Conley highlights Jayhawks’ day in Manhattan
MANHATTAN, Kan. – Career-best performances from senior Sydney Conley produced two of nine Kansas victories Saturday at the Ward Haylett Invitational at R.V. Christian Track Complex. Conley turned in the fifth-ranked long jump mark in the NCAA this year and added a personal-best clocking in the 100-meters as the Jayhawks took part in their final tune-up prior to the Big 12 Championships to be held in Lawrence next weekend.
Conley, who was already sitting among the NCAA’s elite long jumpers following a victorious outing at the Rock Chalk Classic last week, moved her name up the national and school charts with another stellar performance Saturday. On her sixth and final trip down the runway, Conley soared to a mark of 6.62 meters (21-8¾) to, not only secure her second win in as many weeks, but also insert her name at No. 5 on the most recent NCAA DI long jump rankings.
Marcus Davis raced to an easy victory in the 400 meters.Though her final leap was slightly wind-aided above the allowable limit for records, Conley also turned in a jump of 6.60 meters (21-8) on her fifth attempt. That jump was within the allowable wind limits and moved her to No. 3 on the program’s all-time long jump list with only two over Jayhawks having managed better marks in their KU careers.
Conley returned to the track just an hour later and snared her second gold medal of the day. The senior sprinted across the finish line in 11.49 to win the 100 meters, the fastest non-wind-aided time of her KU career. The clocking was just .05 seconds from being one of the 10-fastest in Kansas history.
On the men’s side, it was Paulo Benavides that turned in a standout performance, claiming victory in the pole vault. The sophomore cleared an outdoor personal-best of 5.40 meters (17-8½) and became the third Jayhawk vaulter to surpass the 5.40-meter barrier this season. He now finds himself inside the top-20 of the most recent collegiate pole vault rankings and is in the top-10 of the all-important West Region standings.
Freshman Andrea Willis also enjoyed her best performance of the outdoor season with a victory in the women’s pole vault. Willis got over a season’s best height of 4.07 meters (13-4¼) to claim the victory over sophomore teammate Morgan Griffiths. The performance moved Willis into the top-30 of the latest NCAA West Preliminary rankings and to eighth among Big 12 pole vaulters. Kansas will enter next weekend’s Big 12 Championship with three vaulters ranked among the top-10.
Elsewhere on the track, Hannah Dimmick turned in a career-best outing and her second win of the year in the 800 meters. Dimmick finished her two laps in 2:09.28 to shave .3 seconds off her previous best. That performance has the junior sitting 13th in the conference with the Big 12 meet looming next weekend.
Over Jayhawks to head home with hardware from Manhattan included junior Nick Giusti in the 110-meter hurdles (14.62), junior Marcus Davis in the 400 meters (47.62), senior Alex Wilson in the 400-meter hurdles (52.25) and junior Ezekiel Welch in the triple jump (14.97m [49-1½]).
The Kansas Track & Field teams will return to Rock Chalk Park to host the 2017 Big 12 Outdoor Championships May 12-14. The Jayhawks will host their first Big 12 meet in the league’s history and their first conference championship since it hosted the Big 8 outdoor meet in 1994. Keep track of all the Jayhawk performances by logging on to KUAthletics.com for complete updates and results and follow through Twitter at @KUTrack.
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