Conley leaps to long jump title on Saturday of Big 12 Championship
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Kansas senior Sydney Conley soared to her second conference long jump victory as she highlighted another strong day by the Kansas track & field teams on day two of the Big 12 Outdoor Championship inside Rock Chalk Park Friday. Entering the final day of competition, both the Jayhawk men and women sit third in their respective team races with 13 of the 21 championship events still to come Sunday.
CONLEY COLLECTS SECOND BIG 12 GOLD IN THE LONG JUMP
Conley wrote another impressive chapter to her final season in the Crimson and Blue with a dominant victory in the long jump. The senior, who entered the day as the league’s top-ranked jumper, wasted little time as she posted the eventual winning mark on her first trip down the runway. The Fayetteville, Arkansas product flew to a distance of 6.76 meters (22-2¼), a leap that no other competitor could come within 18 inches of.
“It was a good jump and I was pleased, (I’m) very happy,” said Conley following the victory. “I PR’ed nonetheless, even though it was wind-aided. I still got it today, so it’s a blessing.”
Conley went on to tally two more jumps over 21 feet, but could not surpass her first-round mark. That attempt, which would have been a school and meet record had it not been for the aiding wind above the allowable limit, earned her the second league long jump title of her career as she also won the crown in 2015. The performance slid Conley’s name up the NCAA yearly long jump chart and has her at No. 3 heading into the postseason championships later this month.
“It just shows that I’m ready to pop a big one, whether it’s (wind) legal or not,” Conley said. “I’m being consistent with all of my jumps, so that’s what it’s (progress) telling me right now. I’m just staying consistent and can hopefully get a big one (jump) down the road.”
Conley’s victory marked the fourth time in the last six years a Jayhawk has claimed the Big 12 outdoor long jump title.
Laura Taylor claimed second in the pole vault.JAYHAWK VAULTERS COLLECT SILVER AND BRONZE
A pair of KU women tallied career outings in the pole vault as juniors Laura Taylor and Alexis Romero secured silver and bronze medals Saturday evening. Both Jayhawks were stellar through the first three heights of the day, needing only seven vaults between the two of them to advance. Romero then needed just one try to post a new personal-best clearance at 4.21 meters (13-9¾) and was followed soon by Taylor, who conquered the bar on her second attempt.
With only four vaulters remaining it was Taylor and Baylor’s Annie Rhodes that managed to go higher as Taylor slid over 4.31 meters (14-1¾), surpassing her previous career high by more than three inches. That vault also inserted her name at No. 2 on the Jayhawks’ all-time pole vault list, behind only school record holder and 2013 NCAA Champion Natalia Bartnovskaya.
Though it was Rhodes, the defending Big 12 champion, who managed to secure her second-straight league title with a meet record, Taylor was able to earn a second-place finish, the best of her career at a conference meet. Romero was not far behind with her third-place finish and rounded out a Jayhawk scoring effort of 14 points in the event.
KANSAS RUNNERS SHINE IN STEEPLECHASE
In the only finals on the track Saturday, Kansas saw impressive outings by both male and female contingents in the Steeplechase. On the women’s side, juniors Courtney Coppinger and Alaina Schroeder finished strong to collect third and fourth-place finishes by way of a pair of personal bests. Coppinger crossed the finish in 10:19.62 to claim the bronze medal, a time that has been topped by only one other Jayhawk in school history. That finish also moves the Mission Hills, Kansas native into the top-25 of the all-important West Region rankings.
Schroeder was not far behind her teammate after she clocked in at 10:21.37, good for fourth overall. That performance put her name at No. 3 on KU’s all-time Steeplechase list and has her inside the top-30 of the most recent West Region list.
For the men, it was Dylan Hodgson who dug deep in the home stretch to collect six key points for his team to close out the day. The sophomore overtook a pair of runners over the final 200 meters and leaned across the finish in 8:52.68, a time just two seconds shy of his personal record. Hodgson nabbed a third-place finish in the event for the second-straight year as he outkicked the fourth-place finisher by .11 seconds.
* The Jayhawk men saw their best long jump performance in a decade as junior Barden Adams collected a fourth-place finish in the event with the best leap of his career. On his second attempt of the competition, Adams soared to a mark of 7.62 meters (25-0) to immediately send his name near the top of the leaderboard. While he was unable to record another fair mark, the second-round jump was good enough to give him a fourth-place finish. Barden’s personal-best leap marked the first 25-foot jump by a Jayhawk in a decade and has him at No. 25 in the West Region standings.
Brandon Lombardino took third in the shot put.* The Kansas men saw a big points haul in the shot put, with three Jayhawks finishing inside the top eight. Junior Brandon Lombardino led the way with his third-place finish and personal-best throw of 17.23 meters (56-6½). Senior Kenny Boyer was fifth after posting a top mark of 15.94 meters (52-3¾), while senior Mitch Cooper scored in his third event of the weekend, adding an eighth-place finish by way of his toss of 14.62 meters (47-11¾). The trio combined for 11 points in the event.
* Senior Dylan Poirier concluded his two days of competition in the decathlon with a scoring performance in the event for the second-straight year. Poirier posted decathlon career bests in two of the day’s last three events, including the pole vault and the javelin. He totaled 6,532 points after the conclusion of the 10 events to earn himself an eighth-place finish.
* Joel Long matched his career best en route to a seventh-place finish in the high jump. The sophomore cleared 2.11 meters (6-11) on his final attempt to secure the scoring position. The performance marked his highest finish at a Big 12 meet after finishing 11th in the event a year ago.
The Jayhawks will be back on the track and in the field Sunday for the final day of the Big 12 Outdoor Championship. Field events will begin at 2:30 p.m., with finals on the track set to go off at 5 p.m. Log on to KUAthletics.com and follow on Twitter and Instagram at @KUTrack for updates and results on all the Jayhawk performances.
KUAthletics.com: The official online source for Kansas Athletics, Williams Education Fund contributions, tickets, merchandise, multimedia, photos and much, much more.