Balanced attack carries Jayhawks at Sun Angel Classic Saturday

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TEMPE, Ariz. – Kansas saw stellar performance in events covering nearly every one of the track & field disciplines as the Jayhawks took part in the 38th Annual Sun Angel Classic Saturday inside Sun Angel Stadium. Sophomore Hussain Al Hizam vaulted himself up the NCAA charts and into the Kansas history books as he was joined by 14 Kansas men and women who notched top-three finishes in their respective events on the meet’s final day.
For the second time in a span of seven days, the KU men saw a Jayhawk pole vaulter clear 5.60 meters (18-4¼) and move into the top-five of the NCAA rankings. Al Hizam matched his senior teammate Jake Albright, who topped the same height last week at the Texas Relays, over the career-high bar en route to a runner-up finish Saturday afternoon.
Al Hizam, who was coming off a victory in the B-Section pole vault a week ago in Austin, continued his torrid start to the outdoor season by improving on his previous career best by more than seven inches and taking down his own Saudi Arabian record in the process.
After first entering 18-foot club with his clearance at 5.50 meters (18-0½), Al Hizam needed just two attempts to get over the bar at 5.60 meters after he slid over with room to spare on his second trip down the runway. Only one other competitor, Texas A&M’s Audie Wyatt, could top Al Hizam’s performance after the Aggie cleared an NCA- leading mark of 5.70 meters (18-8¼), leaving the Jayhawk with a runner-up finish.
The clearance vaulted Al Hizam’s name to No. 6 on the all-time Kansas pole vault chart while also moving him to No. 4 on the most recent NCAA yearly rankings. Al Hizam also rewrote his own Saudi Arabian national record of 5.41 meters (17-9), set March 31 at the Texas Relays. He owns both the indoor and outdoor Saudi pole vault records, both of which he took down this year.
“The good thing about a meet like this is that it really exposes who is performing at a high level and the people who need to keep getting better. Some people seemed a little more seasoned than others this weekend. It’s our second meet (of the outdoor season) and, as we compare it to last week, we performed a lot better. We’re now looking forward to the Kansas Relays and showing even more improvement there.”
          – Head coach Stanley Redwine on his teams’ performances this weekend.
“You can’t overlook what our pole vaulters are doing. Hussain going 18-4 and breaking his national record is really good. We’re really excited about what he did today and what our vault group is doing.”
          – Redwine on Hussain Al Hizam’s performance in the pole vault.
“With Gleb breaking the school record the way he did was really impressive. We’ve had some great hammer throwers and for him to break the school record his freshman year in his first meet is just phenomenal.”
          – Redwine on Gleb Dudarev’s school record hammer throw Friday afternoon.
* The men’s 4×400-meter relay closed out the meet on a high note for the Jayhawks, defending their Sun Angel Classic title in runaway fashion. The foursome of Ivan Henry, Strymar Livingston, Tre Daniels and Jaron Hartley built a lead of nearly 20 meters less than 500 meters into the race and never looked back, getting the baton across the finish line in 3:08.53 and claiming the 4×400-meter relay title for the second-straight year in Tempe.
* Junior Laura Taylor earned her third victory of 2017 and her second-straight at the Sun Angel Classic with another big clearance in the pole vault. For the second-straightJedah Caldwell, Sydney Conley and the women’s
4×100-meter relay ran to a second-place finish.
week, Taylor topped the bar set at 4.16 meters (13-7¾), which tied her career best.
* In their first appearance of the outdoor season, the women’s 4×100-meter relay team put together an impressive outing that ranks among the fastest in program history. The quartet of Tianna Valentine, Sydney Conley, Jedah Caldwell and Nicole Montgomery passed the baton around in 44.73 to finish second in the event. The time, which has the team inside the top-20 on the most recent West Regional standings ranks as the 10th-fastest in Kansas history.
* Sophomore Nicole Montgomery tallied an impressive outing in the premier division of the 400 meters. The Colorado Springs native completed her quarter-mile lap in an outdoor personal best of 53.68, good for a fifth-place finish. The time moved Montgomery to fifth on KU’s all-time outdoor 400 meter list and to fourth on the yearly Big 12 rankings.
* Senior Mitch Cooper turned in a season-best outing in the premier division of the men’s discus earlier in the day. Cooper notched a mark of 57.78 meters (189-7) on his first throw of the competition, which ended up earning him a third-place finish as well as the top collegiate finish. Cooper’s mark ranks among the top-10 in the yearly NCAA DI ranks as of Saturday. Former Kansas thrower Mason Finley won the event with a mark of 62.76 meters (205-11).
* Sophomore Shaylyn Stallbaumer enjoyed a solid season-opener in the javelin, posting a runner-up finish in the event. On her final attempt of the night, she heaved the spear to a distance of 50.76 meters (166-5), moving her name from 
After a week off the Jayhawks will return to action when they host the 90th Kansas Relays inside Rock Chalk Park April 19-22. Thousands of high school and collegiate athletes are set to compete during the four-day meet, with Saturday’s evening session slated to be televised on Spectrum Sports and ESPN3. Log on to for a schedule and additional information on one of the nation’s most historic track meets. The official online source for Kansas Athletics, Williams Education Fund contributions, tickets, merchandise, multimedia, photos and much, much more.