Big 12 Outdoor Championships
Cyclone Sports Complex // Ames, Iowa
|Junior Daina Levy claimed the silver medal in the hammer throw Friday afternoon.
AMES, Iowa – Runner-up finishes from junior Daina Levy and a trio of KU men’s pole vaulters along with third-place finishes from seniors Jaimie House and James Wilson resulted in the Kansas men’s and women’s track & field squads sitting in third after the first day of the Big 12 Outdoor Championships. Senior Lindsay Vollmer also added a career outing in the javelin en route to a fourth-place finish in the javelin.
The Kansas men’s pole vaulters again asserted their dominance over the rest of the conference with three of the four Jayhawks entered combining for over 17 points to the team scoring. Senior Aaron Blevins, junior Jake Albright and sophomore Nick Meyer each cleared 5.20 meters (17’0¼”), which was good enough to earn them all a tie for second place. The mark, which was personal best more than eight inches for the veteran, Blevins, tacked on 5.75 points for the KU trio. The Jayhawk performance marked the fifth time in that last six years the KU pole vaulters combined for 11 or more points at the Big 12 Outdoor Championships.
The women’s pole vault also saw some strong Jayhawk performances. House needed only three trips down the runway to pick up a third-place finish, her second top-three finish at the conference outdoor meet in as many years. She cleared three bars on the day, each on her first try, with the best a height of 4.08 meters (13’4½”). Freshman Laura Taylor tallied a seventh-place finish in her first Big 12 outdoor appearance after she turned in a top clearance of 3.93 meters (12’10¾”).
Levy got the Jayhawks’ weekend started strong early in the day with another impressive showing in the hammer throw. The NCAA’s fifth ranked athlete in the event, Levy held the lead through the first four rounds of throws, posting 65.31 meters (214’3″) on her fourth trip into the cage. That mark would only be topped by one other competitor in the field, which meant Levy garnered the runner-up finish and the Kansas women’s first eight points of the conference championships.
To close out the night, Wilson ran to All-Big 12 honors in the 10,000 meters. The senior, who was seeing action in his first 10K race of the season, looked like seasoned pro at the 6.2-mile distance after running with the lead pack for much of the first half of the race. The Abilene, Kansas product never fell below fourth-place and used a strong kick in the final 800 meters to nab the bronze-medal finish. Wilson completed his race in 29:35.99, more than 40 seconds faster than his previous career best. The finish also marked the highest placement by a Jayhawk at in the Big 12 Championship 10,000 meters since Benson Chesang also took third in the event at the 2005 league meet.
While Vollmer is not competing in her usual heptathlon this weekend, the senior already made her presence felt in the first of several open events which she is slated to compete in Ames. Taking part in the javelin, Vollmer smashed her previous career best on her sixth and final attempt of the afternoon, heaving the javelin to a mark of 47.67 meters (156’5″). The throw slid her from fifth to fourth place on the leaderboard, which is where her day would eventually end. The performance moved Vollmer to fourth on Kansas’ all-time javelin chart and into the top-50 of national ranks. She now owns marks in five events, which rank among the top-100 in the NCAA this season.
Senior Kianna Weiznheimer also added a scoring performance in the javelin via her eighth-place finish. Weinzheimer’s best attempt came on her second trip down the runway when she threw to a mark of 42.49 meters (139’5″).
Other Jayhawks to score on the meet’s opening day were freshman Sharon Lokedi, who finished seventh in the 10,000 meters (35:21.97) and sophomore Mitch Cooper, who took eighth in the hammer throw (53.92m/176’11”).
Two days remain of the 2015 Big 12 Outdoor Championships. Saturday will feature preliminary action from the track as well as finals of the men’s and women’s shot put, men’s high jump and men’s and women’s long jump events in the field. Stay updated on all the Jayhawks’ performances through the meet central page at Big12Sports.com and watch for the complete recap, along with results and videos, which will be posted following the finish of the day’s events.
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