👟 Barkdull Clears 18 Feet, Leads Charge in Indoor Season Opener
LAWRENCE, Kan. – The Kansas track & field team opened their indoor season at home with the Bob Timmons Challenge.
Kansas had five first-place finishes, including Ashton Barkdull in the men’s pole vault, Claire Farrell in the women’s 600y, Lauren Heck in the pentathlon, Alexander Jung in the heptathlon and Oleg Klykov in the weight throw, throwing a new personal best of 21.46m to get there.
Barkdull’s performance in the men’s pole vault highlighted the meet, already setting a new PR to kick off his sophomore season. The Andover, Kansas native surpassed his previous career-best of 5.45m with a jump of 5.50m (18-00.50 feet), a height he cleared with ease and celebrated by backflipping on the landing pit after being tackled by all of his teammates.
Jung won three, placed second in three and got third in one event to make up the seven total events of the heptathlon. He ended with a total of 5550 points, with the 60m hurdles and the pole vault being his two most high scoring events.
Heck placed first in four of her five total events and got second behind fellow Jayhawk Reese Hulcher in the high jump. Heck finished the pentathlon with 3508 points, while Hulcher ended with 3295 points in her collegiate pentathlon debut.
Devin Loudermilk had quite the season debut himself in the men’s high jump, being one of the four men in this loaded field to surpass seven feet. The returning Indoor-All American finished in third with a best jump of 7.01-75 feet (2.18m), just shy of his 2.21 personal best.
The women’s pole vault crew showed strong behind unattached Jayhawk Erica Ellis, who cleared the best height on the day with her 4.17m mark. Mason Meinershagen had a new career-best in her collegiate debut, jumping 4.07m, while Gabby Hoke took third with the same height.
Meinershagen also competed in the women’s high jump, clearing a best height of 1.73m to take second place overall out of 14 total competitors.
Along with Ellis, three more Jayhawks who competed unattached also placed first in their respective events, including Garrett Wilmes in the 1000m with a time of 2:32.58 (2:30.5 converted) and Ryo Higuchi in the men’s 3000m, running 8:41.16 (8:35.17 converted). Gabrielle Gibson also was victorious, taking home the 60m hurdles win with a time of 8:22.
The Jayhawks will take a month-long break before hosting the KU-KSU-WSU Triangular on Friday, January 12. Kansas will look to defend their championship title from last season on their home track.