Jayhawks Open 2016 with Dominant Showing at Bill Easton Classic

Bill Easton Classic
Anschutz Pavilion // Lawrence, Kan.

Sophomore Jaron Hartley claimed victory in the 400 meters Friday night at the Bill Easton Classic.
Bill Easton Classic
Overall Results
Kansas Results


LAWRENCE, Kan. – The Kansas track and field teams combined for 22 event victories including 15 of 19 events on the women’s side as the Jayhawks kicked off 2016 at the Bill Easton Classic Friday inside Anschutz Pavilion. The KU women were nearly perfect on the track, claiming wins in 11 of the 12 running events, while 11 Jayhawk men turned in career best marks in their first outing of the New Year.
“There some good and not so good performances today but overall I was pleased with what we did today,” said head coach Stanley Redwine. “There were some people that took big strides over the break and those were the ones that had good outings today. In all, it was a good way to start the year.”
After arriving on campus for the first time just six days prior, freshman LaTyria Jefferson wasted little time getting her first collegiate victory in the high jump. The Desoto, Texas product was perfect on the first three heights of the day, clearing 1.55 meters (4’11”), 1.60 meters (5’3″) and 1.65 meters (5’5″) in only one attempt each. Jefferson then needed two tries at 1.70 meters (5’7″) but cleared the bar, which eventually earned her the victory. The clearance moved Jefferson into the top-25 of the latest NCAA rankings and to No. 2 on the Big 12 performance list.
All-American Sydney Conley got her year off to a good start by claiming the title in the long jump. Conley only took one attempt in the competition, but it was good enough to get the gold. On her first trip down the runway, the senior flew to a mark of 6.02 meters (19’9″), a distance no other competitor could match.
Conley returned to the track later in the day to take part in the final of the 60 meters. The event marked a rematch between Conley and her junior teammate, Zainab Sanni, who came out on top in the KU duo’s first matchup of the season last month at the Bob Timmons Challenge. The two were separated by .06 seconds in December but managed to shorten that gap in the event final Friday. The two entered the final five meets neck-and-neck but Sanni managed to out-lean her senior teammate my centimeters in the photo finish. Sanni crossed the finish in 7.43, just .01 ahead of Conley, who came across in a personal-record-tying 7.44.
Sophomore Tre Daniels continued his solid start to the indoor campaign by posting a personal record in the 200 meters for the second-consecutive meet. Daniels outdueled senior teammates Drew Matthews and Jaime Wilson for the win, sprinting through the finish in 22.11, a time that shaved .25 seconds off his previous best. Matthews wasn’t far behind with his runner-up clocking of 22.29, also a personal best, while Wilson came across third in 22.32.
Four months removed from picking up a victory in his first collegiate outing on the cross country course, freshman Dylan Hodgson did the same in his first career outing on a collegiate track. The Washington, Kansas product was briefly challenged at the start of his 3,000-meter race but quickly separated himself from the rest of the field. Hodgson completed the 1.8-mile event in 8:30.61 to earn the victory by more than two seconds over the next finisher.
Courtney Coppinger also earned her first collegiate victory on an indoor track after running to a win in the women’s 3,000 meters. Coppinger took over the lead early in the race and never looked back, building her lead to more than 10 seconds over halfway through the race. The junior crossed the finish in a personal-record time of 10:10.65 to top the field by nearly 11 seconds.
Twin sisters Nashia and Malika Baker both walked away from Bill Easton Track with hardware Friday night. Nashia hit the track first, competing in the mile run. The junior controlled the race from start to finish and sprinted to the victory with a time of 5:03.60. Ninety minutes later, Malika toed the start line of the 1,000 meters and turned in a career-best clocking en route to her own victory. Her time of 2:57.52 was good enough to top the field by over five seconds.
Sophomore Anthonio Humphrey had a day to remember after he took the top-collegiate finish in the 600 yards. The Oklahoma City product made his 2¾ laps in 1:12.32 to come in as the top collegiate finisher and less than two seconds behind KU alumnus Kyle Clemons. Humphrey’s time ranked him third in the Big 12 after the first month of the indoor season.
In the women’s 600 yards, it was a KU freshman who claimed her first collegiate title. Nicole Montgomery went through the race unchallenged, coming across the line nearly three seconds ahead of the field. The Colorado Springs product posted a winning time of 1:23.05, moving her to the top of the Big 12 rankings.
Other Jayhawks to claim individual titles Friday were sophomore Jaron Hartley (400m, 49.70), senior Brandon Bernal (Mile, 4:23.76), junior Curtis Ray (long jump, 7.18m), junior Tianna Valentine (200m, 25.56), junior Whitney Adams (400m, 56.40), sophomore Daria Cook (60-meter hurdles, 8.63) and senior Anastasiya Muchkayev (shot put, 14.49m).
The relays closed out the meet on a high note for both the KU men and women. The distance medley relay squads won in dominating fashion with the women posting the nation’s fastest clocking in the event so far this season. The women’s squad made up of Kelli McKenna, Dorie Dalzell, Lydia Saggau and Malika Baker passed the baton around in 12:15.95 for the easy victory. The quartet’s time, for the moment at least, ranked Kansas atop the national standings in the event. The men’s DMR consisted of Hodgson, Adel Yoonis, Bernal and James Hampton, who combined for a winning time of 10:34.21.
The 4×400-meter groups followed the lead of the Jayhawks’ distance medley teams. The women’s squad of Cook, Sanni, Caraline Slattery and Wumi Omare turned in a winning time of 3:54.67. The KU men’s 4×400-meter quartet of Matthews, Alex Wilson, Jaime Wilson and Matt Anyiwo got the baton around in 3:18.54 to claim victory by nearly a second over runner-up Barton County.
The Jayhawks will return to Anschutz Pavilion to take part in an intrastate battle when they go up against Kansas State and Wichita State in a triangular-style meet on Friday, Jan. 15. Follow both the men’s and women’s teams as they try to take down their in-state rivals by following on Twitter, Instagram and Vine at @KUTrack.
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