Al Hizam, Lokedi named Big 12 Performers of the Year, Redwine tabbed Women's Coach of the Year
IRVING, Texas – The Kansas track & field program won three of the six 2018 Big 12 Indoor Track & Field postseason awards voted on by the league’s coaches, with Hussain Al Hizam being named Men’s Performer of the Year, Sharon Lokedi winning Women’s Performer of the Year and head coach Stanley Redwine being named the Women’s Coach of the Year, announced by the conference headquarters on Thursday.
A junior from Jubail, Saudi Arabia, Al Hizam earned Men’s Performer of the Year after winning the national championship in the pole vault at the NCAA Indoor Championships in College Station, Texas, March 9-10. Al Hizam cleared a personal-best 5.70 meters (18-8.25 ft.) to win the national title, breaking the Kansas men’s indoor school record, tying the Gilliam Indoor Stadium facility record, and breaking his own Saudi national record.
The national championship was the first individual indoor title for the Kansas men’s program since 2008, and the first in the pole vault since 1973, making Al Hizam just the second KU male to win the indoor pole vault title.
Not only did Al Hizam win the indoor national title in the pole vault, but he also won the conference crown by vaulting over 5.49 meters (18-0 ft.) at the Big 12 Indoor Championship in Ames, Iowa, February 23-24.
This is just the fourth time a Kansas athlete has been named Big 12 Men’s Track & Field Performer of the Year, and the first for the indoor season. Scott Russell earned the award for the outdoor season in 1999 and 2002, and Sheldon Battle won it for the 2005 outdoor campaign.
Lokedi’s honor marks the fourth Big 12 Performer of the Year award she has earned in her career. Previously, the redshirt junior has been named Big 12 Women’s Performer of the Year for the 2017 outdoor track & field season, as well as twice for cross country, in 2016 and 2017.
The Eldoret, Kenya product won this year’s Women’s Athlete of the Year after doubling up on conference titles and First Team All-America honors. Lokedi won the Big 12 crowns in both the 5,000 meters and the 3,000 meters and finished third and sixth, respectively, in the same events to earn two All-America nods at the NCAA Championships.
While the two Big 12 titles and pair of First Team All-America honors are enough to deem Lokedi’s season a success, she also broke three school records over the span of the season. Opening her indoor campaign at the Boston University Season Opener on December 2, Lokedi broke her own school record in the 5,000 meters, clocking in at 15:39.05. She later went on to break the school record in the 3,000 by 17 seconds at the Iowa State Classic on February 9, notching a time of 8:59.69. Lokedi was also a member of the distance medley relay squad that ran a program-best time of 11:01.19 at the Alex Wilson Invitational on February 17.
With Lokedi’s newest honor, there have been four Women’s Big 12 Performer of the Year awards won by Kansas athletes. Prior to Lokedi’s 2017 outdoor award, Paris Daniels earned the honor for her 2013 outdoor season and Candace Mason was named performer of the year for the 1998 outdoor season.
Redwine, in his 18th year at the helm of the Jayhawk program, earned his fifth Big 12 Coach of the Year Award by leading the Kansas women’s squad to a second-place finish and its second-highest point total (112) at the indoor conference meet since the Big 12’s inception in 1997, helping guide the team to four individual conference titles including Lokedi’s wins in the 3,000 and 5,000 meters, as well as the pole vault title by Laura Taylor and the women’s 4×400-meter relay crown.
Along with the second-place finish at the conference meet, Redwine’s women’s squad qualified entries in five events and earned three First Team All-America honors with Taylor taking sixth in the vault to add to Lokedi’s pair of First Team honors.
Possibly the most impressive part of Redwine’s 2018 resume was that his Jayhawk women’s squad debuted as the No. 55-ranked team in the nation in the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association preseason poll, and rose to as high as No. 13 in the country before finishing tied for 17th at the NCAA Indoor Championships in College Station, Texas.
Redwine was previously named Big 12 Coach of the Year for the 2005 men’s outdoor season, the 2013 women’s indoor and outdoor campaigns, and most recently the 2016 men’s outdoor season.
The Jayhawks will begin the 2018 outdoor season at the Arkansas Spring Invitational on March 24. The meet, hosted by the University of Arkansas, is scheduled to being at 1 p.m. at John McDonnell Field in Fayetteville, Arkansas.
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