Kentucky track legend calls for end to college career

One of the best sprinters in the history of Kentucky’s storied track and field program has announced the end of her college career.

Abby Steiner, an NCAA and SEC champion and record holder, said she ran her last race in the Kentucky colors.

Steiner spent the weekend in Eugene, Oregon, sprint to victory in the 200 meters at the US Outdoor Track and Field Championships and securing a spot in the July World Outdoor Championships, also held in Eugene.

But after Saturday’s run, Steiner said the weekend would be the last time she wears the Wildcat uniform.

This paves the way for a highly anticipated professional career and marks the end of Steiner’s four-year career with UK.

Steiner had another college season on the table after the NCAA added a year to qualify for athletes in school for the 2020 pandemic season.

Steiner had said at a press conference in mid-June that nothing had been decided on her future with the UK.

originally a athlete with two sports in Kentucky Steiner has only issued a season with the football program before turning into a sprint phenomenon that set college and national records.

Steiner’s list of awards from her time in Lexington includes:

The US, collegiate, SEC and UK record in the 200 meters indoor (22.09 seconds).

The collegiate, SEC and UK record in the outdoor 200 (21.80 seconds).

The collegiate, SEC and UK record in the indoor 300 (35.80 seconds).

Part of the collegiate record outdoor 4-by-400 relay (3:21.93).

School records in the indoor 60, outdoor 100, indoor and outdoor 200, indoor 300, and the indoor and outdoor 4-by-400 relay

Kentucky sprinter Abby Steiner set an American record in the 200m indoor at the SEC Championships in February.

Kentucky sprinter Abby Steiner set an American record in the 200m indoor at the SEC Championships in February.

In addition to those records, Steiner has a lot of hardware from her time with the Wildcats, including the following:

NCAA outdoor 200 meter champion (2022).

NCAA outdoor 4-by-400 relay champion (2022).

NCAA indoor 200 champion (2021 and 2022).

SEC indoor 200 champion (2020, 2021 and 2022).

SEC outdoor 4-by-400 relay champion (2022).

Fifteen times All-American.

Kentucky's Abby Steiner was first in the 200-meter, third in the 100, and was part of the team's gold-medal-winning squad in the 4-by-400 relay and silver-medal-winning 4-by-100 relay at the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships in Oregon last weekend.

Kentucky’s Abby Steiner was first in the 200-meter, third in the 100, and was part of the team’s gold-medal-winning squad in the 4-by-400 relay and silver-medal-winning 4-by-100 relay at the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships in Oregon last weekend.

Steiner managed to achieve all this despite different obstacles throughout her career, especially during the outdoor seasons.

As a freshman in 2019, just months after throwing herself full-time on the job, Steiner reached the SEC outdoor championships, but didn’t win any of her events.

The 2020 NCAA and SEC outdoor championships never took place due to the coronavirus pandemic, and Steiner had to sit out most of the 2021 outdoor season due to a left Achilles tendon injury.

“I hope my journey can inspire other younger girls not to fear adversity and change and to face it,” Steiner said in May. “Everything happens for a reason. I just hope that my journey with injuries and becoming a two-sport athlete and then transitioning to a sport can inspire people to pursue their dreams and not be afraid of changes that come along the way.” take place.”

Steiner’s college career culminated with a strong performance at the 2022 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships.

She set a new collegiate record in the 200m and was part of the NCAA title-winning 4 x 400m relay team for the UK.

“It was super surreal to look back on the journey of it all and how many setbacks we’ve had to overcome,” Steiner said in June. “It was so special…there were definitely some tears on the track.”

Abby Steiner entered the UK as an athlete with two scholarships, playing football and athletics.  After her freshman season, she transitioned to the track exclusively and has developed into an All-American.

Abby Steiner entered the UK as an athlete with two scholarships, playing football and athletics. After her freshman season, she transitioned to the track exclusively and has developed into an All-American.

Steiner becomes a track star

Steiner grew up as a dual-sport athlete in Ohio, but didn’t start running until eighth grade to complement her soccer career.

Steiner said she was repeatedly the fastest player during club football tryouts as a child.

“I think I started to see glimpses of speed just from being on the football field,” recalls Steiner.

Despite Steiner recovering from a torn ACL during her freshman year of high school, Steiner set Ohio state records in four different track events and won 16 state track titles.

Steiner said growing up in Ohio, she drew inspiration from her older sister, Riley, a lacrosse player and runner who diagnosed with leukemia while a senior in high school.

“She was a big motivator for me when I really started competing in competitive sports,” said Steiner. “Just seeing her and how she dealt with adversity and how strong she was.”

Steiner – a masters in human health sciences (prephysical therapy) in the UK – also had individual success during her short time with the UK football team.

She started all 19 games and scored twice on the field during the 2018 season, but Steiner’s choice to focus solely on the track allowed her to become one of the fastest women in the world.

“The great thing about Abby is that she’s disciplined. When you work on the gift, success follows the gift when you work on it. When talent prepares, it’s hard to beat talent,” head coach Lonnie Greene said earlier this year. ‘She is a student of her craft. She studies what she does. She knows her body, she rests. …I think as a result, God honors that. He honors that obedience and the work it does.”

Greene – who was hired as head coach of the British athletics track in the summer of 2018 – said Steiner’s choice to come to the UK that same year was “a blessing”.

“Everyone and their mom tried to recruit Abby to be a track and field athlete, but luckily she committed herself to playing soccer at the University of Kentucky,” Greene said. “As a result, the athletics program benefited from it.”

Greene doesn’t shy away from what he thinks Steiner can achieve in the future.

“The sky is the limit for what she’s getting ready for. At the end of the day, if it’s done right, if it’s done right, her name will be in the light,” Greene said last month. “Maybe at the World Cup I’ll be crying like a big sissy when she wins medals.”

Abby Steiner, center, wins the women's 60-meter dash at the Rod McCravy Memorial track and field race in Lexington in January.  Steiner leaves the UK as one of the most decorated athletes.

Abby Steiner, center, wins the women’s 60-meter dash at the Rod McCravy Memorial track and field race in Lexington in January. Steiner leaves the UK as one of the most decorated athletes.

UK track program continues progress

Steiner’s choice to come to Kentucky has helped the UK achieve recent team success, leading to future improvements to the track program.

The Kentucky Women finished in third place at the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships in early June.

The Wildcat women also finished in third place at the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships in March.

Earlier this year, major facility upgrades were announced for the UK track programs.

A self-contained indoor athletics facility will be built, while Nutter Field House, which the UK athletics program currently calls home, will undergo football-focused renovations.

UK Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart said the new track facility, estimated to cost $20 million, will be built in part on the site of Cliff Hagan Stadium, formerly Britain’s baseball stadium. currently stands.

And from July a new five-year contract for Greene takes effect.

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