Kansas track & field teams move up in USTFCCCA post-conference championships rankings
LAWRENCE, Kan. – The Kansas men’s and women’s track & field teams are both trending upwards following the conference championship weekend, according to the latest U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association weekly rankings, which has the KU men ranked No. 12 and the Jayhawk women ranked No. 17.
The No. 12 ranking for the Kansas men is an improvement by 12 spots from the last weekly rankings release prior to the Big 12 Indoor Championship. The rise in the rankings is largely due to four Jayhawks achieving season-best performances at the conference championship that rank in the top-25 of the NCAA this year.
Junior Bryce Hoppel not only recorded a season-best performance over the conference championship weekend, but he also notched a personal best, school record and the No. 3 time in the NCAA on his way to a Big 12 title in the 800-meter run. Hoppel clocked in at 1:46.84 in the 800 in Lubbock, and his altitude-converted time of 1:46.53 has him in prime position to make a run at the national title in Birmingham, March 8-9.
Freshman Cordell Tinch opened some eyes at the Big 12 meet, scoring in three separate events for the Jayhawks. Most notably, Tinch made his collegiate debut in the high jump, where he finished third and recorded a clearance of 2.19 meters (7-2.25 ft.), which was the No. 4 clearance in KU history and made him the No. 3 performer in the program annals. The clearance also ranks him 21st in the NCAA this season.
Defending indoor national champion, senior Hussain Al Hizam, looks to be peaking at the right time this season in hopes of repeating as the national champion. Al Hizam cleared a season-best 5.63 meters (18-5.5 ft.) in the pole vault to place second at the Big 12 Championship. His clearance is tied for seventh in the NCAA. Freshman Zach Bradford also ranks seventh in the NCAA in the pole vault.
Redshirt sophomore Gleb Dudarev posted the No. 3, 4, and 6 marks in KU history in the weight throw on his way to the Big 12 title in the event. His winning toss of 23.29 meters (76-5 ft.) was a season-best and ranks No. 5 in the NCAA this season.
The KU women jumped five spots from last week’s rankings, also aided heavily by four season-best performances at the Big 12 Championship.
Sophomore Honour Finley clocked a season-best time in the 400-meter dash of 53.12 seconds. The converted time of 53.23 seconds ranks No. 28 in the NCAA this season.
Senior Marleena Eubanks had a breakout performance, breaking the school record, meet record and posting the conference-leading time in the 800-meter dash on her way to the league crown. Eubanks won the 800 with a time of 2:03.99, which converts down to 2:03.63 because of altitude. The altitude-converted time ranks her No. 5 in the NCAA heading into the national championships.
The women’s 4×400-meter relay team of Mariah Kuykendoll, Jedah Caldwell, Eubanks and Finley posted a season-best time for the Jayhawks, clocking in at 3:34.49. The altitude-converted time of 3:34.93 ranks the women 13th in the event this season.
Freshman Rylee Anderson finished second in the high jump at the conference meet, posting the No. 5 performance in KU women’s history. Anderson cleared a career-best 1.82 meters (5-11.5 ft.) and ranks 10th in the NCAA this season with the mark.
Official entries to the 2019 NCAA Division I Indoor Track & Field Championships at the Birmingham CrossPlex in Birmingham, Alabama, March 8-9, will be announced later this week. Athletes that rank in the top-16 of their respective events, or relay teams that rank top-12 nationally, will qualify for the championships.
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