|Big 12 Outdoor Championship
||May 12-14, 2017
||Rock Chalk Park
MEET HQ | TICKETS | SCHEDULE | NOTES
LAWRENCE, Kan. – The Kansas track & field teams return to Rock Chalk Park this weekend to host the 2017 Big 12 Outdoor Championships May 12-14. The Jayhawks will host their first Big 12 meet in the league’s history and their first conference championship since it hosted the Big Eight outdoor meet in 1994. All three days of action will be broadcast on FloTrack.com.
- This weekend, Kansas will host its first league championship meet since 1994 when the Big 12 Championship is held at Rock Chalk Park.
- The Kansas men checked in at No. 14 in the latest NCAA rankings released this week. That marks the highest the Jayhawks have been ranked heading into the conference championship meet dating back to 2008 when the current ranking format began.
- The Jayhawk men are coming off runner-up finishes in each of the last two Big 12 gatherings, finishing second at the 2016 outdoor meet as well as the 2017 indoor championship. A team title this weekend would be the program’s first outdoor league crown since claiming the Big Eight outdoor title in 1982.
- With a finish in the top four this weekend at Rock Chalk Park, the Kansas women will finish among the league’s top-four teams for the sixth-straight year, extending the program’s longest streak since the Big 12 was formed in 1996.
- In his first 16 years at the helm of Kansas track & field, head coach Stanley Redwine has seen an average of 3.7 Jayhawks claim an individual conference title every year. Since 2012 he has stepped it up, with Kansas claiming 30 Big 12 outdoor titles for an average of over six per year over the last five seasons.
- Kansas women hold Big 12 Outdoor Championship records in three events, each of which have come within the last four years. Alena Krechyk holds the hammer throw record (2012), the Jayhawks own the 4×400-meter relay record (2012) and Jessica Maroszek rewrote the discus record at the conference meet in 2014.
- If the season were to end today, 27 Jayhawks (17 men, 10 women) and a relay would qualify for the NCAA West Preliminary, which will be hosted in Austin, Texas, May 25-27.
- Kansas placed a league-leading 44 student-athletes on the Academic All-Big 12 teams Tuesday. Twenty-three Kansas women and 13 Jayhawk men managed first-team nods with juniors Hannah Dimmick and Laura Taylor as well as sophomore Emily Downey being three of 18 Big 12 women to post a perfect 4.0 GPA.
- Six Jayhawks enter this weekend’s meet having posted marks that lead the conference in their respective events. The list includes Sharon Lokedi (10,000m), Sydney Conley (long jump), Hussain Al Hizam and Jake Albright (pole vault), Mitch Cooper (discus) and Gleb Dudarev (hammer throw).
TIME TITLE TALLIES
The Kansas men have a successful history at their conference’s outdoor meet. The Jayhawks boast 33 team championships dating back to 1910 with the most recent coming in 1982. The run included 26 conference crowns spanning from 1952-82. The KU men’s highest finish in the Big 12 Conference was a runner-up finish at the meet last year in Fort Worth, Texas.
On the women’s side, the Jayhawks won their first team championship at the outdoor league meet in 2013, and have notched runner-up finishes three times since 1974, including their second-place finish at the 2012 Big 12 Championship.
KU LEADS BIG 12 WITH 44 ACADEMIC HONOREES
For the second-straight year, the Kansas men’s and women’s track & field teams boasted the most academic honorees in the conference as a total of 44 Kansas student-athletes were named to the 2017 Academic All-Big 12 Men’s and Women’s Track & Field Teams, the league office announced Tuesday. Both men’s and women’s teams led their respective genders, with the KU women boasting a team-record 26 first and second team selections, and the men adding 18 honorees.
Twenty-three Jayhawk women were placed on the first team, led by juniors Hannah Dimmick and Laura Taylor as well as sophomore Emily Downey, who were three of 18 women to claim spots on the league’s academic list with a perfect 4.0 GPA, Dimmick doing so for the third-straight year. On the men’s side, 13 KU student-athletes earned a spot on the first team, which included sophomore Hussain Al Hizam, who achieved a perfect 4.0 GPA en route to his first Academic All-Big 12 selection.
