hayward Field. The meet will run through Saturday.
The Kentucky women’s team enters the NCAA Championships ranked No. 2 in the United States Track & Field and cross Country Coaches Association rankings. UK qualified 17 entries to the meet, the second most of any team.
The UK men’s team qualified six entries to the meet, doubling the total from last season.
Wednesday’s competition will feature men’s teams only. For the second consecutive season the NCAA is utilizing a championships schedule featuring men’s teams on Wednesday and Friday and women’s teams on Thursday and Saturday.
Caveats are multi-events as the men’s decathlon will be contested Wednesday and Thursday and the women’s heptathlon will be contested on Friday and Saturday as those events are generally expected to be completed in consecutive days.
The Wednesday outlook
Five of Kentucky’s six men’s entries will compete on Wednesday.
Sophomore Tim Duckworth and junior Cameron Short will begin their first NCAA decathlon on Wednesday at 3:30 p.m. ET.
Nick Anderson will run the 110-meter hurdles semifinal at 8:32 p.m.
Fred Dorsey will compete in the long jump starting at 9 p.m.
Jacob Thomson will start the 10k final at 10:08 p.m.
The broadcast information
The 2016 NCAA Championships will be broadcast on the ESPN family of networks.
ESPN3 will cover the first few events of the decathlon on Wednesday before the ESPN2 broadcast window opens from 7:30 – 11 p.m. ET.
Thursday the broadcast window is 7:30-8:30 p.m. on ESPNU and 8:30-11 p.m. on ESPN.
Friday’s men’s finals will be broadcast from 8:30-11 p.m. on ESPN.
Saturday’s women’s finals will air from 6:30-9 p.m. on ESPN.
ESPN’s expanded coverage of the 2015 NCAA Division I Men’s and Women’s Outdoor Track and Field Championships — the first year of a new format — led to record viewership for the event on ESPN networks.
Last year’s four-day competition (June 10-13) averaged 367,000 viewers, making it the most-watched NCAA Division I Outdoor Championship on ESPN (records date to 2009).
Additionally, the men’s championship (Friday, June 12 on ESPN) and the women’s championship (Saturday, June 13 on ESPN2) averaged 579,000 and 534,000 viewers, respectively, the No. 1 and No. 2 most-watched sessions of the Outdoor Track and Field Championships ever on ESPN networks.
The NCAA Championships precedent
The Kentucky women’s team’s NCAA record finish came a year ago when the Wildcats finished as national runner-up with 50 points.
The Kentucky men’s team placed 44th with five points a year ago. UK’s record NCAA outdoor finish is ninth place with 25 points in 2008.