Jayhawks Tally Four Wins on Final Day of Husker Invite

Husker Invitational
Bob Devaney Center // Lincoln, Neb..

Junior Casey Bowen posted the Big 12’s best vault and a new indoor personal best Saturday in his second-place finish at the Hustker Invite.
Husker Invitational
Full Results
Kansas Results

LINCOLN, Neb. – A pair of individual victories as well as wins in both the men’s and women’s 4×400-meter relays capped off a successful weekend for Kansas track & field at the Frank Sevigne Husker Invitational Saturday. Junior Casey Bowen vaulted into the top-10 of the NCAA after a personal-best performance in the pole vault and was among 20 Jayhawks to post career bests inside the Devaney Center Friday and Saturday.
“I thought the teams competed better this week than they have all season,” said head coach Stanley Redwine. “It was a much better team effort and that has been something that the coaches and I have been really trying to emphasize a lot more. Hopefully we can keep building this momentum into next week and on into the Big 12 meet.”
One of the most dominating performances of the day belonged to junior Jacob Morgan, who blew away the competition in the invitational section of the 3,000 meters to claim his first win as a Jayhawk. The Topeka, Kansas product opened a 30-meter lead less than a minute into the race and never looked back, extending his lead to more than 60 meters midway through the race. Morgan came across the finish in a new personal-best time of 8:12.56. His mark was more than five seconds faster than the second-place finisher and moved him into the top-10 of the Big 12 rankings.
The Kansas pole vaulters had another strong outing as four Jayhawks placed among the top-nine finishers. Bowen headed up the group with the best indoor outing of his career. The junior out of Gardner, Kansas cleared his first two bars without tallying a foul, then needed all three tries, but in the end succeeded in getting over a new indoor best of 5.46 meters (17’11”). Bowen’s performance was enough to earn him a tie for second but was the top finish by a collegian in the event. The clearance also moved Bowen up to seventh on KU’s all-time indoor pole vaulter charts and pushed him to No. 9 on the latest NCAA charts.
Bowen was followed by junior Jake Albright, who finished fifth with a career-best vault of 5.31 meters (17’5″) and senior Aaron Blevins, who also posted a personal-best clearance, topping 5.01 meters (16’5¼”) to finish ninth.
The Jayhawk women kicked off the day with a bang by taking the top three spots in the mile. Sophomore Nashia Baker separated herself from the field with 400 meters to go and never looked back, sprinting through the finish in 5:00.86 to pick up her second event victory of the year. She was followed closely by junior Kelli McKenna and freshman Alaina Schroeder, who completed the Jayhawks’ sweep of the podium with second and third-place finishes. McKenna shaved over six seconds off her previous personal best after she posted 5:02.20 for the runner-up spot, while Schroeder turned in 5:02.73 for third in her first-career mile.
Both the Jayhawks’ 4×400-meter relay squads turned in season-best times en route to wins in their respective races. The women’s group, comprised of Adriana Newell, Zainab Sanni, Whitney Adams and Rhavean King passed their baton around in 3:45.20 to outpace Maryland’s squad by half a second. The time was more than two seconds faster than their previous season best.
The men were equally as impressive, running out to an early lead and never relinquishing it. Kenneth McCuin, Tre Daniels, Jaime Wilson and Michael Stigler combined to run the 1,600-meter race in 3:12.90. The Jayhawks won the race by 1.4 seconds over the Iowa Hawkeyes and now hold the sixth-fastest time in the Big 12 this season.
Used to the 600-yard run, Adams took on the slightly longer 600 meter distance earlier in the day. The Big 12’s fifth-ranked runner at 600 yards, Adams fell to the back of the pack early but used a late surge to secure a fifth-place finish in the invitational event. She crossed the finish in 1:31.13 to post the ninth-fastest time in the collegiate ranks so far this year.
For the third time this season, Sanni sprinted to a new personal best in the 200 meters, shaving more than half a second off her previous best. She won her heat easily and broke the 24-second barrier for the first time in her career, clocking in at 23.99. The time earned her a seventh-place finish and moved her up to No. 6 on Kansas’ all-time indoor 200-meter chart.
For the first time of the 2015 season, the Jayhawks will now split for a pair of meets Feb. 13-14. One Kansas contingent will journey to Fayetteville, Arkansas to compete in the Tyson Invitational while the other Jayhawk squad will travel north to Ames, Iowa where it will take part in the ISU Classic. Get live updates and results from the Jayhawks’ performances by following on Twitter, Instagram and Vine at @KUTrack.
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