On Friday, Kentucky track and field star Daniel Roberts tied a 40-year-old collegiate record in the NCAA 110-Meter Hurdles by finishing the event in 13 seconds flat.
And now, the junior Wildcat has announced that he is turning pro.
Following the event, Roberts told reporters that he will be forgoing his senior year to head off to the professional ranks.
“I’ll be going pro,” he said. “[My contract isn’t finalized] yet, still in the works… [With] the collegiate season over with now, I ain’t got nothing to hide.”
Now that his junior year is over, Roberts will head back to Lexington while he prepares to take the next step.
In the NCAA 110-Meter Hurdles on Friday, Roberts tied the record, but was unfortunately topped by rival junior Grant Holloway of Florida, who finished with a final time of 12.98 seconds.
Combining the times of both Holloway and Roberts, along with the rest of the participants, Friday’s event actually set the record for fastest college hurdles race ever.
“Today was nothing short of a tremendous run for Daniel,” UK assistant coach and Roberts’ event trainer Tim Hall said. “He was excellent in the first three hurdles. Got a little loose after No. 3. He started pressing a little, but nonetheless today was a great race for him. It took a collegiate record to beat him — we’re good with that.
“There’s more to come with D-Rob. He’s a special kid, special talent. I just can’t say enough about him. I’m super proud of him. The future is so bright for him. He’s just a humble kid. So proud of all the things he’s accomplished.”
Overall, Roberts’ time was a new personal best, and he now ranks second in the world to Holloway. His time of 13 seconds gives him the second-best time at the collegiate level in history and he is now tied with two other men for No. 22 on the world all-time list.
“It’s been an awesome rise,” Kentucky head coach Lonnie Greene said. “People might not understand how fast that race was. It took the world lead, right off the world record to beat Daniel. Coach Hall has done a great job with him. He’s an excellent coach, Daniel is an excellent pupil.
“And he’s represented the brand very, very well. That’s what I think future Wildcats out there and Big Blue Nation want. They want us to represent the University well and I think Daniel is the epitome of that.”
Roberts and Holloway will face off once again at the USATF Outdoor Championships July 25-28, which will also serve as Team USA’s qualifying meet for the 2019 IAAF World Championships set for Sept. 28-Oct. 6 in Doha, Qatar.