| Joey Uhle won the inaugural Street Pole Vault held in West Lawrence Thursday evening.
RESULTS | NOTES | QUOTES | GALLERY
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Over 1,000 fans were treated to star-studded and high-flying entertainment as the Street Pole Vault took to the streets of Lawrence on day two of the 89th Kansas Relays presented by Subway Thursday. Joey Uhle vaulted to the first Street Vault crown and was followed by Kansas alum and hometown favorite Jordan Scott, who earned the runner-up finish.
A picturesque Thursday evening was the setting of another one of the Kansas Relays’ unique events as seven professional pole vaulters hit the runway constructed in the middle of a parking lot in West Lawrence. The event had some hometown flavor to it as former Jayhawk vaulter and current Lawrence resident Scott was entered in the event.
Four competitors quickly separated themselves from the rest as Uhle, Scott, Mark Hollis and Jack Whitt quickly tallied two clearances over 5.20 meters (17’0¾”) and 5.30 meters (17’4½”). Scott produced perhaps the largest cheer from the crowd, estimated at over 1,000, when he was the first over 5.40 meters (17’8½”) on his first attempt.
All three remaining vaulters would match Scott at that height, but only Uhle could go any further. The former Air Force All-American slipped over 5.50 meters (18’0½”) on his second attempt at the height.
The win is the second of the year for Uhle, after he also took the Texas Relays B-Section vault in early April.
It was also an historic day in the throws field as veteran A.G. Kruger turned in the best hammer throw performance the Kansas Relays has seen in over 30 years. The five-time American title winner got the implement out to 71.81 meters (235’7″) on his second trip into the ring. The attempt was more than enough to give Kruger the win, his second of 2016.
Kruger’s mark broke the facility record by over seven feet, topping the previous record of 69.57 meters (228’3″), set by Purdue’s Chukwuebuka Enekwechi at last year’s Kansas Relays. His winning mark was also the best by a hammer thrower at the KU Relays since current meet record holder Yuri Tamm (USSR) posted 244’2″ at the 1983 event.
Kruger’s successful day wasn’t done though as he enjoyed success on the coaching side of things. Currently the throws coach for South Dakota, Kruger saw his athletes sweep the men’s and women’s open division shot put competitions. Junior Danielle Waldner turned in a career best on her way to the win, posting a top throw of 15.87 meters (52’0¾”), before senior Coyote Kyle McElvey earned the men’s shot put victory with his final throw, a toss of 17.66 meters (57’11¼’).
The decathlon and heptathlon concluded during the second day’s events and it was a pair of underclassmen who came away from Rock Chalk Park with hardware. In the heptathlon, Texas Tech’s Kaylee Hinton became the first freshman to claim a Kansas Relays heptathlon title in 13 years with a wire-to-wire victory in the event. Hinton had the overnight lead and did not relinquish it over the heptathlon’s final three events. She opened the day with a dominant win in the long jump, hitting a mark of 5.89 meters (19’4″), a leap more than 16 inches ahead of the rest of the field.
Hinton’s race to victory wasn’t a smooth one, with some resistance from senior teammate Natalie Thompson. Thompson was the top thrower out of the javelin, edging Hinton with her heave of 41.33 meters (135’7″). Hinton took a 170-point lead into the final event, the 800 meters, but needed the cushion after Thompson made a strong kick to overtake her fellow Red Raider in the half-mile race. Thompson clocked in at 2:19.74, nearly six seconds better than Hinton; however, it wasn’t enough as the freshman held on for the win, amassing a final score of 5,348 points.
Hinton’s win marked the best finish by a freshman in the Kansas Relays heptathlon since 2003, when Nebraska’s Ashley Selig claimed the victory with 4,954 points. Her winning score would have also been good enough to win five of the last seven heptathlons at the KU Relays.
On the men’s side, it was a sophomore who held off an elder teammate in Nebraska’s Cody Walton. Walton never led during the first day’s events, but took over the top spot on the leaderboard following day two’s first event and never looked back. He turned in over 800 points in two of the final five events, in the 110-meter hurdles (14.58) and in the javelin (64.89m), en route to a career-best score. Walton crossed the finish in the decathlon’s final event, the 1,500 meters, in 4:58.68 to put the final exclamation point on his first collegiate decathlon win. His final score of 7,327 points was 184 points clear of 2014 KU Relays Champion, Nebraska’s Guy Fenske, and 451 points ahead of the reigning decathlon champion, Colorado State’s Josh Cogdill.
Walton’s score was the best by a KU Relays decathlon champion since 2008, when Missouri’s Nick Adcock won with 7,329 points. The win also marked the fourth time in the last six years a Nebraska Cornhusker has won the Kansas Relays decathlon.
Two more full days await at the 89th Kansas Relays presented by Subway. High school events get underway at 8 a.m., Friday with the first collegiate events on the track at 10:15 a.m. Log on to KansasRelays.com for updates and follow on Twitter at @KU_Relays.
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