Hayward Field // Eugene, Ore.
|Daina Levy threw to All-America honors for the first time with her sixth-place finish in the hammer throw Thursday at Hayward Field.
EUGENE, Ore. – A pair of Jayhawks junior jumped and threw to All-America honors on the second day at the NCAA Track & Field Championships Thursday inside Historic Hayward Field. Junior Sydney Conley tallied a fifth-place finish in the long jump with the help of a career-best leap, while junior Daina Levy claimed sixth in the hammer throw to notch her highest career finish at the NCAA Championship meet.
Conley journeyed to the Hayward Field long jump runway in the midst of one of the best stretches of her career. Last month she won her first Big 12 Conference title in the event and in her next outing at the NCAA West Preliminary, she turned in a career-best mark to earn a spot in her third-consecutive national championship meet. The Fayetteville, Arkansas native carried that momentum onto the runway Thursday, which resulted in another career performance.
On her second trip down the runway, Conley hit a mark of 6.43 meters (21’1¼”) to immediately shoot up the leaderboard to third overall. That jump was enough to carry her on to the final three round of jumps but Conley’s name continued to get pushed down due to some equally-impressive marks by the NCAA championship-caliber field. As the fifth round came, Conley found herself in eighth place and in danger of falling outside the all-important top-eight. The stay in eighth didn’t last long. She sprinted down the runway and soared to a distance of 6.60 meters (21’8″) to move up to fifth overall, where she eventually ended her day.
“I can’t be upset at all about my performance today,” said Conley following the competition. “I PR’d, which is always what you want to do at the NCAA Championships. I knew I was capable of doing that and, at the end of the day, I did what I had to do. Being an All-American for the third time is a huge honor so I’m definitely pleased with what I did today.”
Conley’s mark, though slightly over the allowable wind limit for official personal records, was the farthest of her three-year KU career and marked the best jump in NCAA Championship history by a fifth-place finisher. The performance earned Conley First Team All-America honors at the outdoor meet for the second-straight season and the third time in her career. Kansas has now had at least one First Team All-American in the long jump in four-consecutive years.
Levy was the top qualifier out of both the East and West Regional meets in the hammer throw and looked to remain among the top of the list following the NCAA final Thursday afternoon. The Mississauga, Ontario native opened her series with a foul on her first attempt, but rebounded on her second trip into the throws cage. She unleashed a toss of 63.42 meters (208’1″) to shoot up to sixth on the overall leaderboard.
The junior surpassed the 200-foot mark on three of her final four attempts; however, Levy could not improve upon her second throw. That mark was good enough to keep her in sixth place over the final four rounds and earn her the best finish at the NCAA Championships of her career.
“Although I was initially disappointed with my performance today, it feels very gratifying to finally be a First Team All-American,” said Levy. “This may have not been the best end to what was an outstanding season for me, but an All-American finish is nothing to laugh at. I’m incredibly blessed to be a part of such a supportive program and know the rest will come in God’s time.”
Levy’s finish earned her First Team All-America honors for the first time in her career and marks the third time in four years a Jayhawk garnered All-America status in the hammer throw.
The NCAA Championships aren’t complete yet for Levy. She will compete in the discus on Saturday. The event is slated to begin at 3:35 p.m. (CT).
It was a disappointing end for senior Lindsay Vollmer in the heptathlon. Entering the day, the 2013 NCAA champion was positioned fifth overall with 3,621 points which stood as a new career-best for Vollmer after the first day of competition. In the first event of day two, the long jump turned things south as she was unable to record a fair mark, fouling on each of her three attempts. With no score to report for the competitions, Vollmer scratched out of the two remaining heptathlon events and failed to place.
Vollmer concluded a highly-successful career as a Jayhawk Thursday afternoon in Eugene. The Hamilton, Missouri product won four conference titles in the combined events, claimed first or second team All-America honors on three occasions and was the first KU female to claim an individual NCAA outdoor title.
Two other Jayhawks were in semifinal action on the track Thursday evening. Junior Hannah Richardson finished 22nd in the 1,500-meter semifinal after she clocked in at 4:29.75. Sophomore Zainab Sanni posted a time of 23.63 in the 200-meter semifinal, which was good enough for 24th.
Two days of action remain at the 2015 NCAA Championships at Historic Hayward Field. Three Jayhawks are slated to compete on Friday. The NCAA’s top ranked 400-meter hurdler, Michael Stigler, will look to claim his first NCAA title in the final set for 8 p.m. (CT). The KU men will have two entered in the discus, with sophomore Mitch Cooper and freshman Nicolai Ceban getting their day started at 6:05 p.m. (CT). Follow all the Jayhawks’ performances by logging on to KUAthletics.com and following on Twitter and Instagram at @KUTrack.
KUAthletics.com: The official online source for Kansas Athletics, Williams Education Fund contributions, tickets, merchandise, multimedia, photos and much, much more.