Al Hizam earns First Team All-America honors, Hoppel advances to final on day 1 of NCAA Championships
EUGENE, Ore. – Kansas junior Hussain Al Hizam earned his second outdoor First Team All-America honor on Wednesday as he tied for fifth in the men’s pole vault on day one of the NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships in Eugene, Oregon. Jayhawks sophomore Bryce Hoppel used the magic of Historic Hayward Field to post a lifetime best time in the semifinals of the 800-meter run to qualify for the final in front of 9,767 fans, which proved to be the largest attendance on day one of the NCAA Outdoor Championships since 2010.
Winning the 2018 NCAA Indoor title in the pole vault, Al Hizam was considered one of the favorites to contend for the outdoor championship heading into the day’s event. The Jubail, Saudi Arabia product elected to pass on the opening height before clearing his first two attempts without a miss. After clearing his second bar of 5.45 meters (17-10.5 ft.), he was unable to make it over the next height at 5.55 meters (18-2.5 ft.), tying Tray Oates of Samford for fifth.
Senior Nick Meyer, who returned to the NCAA Outdoor Championships for the first time in three years, was unable to clear a bar. Although Meyer no-heighted in his final appearance in the Crimson and Blue, he finished his Kansas career in a tie for 10th on the KU all-time performers list.
After earning First Team All-America honors in the 800 this indoor season, Hoppel had an impressive outdoor campaign, and he continued that success on Wednesday. Clocking in at 1:46.90, Hoppel recorded the fastest time in the 800 semifinal, and moved up from No. 8 to No. 5 on the KU all-time performers list in the event.
Hoppel will run in the 800-meter final on Friday, June 8 at 6:44 p.m. PDT (8:44 p.m. CDT), which will be televised live on ESPN.
Sophomore Gleb Dudarev, who entered the NCAA Championships as the NCAA’s top performer in the hammer throw, was unable to find his groove after fouling his first attempt, and ultimately finished 12th to earn Second Team All-America honors with a mark of 69.18 meters (227-0 ft.).
The men’s 4×400-meter relay team, which was comprised of Ivan Henry, Isaiah Cole, Hoppel and Tre Daniels, finished 15th overall in the semifinal round, earning Second Team All-America honors. The quartet finished sixth in their heat with a time of 3:06.92.
Junior Dylan Hodgson made his Outdoor Championships debut in the 3,000-meter steeplechase, finishing 22nd to earn an All-America honorable mention nod, clocking in with a time of 9:07.59.
Day two of the NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships will feature Kansas women’s athletes in four events. Sophomore Andrea Willis gets the day started for the Jayhawks with the pole vault at 4:30 p.m. PDT (6:30 p.m. CDT), and senior Courtney Coppinger runs in the semifinal of the women’s 3,000-meter steeplechase at 4:32 p.m. PDT. Junior LaTyria Jefferson will compete in the long jump at 5:30 p.m. PDT and senior Sharon Lokedi will look to earn her third First Team All-America honor in the 10,000 meters at 6:38 p.m. PDT.
ESPN2 will broadcast all of Thursday’s running events, and a live stream of all field and combined events will be available online via WatchESPN.com.
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