800-Meter Relay Rewrites School Record at Drake Relays

Drake Relays
Drake Stadium // Des Moines, Iowa

Junior Alisha Keys ran the second leg of the school record-breaking 4×200-meter relay Friday night at the Drake Relays
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DES MOINES, Iowa – The University of Kansas women’s 4×200-meter relay team etched their names into the school record books as the Jayhawks competed at the Drake Relays Friday night inside Drake Stadium. The team of Diamond Dixon, Alisha Keys, Tianna Valentine and Sydney Conley broke the two-year-old record in route to a runner-up finish in the event.
In front of a nearly full Drake Stadium, the Kansas 4×200-meter relay took down the two-year-old record in runaway fashion during the finals heats of the event. With the All-American Dixon leading off, the Jayhawks never trailed during the half-mile race, extending a lead to more than 40 meters midway through the race. Conley brought the baton home down the final curve and straightaway, turning in a strong anchor leg and crossing the finish in 1:34.66. The foursome’s mark bested the previous record from 2012 by .09 seconds.
Though KU’s time was narrowly beat in a later heat by Notre Dame, who clocked in just .12 seconds ahead of the Jayhawks, Kansas’ mark was one of the top-10 times posted by a collegiate squad this year.
Earlier in the day, the women’s 4×100-meter relay team also enjoyed success as the same group turned in the fastest qualifying time out of the 25 collegiate teams competing in the preliminary heats Friday morning. The group, again comprised of Keys, Dixon, Valentine and Conley, got the baton around the oval in 44.63 to win the heat. The group’s time was the best out of the qualifying heats and earned the Jayhawks a spot in Saturday’s final, set to go off at 3:15 p.m.
Conley returned to the track later in the day as she looked to duplicate her qualifying efforts in the 100-meter dash. The sophomore out of Fayetteville, Ark., sped down the straightway and leaned across the finish in a new career-best time of 11.66. The time earned Conley a second-place finish in the heat and fifth out of the 23 collegians that competed in prelims. Conley will look to take the Drake Relays’ 100-meter title in the final Saturday, which is slated for 2:15 p.m.
Combined-events specialist Lindsay Vollmer competed in a pair of events Friday afternoon. The junior first tallied a 16th-place finish in the 100-meter hurdle prelims, notching a time of 13.88. She then headed to the long jump pits, where she hit a top mark of 5.74 meters (18’10”) on her second attempt, which was good enough for a 13th-place finish.
The men’s and women’s 4×400-meter relays both found themselves on the outside looking in of their respective event finals. In the women’s prelims, the Jayhawks quartet of Dixon, Rhavean King, Mercedes Smith and Whitney Adams turned in a season-best 3:39.58 to place ninth overall. The group’s time was just .18 seconds from earning a spot in the event final.
On the men’s side, the Kansas team comprised of Michael Stigler, Kenneth McCuin, Jaime Wilson and DeMario Johnson combined for a time of 3:07.72, which was the 10th-fastest in prelims. The was the team’s second-fastest of 2014.
LA JOLLA, Calif. – Senior Jessica Maroszek turned in one of the top-10 throws in the NCAA ranks this year as she competed in the discus Friday afternoon at the Triton Invitational. Maroszek’s toss was the third-best both of her career and in school history and moved her atop the conference standings less than three weeks before the league meet. Maroszek was the second collegiate finisher and took 10th overall in the field packed with professionals.
Daina Levy also enjoyed a successful day under the California sun as she topped the 200-foot mark in the hammer throw for the second time this season. Levy unwound to post a top toss of 61.10 meters (200’5″), good enough to earn the sophomore a seventh-place finish in the Olympic-caliber field.
Kansas will be head back to the Blue Oval inside Drake Stadium as well as at the Triton Invite Saturday for the final day of both meets. Junior Michael Stigler will look to back up his NCAA-leading performance from a week ago in the 400-meter hurdles as he attempts to pick up a win in the event for the second-straight week. He will hit the starting blocks at 1:23 p.m. Follow the Jayhawks’ day as they compete for event titles by logging on to KUAthletics.com for a complete recap and follow on Twitter and Instagram at @KUTrack.
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