| Sophomore thrower Daina Levy
LAWRENCE, Kan. – After a successful week at the Kansas Relays, the KU track & field teams will continue to try and up their national standings as they enter the final month before the NCAA Championship qualifying rounds begins. The Jayhawks will compete in a pair of meets over the weekend as a handful of Jayhawks head north for the Drake Relays in Des Moines, Iowa, while the Kansas throwers journey to the west coast to compete in the always-competitive Triton Invitational in La Jolla, Calif. Both meets will take place Friday and Saturday, April 25-26.
The main focus for the Jayhawks this weekend in Des Moines will be in the relay events. KU will see five relay squads in action Friday and Saturday including both the men’s and women’s 4×100-meter and 4×400-meter relays. The men’s 4×100-meter squad of Shawn Smith, Jaime Wilson, Michael Stigler and DeMario Johnson is coming off a standout performance a week ago in Lawrence when the four Jayhawks combined for 40.06, the fastest time by a Jayhawk squad in the event in over 35 years. The KU foursome will hit the Blue Oval inside Drake Stadium for the event prelims on Friday at 11:10 a.m.
The women’s 4×100-meter relay also brings a highly-ranked mark into the weekend as the quartet of Alisha Keys, Diamond Dixon, Tianna Valentine and Sydney Conley boasts the No. 19 time in the country at 44.67. The defending Big 12 championship group will begin its weekend on Friday at 10:58 a.m., also in the event prelims.
In individual action, Stigler will try to back up his NCAA-leading 400-meter hurdle performance from a week ago in Lawrence as he is set to compete in the event for the third time in 2014. The Canyon, Texas native was named the Big 12 Athlete of the Week Wednesday after his dominate victory at the Kansas Relays in 49.35. Stigler will compete for the Drake Relays title when he heads for the starting blocks on Saturday at 1:23 p.m.
The Kansas throwers have been arguably the most consistent of the event groups this year and have already put themselves in a solid position to qualify for the NCAA Championships come May. The Jayhawks will see a prime opportunity to up their conference, regional and national rankings this weekend at one of the season’s most-competitive throwing competitions, the Triton Invitational in La Jolla, Calif.
Sophomore Daina Levy is fresh off a hammer throw win at the Kansas Relays last weekend and will try to carry that momentum to this week as she brings her No. 12 national ranking to the Triton Invite. Levy is one of only two Big 12 athletes to surpass the 60-meter mark on multiple occasions this season, and will attempt to do so again as she competes in the event scheduled for Friday at 12 p.m. (CT).
All-American Jessica Maroszek is entered in both the discus and shot put, each of which she holds marks that rank her among the top-25 in the nation. The senior will be joined in those events by sophomore Anastasiya Muchkeyav. The two will kick off the weekend in the discus at 4 p.m. (CT) Friday, before hitting the throws ring again Saturday for the shot put at 1 p.m. (CT).
The Kansas men will see three journey to La Jolla. Freshman Mitchell Cooper is coming off a personal best discus mark at last week’s Kansas Relays and has his sights on a qualifying spot at his first NCAA meet later this year. He’s slated to compete in the event Saturday at 4 p.m. (CT) along with fellow freshman Kenny Boyer. Junior Johann Swanepoel is expected to throw in the javelin, also on Saturday. A 2012 First Team All-American in the event, Swanepoel will start his day at 4 p.m. (CT).
The Jayhawks will journey to Sunflower State rival Kansas State to get in one final tune-up prior to the Big 12 Championships, when they take part in the Ward Haylett Invitational on Saturday, May 3. Follow all the action from R.V. Christian Track Complex by logging on to KUAthletics.com and on Twitter and Instagram at @KUTrack.
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