WELCOME TO ROCK CHALK PARK
The Kansas track & field squads are ready to show off their state-of-the-art track facility at Rock Chalk Park this weekend, as they welcome their nine conference foes for the Big 12 Championship. The facility will host its first Big 12 meet after having already hosted four Kansas Relays and the 2016 NCAA West Preliminary in its four years of existence.
The facility has already been touted as one of the nation’s top track & field facilities as it has attained the prestigious IAAF Class I status. The $39 million facility houses the Kansas track, soccer and softball teams. The track portion of the facility has just over 6,100 permanent seats with the ability to bring in an additional 4,000 temporary seats for larger events. Rock Chalk Park has already won a bid to host its second NCAA West Preliminary meet, coming in 2020.
The track surface may be considered the crown jewel of the entire complex. The surface at Rock Chalk Park, installed by Beynon Sports Surfaces, underwent in-situ testing for the Class I certification process. With the IAAF’s approval, the track is capable of hosting meets of an international level and is one of only five facilities in the U.S. with Class I status.
With the Big 12 Championship looming this weekend, the Kansas Jayhawks will look to back up the superiority they have already displayed by way of the Big 12 rankings. The women’s team, which has finished inside the top-four of the Big 12 Conference standings each of the last five years, currently has seven Jayhawks and a relay boasting marks ranking in the top-five of the league’s yearly performance list. That list includes senior Sydney Conley and junior Sharon Lokedi, who lead the conference ranks in the long jump and 10,000 meters, respectively.
The Jayhawk men also have several team members who have climbed their way near the top of the conference standings. Kansas has nine athletes among the top-five in their respective events. Senior Mitch Cooper has posted the conference’s best discus mark, while senior Jake Albright and sophomore Hussain Al Hizam are tied for the league lead in the pole vault. Freshman Gleb Dudarev leads the NCAA and the conference in the hammer throw.
CONLEY COLLECTS SEASON’S FINAL BIG 12 ATHLETE OF THE WEEK AWARD
A league-leading long jump mark last weekend helped senior Sydney Conley collect the Big 12 Track & Field Athlete of the Week award it was announced by the conference Wednesday. The honor was the second of Conley’s career and the first by a Jayhawk female this season.
Conley turned in a pair of career-best performances which led to two victories Saturday at the Ward Haylett Invitational in Manhattan, Kansas. On her sixth and final trip down the runway in the long jump, Conley soared to a mark of 6.62 meters (21-8¾) to not only secure the win, but also insert her name at No. 5 on the most recent NCAA DI long jump rankings and to first in the Big 12.
She returned to the track just an hour later and snared her second gold medal of the day. The senior sprinted across the finish line in 11.49 to win the 100 meters, the fastest non-wind-aided time of her KU career and the seventh-fastest in the Big 12 this season.
JAYHAWKS IN THE REGIONAL RANKS
With just over two weeks remaining before the NCAA Championships kick off at the West Preliminary in Austin, both Kansas teams are primed to have large contingents compete in Texas with a host of Jayhawks ranked among the elite in the West Region. The Jayhawk women currently feature 10 athletes and a relay team who find themselves among the all-important top-48 of the regional rankings and would qualify for the West Prelim meet beginning May 25. Seventeen KU men have tallied performances that have also moved them into NCAA Preliminary qualifying position. Freshman Gleb Dudarev remains atop the regional rankings after his school-record performance in the hammer throw at the Sun Angel Classic on April 7.
Other Jayhawks in the top-10 in the West Region include: Jake Albright (pole vault), Hussain Al Hizam (pole vault), Paulo Benavides (pole vault), Mitch Cooper (discus), Nicolai Ceban (discus), Sydney Conley (long jump) and Sharon Lokedi (10,000 meters).
KANSAS MEN CHECK IN AT NO. 14 IN NCAA RANKINGS
The Kansas men’s track & field squad jumped two spots to 14th in the latest top-25 rankings released by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) Monday. The ranking marks the program’s the sixth-straight week the Jayhawks find themselves among the top-20.
