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Olympian Sydney McLaughlin will join the University of Kentucky’s Track and Field Team

Team USA Track and Field athlete Sydney McLaughlin. Photo: USA Today Sports Images, NBCOlympics.com

One of the best stories for the United States Olympic Track and Field team was the rise of high school sensation Sydney McLaughlin. McLaughlin became the youngest U.S. track and field Olympian since 1972 when she competed in the 400-meter hurdles in Rio. She is currently the national high school and American junior record holder in the 400-meter hurdles.

McLaughlin, a senior at Union Catholic High School, announced her decision to attend the University of Kentucky. There were thoughts of her electing to forgo competing in college and become a professional track runner, just as Vashti Cunningham did this past season. McLaughlin chose otherwise and will be a member of the Kentucky Wildcats track team.

McLaughlin was obviously one of the most sought after high school recruits in recent years. Her only other official visit was the University of Southern California (USC). According to McLaughlin, she felt more comfortable at the University of Kentucky and really connected with the people there.

This is a good choice for Sydney as the women’s program at the University of Kentucky has done an excellent job of recruiting great female athletes. One of those standpoint athletes is former Wildcat Kendra Harrison.

Harrison had a sensational season in 2016 as she broke the world record in the 100-meter hurdles. Unfortunately, she did not make the U.S. Olympic team due to a bad race at the Olympic trials, but she easily had the best season of her young career.

Harrison is 24 years old and currently trains with the coaching staff at the University of Kentucky. Sydney will be able to train with the likes of Harrison and other great female athletes.

Congratulations to the University of Kentucky women’s track and field program for successfully recruiting the 2016 Gatorade National Female High School Athlete of the Year. Hopefully Sydney will have tons of success as a Kentucky Wildcat.

By Dr. Brandon Spradley

Dr. Spradley is the Director of Sports Management at the United States Sports Academy, and can be reached at bspradley@ussa.edu.

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