Kansas set for National Relay Championships
LAWRENCE, Kan. – After a successful weekend at the 92nd Kansas Relays, the Jayhawks are set for the second annual National Relay Championships, April 25-27, hosted by Arkansas at John McDonnell Field in Fayetteville, Arkansas.
ABOUT THE NATIONAL RELAY CHAMPIONSHIPS
The National Relay Championships meet was created in 2018 by Arkansas, and brings some of the most well-respected track & field programs in the nation together for a highly-competitive, relays-based meet prior to the NCAA Outdoor Championships. Modeled after the biennial IAAF World Relays, the meet is scored on relay events only, with a men’s and women’s National Relay Champion crowned at the end of the meet. This year’s competition will feature the Jayhawks going up against a number of nationally-recognized programs. Five top-25 men’s programs will be competing at the meet, including No. 9 Stanford, No. 11 Mississippi State, No. 15 Arkansas, No. 16 Texas and No. 19 Baylor. Five top-25 women’s programs will also be in attendance, including No. 1 Arkansas, No. 12 Kansas State, No. 15 Texas, No. 20 Stanford and No. 22 Washington. Big 12 schools also in attendance include Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and TCU.
36-YEAR SCHOOL RECORD FALLS
Although Kansas is known as being a school that is highly successful in pole vault year-in and year-out, the KU outdoor school record in the event stood unchanged for 36 years, until the 2019 Kansas Relays. At 5.76 meters (18-10.75 ft.), Jeff Buckingham’s school record was an American Record in 1983, but freshman Zach Bradford was able to take it down on his way to a KU Relays title this season. Bradford cleared 5.77 meters (18-11 ft.) to claim the school record, go above and beyond the 2019 IAAF World Championships qualifying standard (5.71m) and record the No. 2 mark in the NCAA and No. 4 mark in the world this year.
HOPPEL’S WIN STREAK CONTINUES
2019 NCAA indoor 800-meter national champion Bryce Hoppel improved his individual-race win streak to 12 at the Kansas Relays, winning both the 1,500-meter and 800-meter titles. Hoppel was named NCAA Midwest Region Indoor Track Athlete of the Year and has won every individual race he has competed in since the 2018 NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships 800-meter final (June 8) where he finished fourth to earn First Team All-America honors. He currently ranks No. 26 in the West region this season in the 800-meter run with his time of 1:48.94 at the Texas Relays. Hoppel is slated to run the 800 meters at the National Relay Championships, as well as the 4×800 and 4×400 relays.
Junior Gleb Dudarev’s 74.39-meter (244-1 ft.) hammer throw mark at the Florida Relays ranks No. 3 in the NCAA and No. 18 in the world this season, and earned him Big 12 Co-Men’s Athlete of the Week, announced April 3. The weekly honor marks the sixth of Dudarev’s career. Dudarev has won the last two events he has competed in, the Battle on the Bayou (April 6) and the 92nd Kansas Relays (April 18).
TINCH AMONG BEST IN THE WEST (X3)
Freshman Cordell Tinch has catapulted into the NCAA West Preliminary top-30 in three different events this outdoor season. Tinch is ranked 17th in the high jump in the West region with his clearance of 2.11 meters (6-11 ft.) at the Kansas Relays, 23rd in the 110-meter hurdles with a wind-aided time of 14.04 seconds set at the Battle on the Bayou and 28th in the long jump with a wind-aided mark of 7.51 meters (24-7.75 ft.) at the KU Relays. Should Tinch advance to the NCAA West Preliminary Round in all three events, he would be the first Jayhawk to do so since Diamond Dixon in 2013.
The Kansas pole vaulters have a history of great success under associate head coach Tom Hays. With just three meets remaining until the NCAA West Preliminary in Sacramento, KU has four vaulters currently in qualifying position. Zach Bradford’s school-record breaking clearance ranks him No. 2 in the West and No. 2 in the NCAA, while sophomore Kyle Rogers ranks No. 10 in the West and No. 24 in the NCAA. For the KU women, senior Alexis Romero ranks No. 16 in the West and No. 24 in the NCAA and sophomore Khristen Bryant ranks No. 26 in the NCAA.
