KU Track & Field Produces 17 Wins at Ward Haylett Invite

Ward Haylett Invitational
R.V. Christian Track // Manhattan, Kan.

Freshman Whitney Adams posted the No. 3 800-meter time in school history in her win at the Ward Haylett Invitational Saturday
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MANHATTAN, Kan. – In their final tune up before the Big 12 Conference meet in two weeks, the Kansas track & field men’s and women’s teams tallied some impressive performances as they competed at the Ward Haylett Invitational Saturday. Jayhawks claimed victories in 17 events and added 21 career bests in the meet that featured in-state rivals Kansas State and Wichita State.
One of the most notable performances came from senior Diamond Dixon, who picked up wins in two events and added a meet record in the process. She started the day in her signature event, the 400 meters. The Houston, Texas native led the race from the gun and completed her quarter-mile lap in 52.45, which earned Dixon her first win of the season in the event, shaved almost two seconds off her previous season-best and bested former Jayhawk Paris Daniels’ meet record. Dixon’s time also moved her up sixty spots on the national performance chart to ninth in the NCAA rankings.
The senior returned an hour later in the 200 meters and again impressed as she picked up her second victory of the day with a blazing 23.44, outpacing sophomore teammate Tianna Valentine by .34 seconds. Dixon’s time, which marked the second-fastest of her career in the event, elevated her to seventh in the Big 12 yearly ranks and 23rd in the NCAA West Region.
The Jayhawk women also saw one of the best 800-meter outings by two of its athletes as a pair of underclassmen turned in two of the top-five times in school history. Freshman Whitney Adams and sophomore Hannah Richardson jostled for the lead for much of the half-mile race before Adams took control with 300 meters to go and hold onto the lead which she held onto through the finish. The St. Louis, Missouri native clocked in at 2:07.84 to earn her first individual win as a Jayhawk, topping her teammate, Richardson, who came across less than a second later at 2:08.62. Adams’ time made her the third-fastest 800-meter performer in school history, while Richardson posted the fifth-best 800-meter time by a Jayhawk. Both women now rank inside the top-10 in the conference ranks and have moved themselves into qualifying positions for the NCAA West Preliminary later this month.
In the men’s 800 meters it was also a career day for senior Brendan Soucie. The Osawatomie, Kansas product broke the 1:50-barrier for the first time en route to a runner-up finish in the event. Soucie completed his two laps in 1:49.70, just .12 seconds behind the winner, Wichita State’s Kelvin Busienei. Soucie’s time is the fastest by a Jayhawk in over five years and has the fourth-year veteran among the top-five in the Big 12 standings.
In the field, it was a banner day for the throwers as Kansas saw a Jayhawk winner in each of the events in which it had someone competing. In the women’s discus throw, senior Jessica Maroszek tallied a season-best for the second-straight week as she picked up the event win with another big throw. On her third attempt of the day, the two-time First Team All-American hit a mark of 56.01 meters (183’9″), a toss which was eventually good enough to beat the field by over eight feet. Maroszek’s throw was the third-farthest of her impressive Kansas career and has the senior ranked inside the top-10 of the NCAA ranks as well as first in the Big 12 standings.
Anastasiya Muchkayev followed Maroszek’s lead by posting a season-best and victory of her own in the shot put. The sophomore tallied three throws over 16 meters on the day, however her best came on her fifth throw, which travelled a distance of 16.08 meters (52’9¼”). Muchkayev’s toss was the second-best of her career, coming up just eight inches short of her personal best.
In the men’s discus, Kansas claimed the top two finishes as freshman Mitchell Cooper and junior Jonathan Miller took first and second in the event. Cooper managed to post three fair throws on the day, each of which would have earned him the victory. His last throw turned out to be the best though after he hurled the discus 53.36 meters (175’1″). Miller was the runner-up with his second attempt mark of 49.47 meters (162’4″)
A week after he picked up his third 400-meter title of the season, junior Michael Stigler tried his hand at the 110-meter hurdles, and his fortunes didn’t chance much as he earned the win. Stigler raced through the finish in 14.00, the fastest of his career and .38 seconds ahead of the second-place finisher. He is now the only hurdler in the Big 12 with marks in both hurdle events that are each in top-five of the conference charts.
Other event winners included freshman Caleb Cowling in the long jump (7.14m/23’5¾”), sophomore Richard Smith in the triple jump (15.03m/49’3¾”), senior DeMario Johnson in the 200 meters (20.96), junior James Wilson in the 5,000 meters (14:39.63), senior Shawn Smith in the men’s 100 meters (10.65), junior Jaimie House in the women’s pole vault (3.80m/12’5½”), senior Natalie Becker in the 5,000 meters (4:26.26), sophomore Tianna Valentine in the women’s 100 meters (11.72) and sophomore Sydney Conley in the long jump (6.04m/19’9¾”).
The Jayhawks will now get a week off to prepare for the Big 12 Outdoor Championships to be held in Lubbock, Texas, May 16-18.
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