Facility Records Fall on Final Day of Jayhawk Classic

Junior Strymar Livingston raced to a collegiate leading time in the 600 yards Friday at the Jayhawk Classic.
 Jayhawk Classic
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LAWRENCE, Kan. – The University of Kansas track & field teams were victorious in 16 events at KU’s final home meet of the indoor campaign, the Jayhawk Classic, Friday inside Anschutz Pavilion. Sophomore Sharon Lokedi turned in a NCAA top-10 performance as well as a facility record in the 3,000 meters while junior Strymar Livingston claimed the fastest 600-yard time in the nation this season.
“It was a really solid effort from the entire team today,” said head coach Stanley Redwine. “Sharon was obviously outstanding with a facility record and Strymar also had a really solid race in the 600 yards. We’re excited about were the teams are at right now and hopefully the performances will only get better from here.”
In just her second outing of the indoor season, Lokedi made history by posting the fastest 3,000-meter time in the 30-year history of Anschutz Pavilion. The sophomore, who became Kansas second All-American woman on the cross country course over the fall, proved she had no signs of a hangover from her stellar fall campaign. She was never challenged throughout the 1.8-mile race, building a lead of more than 30 seconds by the midway point of the race. The Eldoret, Kenya native sprinted down the homestretch and through the finish to post a career-best clocking of 9:29.24. The mark, which ranks as the second-fastest ever posted by a Jayhawk, topped the facility record set by KU’s Lauren Bonds at the same meet six years prior.
Lokedi’s performance also moved her into the top-10 of the latest NCAA 3,000-meter rankings, as the seventh-fastest time so far in the 2016 season. 
For the men, it was the junior, Livingston, who tallied the performance of the night, going up against two world record holders in the 600 yards. Running alongside the Brooklyn, New York product was former KU track star Kyle Clemons, who was a member of the relay team that holds the indoor 4×400-meter relay world record, as well as former All-American for the Pitt Panthers, Brycen Spratling, who helped Team USA to a world record in the distance medley relay last year.
The 2.5-lap race proved to be the quickest in the facility’s history with Spratling holding off Clemons and Livingston down the final homestretch to claim the victory. Each of those three runners finished in times better than the previous facility record, held by Clemons for the last year. Spratling posted a winning time of 1:09.08 and was followed by Clemons, who posted the runner-up time of 1:09.36. Livingston was the third to cross the finish but the top collegiate, clocking in at 1:09.56.
Livingston’s race is the fastest by a collegian this season and ranks the junior ninth on the school’s all-time 600 yard list. Only three other Jayhawks have run faster times in the event since 2000.
Senior Casey Bowen posted a season best en route to the top-collegiate finish in the pole vault. He posted three clearances on the day, his best a vault of 5.32 meters (17’5½”), which was enough to outduel his freshman teammate, Paulo Benavides, who turned in a career-best vault of 5.22 meters (17’1½”). Bowen’s mark has him ranked 13th on the latest NCAA DI pole vault list, while Benavides isn’t far behind in 23rd.  
Senior Daina Levy added another successful chapter to her final indoor season in Lawrence by picking up her second weight throw victory in as many outings. On her fifth attempt, Levy got the 20-pound implement to a distance of 21.00 meters (68’10¾”), the second-farthest throw of her career and just over a foot shy of her career best. The throw was nearly 13 feet better than the next finisher and gave Levy two of the five best throws among the NCAA DI ranks this season.
Levy’s performance also now makes her the owner of three of the eight best weight throw marks in school history.
Nicolai Ceban also had another solid day in the throws ring by winning the shot put in his second-straight meet. The sophomore only posted two fair throws on the day but that was all he needed after he notched a throw that measured out to 18.80 meters (61’8¾”) on his fifth attempt. No other collegian could come within six feet of Ceban’s winning mark. The Moldova native’s outing was the highlight of a great day for the seven KU shot putters entered in the event, who nabbed the top-four finishes and posted five personal-record throws. 
On the long jump runway, it was junior Curtis Ray who notched a career outing. Ray leaped to his first event title as a Jayhawk with the help of a fifth-attempt mark of 7.33 meters (24’0¾”). The jump tied Ray’s career best in the event and moved him to fourth among Big 12 long jumpers this season.
Junior Zainab Sanni tallied a pair of victories Friday evening, one of which came along with a new career best. Sanni began her evening by sprinting to a win in the 60-meter dash by way of a new personal-record clocking of 7.40. The time moved Sanni into the top-25 of the national charts and gave her the third 60-meter win of her indoor season.
Sanni returned to the blocks an hour later for the 200 meters, where she posted her second winning time of the day. The Aurora, Colorado native completed her lap in 24.66, half a second faster than the next finisher.
Whitney Adams tallied another impressive outing to start her junior season, picking up a win in the 600 yards. The St. Charles, Missouri product led from start to finish and crossed the finish in 1:22.00 for her fourth individual title of the season. Adams’ time ranks only behind freshman teammate Nicole Montgomery, who leads all collegians with her 600-yard mark of 1:20.86 achieved at the KU-KSU-WSU Triangular two weeks ago.
Junior Adriana Newell followed Adams to finish in the runner-up spot after she clocked in at 1:22.65. Sophomore Dorie Dalzell took the bronze after she tallied a personal best of 1:24.43. With those performances, Kansas now features five Jayhawks ranked among the top-11 of the collegiate 600-yard rankings.
Other Jayhawks to enter the winner’s circle Friday were senior Drew Matthews (400m, 49.02), junior Lydia Saggau (1,000m, 2:53.84), sophomore Anthonio Humphrey Jr. (1,000m, 2:27.02), sophomore Daria Cook (60m hurdles, 8.51), freshman Kelli McKee (triple jump, 11.91m) and Montgomery, who won the 400 meters in 56.06.
Junior Dylan Poirier finished strong in his first heptathlon of the 2016 campaign. Poirier entered the day in second place after he turned in personal-best marks in the competition’s first four events Thursday. After a fourth-place finish in the 60-meters to start the day, Poirier added the best pole vault clearance among the heptathletes at 4.64 meters (15’2¾”). He closed out his day with a time of 3:20.38 in the 1,000 meters to finish with a final score of 5,162 points. Poirier’s score was the seventh-highest ever by a KU male and ranks second among Big 12 heptathletes this season.
The Jayhawks will hit the road for the first time this season when they journey to Lincoln, Nebraska to take part in the 41st Annual Frank Sevigne Husker Invitational, Feb. 5-6. Two full days from the Bob Devaney Sports Center will begin at noon, Friday with the events of the men’s heptathlon and women’s pentathlon. Events will run both days and conclude Saturday with the 4×400-meter relays at 4:45 p.m. Get live updates and results from the Jayhawks’ performances by following on Twitter, Instagram and Vine at @KUTrack.
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