EMILIANOV AMONG NCAA TOP-25 IN SHOT PUT AND DISCUS
Sophomore Alexandra Emilianov is the only Kansas women’s thrower to rank in the NCAA top-25 standings. She is also the only Kansas thrower (men or women) to be ranked in the top-25 in two events (shot put and discus). Emilianov’s discus mark of 57.47 meters (188-6 ft.) at the ESU Spring Invitational earned her second place at the meet, while posting the No. 9 discus mark in KU history. She currently ranks No. 5 in the West region and No. 7 in the NCAA for the discus. Emilianov’s throw of 16.27m (53-4.5 ft.) in the shot put at the Battle on the Bayou is the 15th-best mark in the West region.
EVANS EYES RETURN TO NCAA OUTDOOR CHAMPIONSHIPS
Sophomore George Evans currently sits at No. 8 in the NCAA for the men’s discus. The Inverness, Scotland native has participated in four meets this outdoor season, and posted his best throw at the Battle on the Bayou with a mark of 59.84 meters (196-4 ft.). Additionally, Evans posted a personal-best mark in the shot put at the Florida Relays, throwing 16.01 meters (52-6.5 ft.).
ANDERSON BECOMES NO. 9 PERFORMER IN KU HISTORY
A seventh-place finish in Section A of the high jump at the Texas Relays made freshman Rylee Anderson the No. 9 performer in KU history in the event, clearing 1.77 meters (5-9.75 ft.) to enter KU’s top-10. Anderson is currently No. 9 in the West region and No. 25 in the NCAA this season.
EUBANKS LOOKS TO BUILD ON INDOOR SUCCESS
After garnering USTFCCCA Midwest Region Indoor Track Athlete of the Year honors for breaking the 800-meter school record at the Big 12 Indoor Championship and winning the conference title, Marleena Eubanks looks to continue building off of her indoor success during the remainder of the outdoor season. Eubanks is currently ranked No. 29 in the West region in the 800-meter run, finishing fourth at the Texas Relays with a time of 2:06.79.
LOKEDI NAMED BIG 12 WOMEN’S PERFORMER OF THE YEAR
Kansas senior Sharon Lokedi was named the 2019 Big 12 Indoor Track & Field Women’s Performer of the Year, which marks the second-consecutive year the Eldoret, Kenya native took home the honor. Lokedi’s win was largely in part to her earning the women’s high point award at the Big 12 Championship and being a part of two school records (5,000m and DMR) during the course of the indoor season. Lokedi followed up her Big 12 Performer of the Year award with a Second Team All-America honor at the NCAA Indoor Championships to conclude her collegiate career.
KANSAS WOMEN POST RECORD-SETTING SEMESTER IN THE CLASSROOM
The Kansas women’s track & field team were one of four KU teams to record a team-best semester in the classroom, leading to a department-record 3.11 all-sports combined GPA in the Fall 2018 semester. The KU women’s track & field team recorded a program-best 3.42 GPA for the Fall semester. The Kansas men’s team was able to notch a 2.91 GPA.
REDWINE SIGNS NO. 3 MEN’S CLASS
According to Track & Field News, 19th-year head coach Stanley Redwine’s 2018 KU men’s recruiting class is the No. 3 signing class is the nation. Coming in behind Georgia and Texas A&M, the Jayhawks made the top-5 for the first time ever.
Highlighting the recruiting class is Zach Bradford, a pole vaulter out of Bloomington, Illinois, who represented the USA at the 2018 IAAF World U20 Championships in Tampere, Finland, where he earned a silver medal. Bradford posted the No. 8 all-time high school pole vault mark, clearing 18-2.5 ft. his senior season.
Also highlighting the signing class are Treyvon Ferguson, a triple jumper hailing from Hershey, Pennsylvania and Patrick Larrison, a thrower from Moore, Oklahoma.
The Jayhawks will compete at the Ward Haylett Invitational in Manhattan, Kansas, May 3-4 to conclude the regular season before conference action. The Big 12 Outdoor Track & Field Championships are scheduled for May 10-12 at the John Jacobs Track & Field Complex in Norman, Oklahoma.