The Jayhawk men’s team currently features seven athletes that rank inside the NCAA’s top-25 in their respective events. That number includes four Jayhawks who have marks that put them inside the top-five in their events. Gleb Dudarev, competing for the first time in the 2017 outdoor season, posted an NCAA-leading and school record mark en route to a win in the hammer throw at the Sun Angel Classic on April 7. In his first collegiate competition he posted a winning throw of 72.69 meters (238-6), a mark that leads the DI ranks by more than three feet.
Sophomore Hussain Al Hizam cleared a personal-best bar of 5.60 meters (18-4½) in the pole vault in Tempe, which has him at No. 5 on the collegiate list. He’s joined there by senior teammate Jake Albright, who got over the same height the week prior at the Texas Relays.
Senior Mitch Cooper has the nation’s fifth-best mark in the discus so far this season. He won the event for the second-straight year at the Kansas Relays, posting a toss of 61.77 meters (202-8).
KANSAS TO HOST NCAA TRACK, CROSS COUNTRY REGIONALS IN 2020
The University of Kansas’ state-of-the-art track facility at Rock Chalk Park has once again picked up a major event as it will play host to the 2020 NCAA West Preliminary meet the NCAA announced Tuesday. Kansas is also slated to host the 2020 NCAA Cross Country Midwest Regional, which is to be held at the Jayhawks’ Rim Rock Farm Course.
Rock Chalk Park, which opened in April of 2014, will see Kansas host its second West Preliminary May 28-30, 2020. The regional meet is the considered the first round of the NCAA Championships and is one of two preliminary meets that will be held two weeks prior to the National Championships. The West Region includes every DI track & field program west of the Mississippi River and has produced 13 of the last 16 men’s and women’s national team champions.
At the West Preliminary, the top-48 athletes in each event compete in a bracket-style qualifying format and look to advance through each round. The top-24 athletes in each event and the top-16 relay teams advance to the National Championship meet, which will be held in Eugene, Oregon, in 2020.
Later that year, Kansas will also host its second NCAA Midwest Cross Country Regional at its 42-year-home, Rim Rock Farm. The meet, which is scheduled to be held on Nov. 13, 2020, will feature 30 men’s and women’s cross country teams from across the Midwest vying for spots at the NCAA Championships. The top-two finishing teams, as well as two top individual finishers, will qualify for the national meet to be hosted in Stillwater, Oklahoma. Rim Rock Farm hosted the Midwest Regional in 2015, the NCAA DI and DII Championships in 1998 as well as the Big 12 Championships in 2004 and 2014.
This year’s Kansas track & field roster includes several athletes who come from some impressive track & field family backgrounds:
- Senior long jump specialist Sydney Conley is the daughter of Mike Conley, who won a gold medal in the triple jump at the 1992 Olympics while also breaking the world record in the event. Conley still holds the indoor American record in the triple jump (58-3¾). Sydney Conley is also the niece of KU track & field head coach Stanley Redwine.
- Sophomore pole vaulter Paulo Benavides’ father, Paul, held the Mexican national pole vault record for 12 years.
- Senior pole vaulter Nick Maestretti’s father, Lane, was two-time competitor in the decathlon at the Olympic Trials and at one time held the American record in the decathlon pole vault.
- Junior Dorie Dalzell is the daughter of Greg Dalzell, who ran track at KU from 1981-86 and was a member of the Big Eight championship team. Dalzell’s grandfather, Art, also ran track and cross country at KU in 1953 where he was a member of the national championship cross country team.
- Freshman Denzel Harper’s father, Derek, was a member of the Michigan track team and still holds the school’s indoor long jump record at 7.89 meters (25-10¾).
- Freshman Ethan Donley’s mother, Julie, competed in the 800 meters at the 1992 Summer Olympic Games in Barcelona.
With the final regular-season meet in the books, the Kansas men and women will look toward the preliminary rounds of the NCAA Championships. The Jayhawks will travel to the West Region Preliminary meet May 25-27 at Mike A. Myers Stadium in Austin, Texas, which will provide KU athletes with opportunities to advance to the NCAA National Championships in Eugene, Oregon, two weeks later. The Jayhawks will wait to see which competitors will compete in Austin when the qualifier lists are released Wednesday, May 17. Log on to KUAthletics.com for complete coverage of the Jayhawks’ journey through the rounds of the NCAA Championships and follow on Twitter at @KUTrack.
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