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Spring sports roundup

It is finals week in Lexington, Kentucky and that means the spring semester and school year are coming to a close. I write to you today with three essays and a short-answer exam still ahead of me between now and Friday, but I’ve got my priorities straight. Kentucky Sports Radio comes first. With only a short time left for many students on campus, I think now is a fitting time to roundup the spring sports and see what the teams are up to.

— Baseball

The No. 3 Kentucky baseball team dropped its first series of the season last weekend on the road at Vanderbilt. It’s disappointing to see them lose a series, but even more so when you consider Vanderbilt has struggled this season, and is currently has a sub-.500 record. But the Bat Cats are still sitting pretty in the SEC and look good for hosting a Regional postseason game, and possibly a Super Regional.

Their quest for Omaha continues against the highly-ranked Florida Gators at Cliff Hagan this weekend, and then a series with Alabama and Mississippi State — two teams that rank in the bottom half of the SEC standings — and two out-of-conference games against Indiana and Murray State — both of those teams have losing records.

— Softball

The softball season was somewhat disappointing coming off a stellar year that saw the team make a deep NCAA tournament run. Their current record is 26-27, which could have been a lot better, but the team may be playing some of its best ball of the season at the right time. Perhaps the high-point in the season came last week, winning a series on the road at No. 4 Florida — a series they had no business competing in.

The softball Cats will wrap up the season at home against LSU this weekend where they can make a strong statement against a Tigers team that isn’t any better than they are. They will get a chance to compete in the SEC tournament, where they are projected a six-seed, also against LSU. So we’ll learn a lot about this softball team and their postseason hopes in this final regular season series.

— Track and Field

The Southeastern Conference Men’s Indoor Runner of the Year, junior Luis Orta has set all kinds of records in his time at Kentucky, and he dropped the second-fastest 3,000-meter steeplechase time in UK history last week, just a highlight from one of the most competitive running meets in the country out in Palo Alto, California. Senior John Nadzam won the 1,500-meter run with a career best time, making a late push from fourth-place to first with only two laps to go. And in Berkeley, California freshman sprinter Keilah Tyson broke the Kentucky freshman 100-meter dash record with a time of 11.48; she broke her own record by 0.04 seconds.

The track and field team “regular season” of meets is over, and over the next couple of months will compete in the outdoor SEC Championships in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and hopefully make the NCAA Nationals in Des Moines, Iowa.

— Golf

The men’s golf team remained competitive this season, but never seemed to be a significant threat throughout the season. Early on they won their own Bluegrass Invitational, and followed up with a good finish at the Bearcat Invitational in Hebron, Kentucky. But once the traveling picked up, lower finishes started to come. The Cats finished seventh at the SEC Tournament in Georgia, led by junior Chase Parker and sophomore Cody Martin who shot even- and one-over-par respectively.

The SEC, like in so many other sports, is a very good conference for golf. Currently Alabama, Auburn, Arkansas, LSU, Florida and Georgia are all in the Top-25 rankings, so a seventh place finish isn’t too bad all things considered. But the golf team finds themselves sitting on the bubble for the postseason, hoping to earn a bid to the NCAA’s. It’s just a waiting game right now.

The women’s golf team was selected today to compete in the NCAA tournament, making the field of 72 for the second-consecutive season. They will play in the Central Regional in Columbus, Ohio

— Tennis

Men’s tennis, like the baseball team, is bringing a lot of publicity to the non-major sports of Kentucky. The tennis team is led by SEC Coach of the Year Dennis Emery, and SEC Player of the Year Eric Quigley. The team has been consistently ranked in the Top-10 of the national polls, going back to last season and hasn’t dropped out in 17 weeks. They are currently ranked No. 6 with a 26-5 record. Quigley owns the most wins in school history and is only the second player to earn the title of SEC Player of the Year. To really know how good he is, he is rated the third-best singles player in the nation.

The NCAA tournament starts up next week with the first and second rounds, continuing the following week with the finals. After that is the singles and doubles championships which will surely be represented by several Kentucky players.

The women’s tennis team was an 11-seed in the SEC tournament and fell to the six-seed South Carolina in the first round a few weeks ago. They had a down season, but individual honors were high, with freshman Stephanie Fox and Edmée Morin-Kougoucheff (a native of France) being named to the SEC All-Freshman Team. The future looks bright for the women’s team.

Article written by Stuart Hammer

B.S. Broadcast Journalism from the University of Kentucky. @StuartHammerKSR

11 Comments for Spring sports roundup

  1. Houston Wildcat
    6:05 pm May 1, 2012 Permalink

    Any update on the kid from Xavier?

  2. Ridge Runner
    6:06 pm May 1, 2012 Permalink

    Appreciate the update -especially living out of state and missing many of the teams which don’t get the ink the major ones do.

    Go Blue!

  3. Champ
    6:07 pm May 1, 2012 Permalink

    I didnt know that Michelle Obama ran track for UK!

  4. John Sebastian
    6:21 pm May 1, 2012 Permalink

    I watched Quigley play in the state tournament several years ago. There was no doubt in my mind then that he was going pro one day.

  5. Allan Badillion Trahern
    6:35 pm May 1, 2012 Permalink

    I’m pretty sure I read this post earlier today about 2pm. I wondered why it was quickly removed. Guess it was posted before its time slot.

  6. SexnNursinHomes
    6:38 pm May 1, 2012 Permalink

    Who’s the hot chick softball player?

  7. Big Blue 66
    7:08 pm May 1, 2012 Permalink

    Im with 1…..he would be a perfect (as ricky 3 stacks would say) bridge player

  8. Esd
    8:56 pm May 1, 2012 Permalink

    Man that Mitch Barnhart must be a terrible AD since all these teams are doing terrible.

  9. UK Rifle >>>> WVU Rifle
    8:25 am May 2, 2012 Permalink

    Alabama’s first place in golf is being lead by a kid from kentucky.

  10. bigbluemist
    9:24 am May 2, 2012 Permalink

    Keep the updates coming on these sports! Love them too! What a great time for UK athletes.

  11. Check your Facts
    1:08 pm May 2, 2012 Permalink

    Your write up on T&F is so off that it is not even funny. First, Nadzam did indeed win the 1500m he was also in the 6th heat of that event, far from winning the actual event. Second, Tyson wasn’t in Berkeley, she was at Penn Relays in Philly. Third, SEC meet starts next week, and following that is the NCAA Regionals & Nationals, the latest they will be performing is the first week of June…not over the next couple of months. C’mon man!