Jayhawks Strong Across the Board at Baylor Invitational

Baylor Invitational
Clyde Hart Stadium // Waco, Texas

Freshman Cole Ceban earned top three finishes in both the shot put and discus Friday at the Baylor Invitational.
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WACO, Texas – A host of highly-ranked performances highlighted a solid outing for the University of Kansas men’s and women’s track & field teams at the Baylor Invitational Friday. The Jayhawks, which were competing in the inaugural event at the Bear’s new facility, the Clyde Hart Track & Field Stadium, saw 13 performances that ranked inside the top-20 of the NCAA West Regional rankings, including a pair of marks that moved two more Kansas athletes into the top-10 of this season’s national standings.
Junior Daina Levy smashed her own career-best with one of the NCAA’s top hammer throw marks to get the Jayhawks’ day started on a high note. Levy surpassed the 200-foot mark on three of her six attempts, with her top toss coming on her second trip into the ring. She hurled the implement a distance of 63.19 meters (207’4″), erasing her previous career-best by almost two feet.
The mark put Levy in the lead for nearly the entire competition, however Kansas State’s Sara Savatovic was able to top the Jayhawk’s measurement by just two centimeters on her final attempt. While Levy was forced to settle for the runner-up finish, she was still able to post the NCAA’s No. 5 mark of 2015 and moved to No. 2 on Kansas’ all-time hammer throw chart.
Rhavean King also had a career day on the new track in Waco as she posted her fastest time to date in the 800 meters. The Memphis, Tennessee product completed her two laps in 2:08.23, which was good enough to earn the junior a third-place finish. The clocking bettered her previous personal record by over half a second and marked the seventh-fastest 800 meters ever run by a Jayhawk. Only four other Crimson and Blue-clad half milers have ever turned in a better time in the event. King’s performance moved her to the top-20 of the NCAA yearly rankings and up to No. 2 on the Big 12 chart.
Hannah Richardson was the lone KU victor Friday after she ran away from the field in the 1,500 meters. She took the lead early and never relinquished it, building a lead for more than five seconds as she headed down the homestretch. The junior crossed the finish in 4:26.81 to claim her fourth outdoor victory as a Jayhawk. Richardson’s time outpaced the field by nearly six seconds and is the No. 2 time by a Big 12 runner this season.
On the men’s side, the Jayhawk throwers were the highlight of the day, more specifically freshman Cole Ceban. The Moldovan posted top-three finishes in both the shot put and discus. He tied his career-best in the shot put with a heave of 17.99 meters (59’0¾”), good enough to earn him a second-place finish. He also turned in a third-place finish in the discus with his mark of 54.32 meters (178’2″).
Sophomore Mitch Cooper rounded out the strong Kansas throwing effort with a career best in the hammer throw. Cooper’s best attempt resulted in a mark of 54.30 meters (178’2″), which was more than 15 feet farther than his previous personal best. The mark earned him a sixth-place finish and inserted his name at No. 8 on the school’s all-time hammer throw list.
The Kansas women’s pole vaulters had memorable outings as all three of the Jayhawk entrants touted personal best performances. Senior Jaimie House and freshman Alexis Romero each tallied clearances over 4.10 meters (13’5¼”), a mark that has only been bettered by seven Jayhawks in program history. Romero managed to outduel her elder teammate for the tie-breaker, finishing third, with house taking fourth. The Jayhawks’ performances shot them up the yearly standings to No. 17 in the NCAA and third in the Big 12.
A week removed from leaping her way into the NCAA lead, junior Sydney Conley didn’t let off the accelerator by earning the top collegiate finish in the long jump. Conley posted three attempts over 20 feet en route to the win, with her top mark a jump of 6.23 meters (20’5¼”).
Conley also turned some heads as she competed in his first 100-meter dash of the young season. She leaned through the finish in 11.65 to claim the bronze-medal finish. Her time was a mere .02 seconds slower than her career best in the event and was the third-fastest 100 meters run by a Big 12 athlete in 2015.
The men’s 4×400-meter relay team capped off the day with a runner-up finish. The quartet of Drew Matthews, Jamie Wilson, Michael Stigler and Kenneth McCuin passes the baton around in 3:11.68.

The Jayhawk track & field squads will get their final tune-up before the 88th Kansas Relays when they trek to Fayetteville, Arkansas for the John McDonnell Invitational, April 10-11.
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