Coppinger breaks KU steeplechase record, earns First Team All-America nod on final day of NCAA Championships
EUGENE, Ore. – In her final race as a Kansas Jayhawk, redshirt senior Courtney Coppinger broke her own school record and achieved First Team All-America status in the 3,000-meter steeplechase at the NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships at Historic Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon. Senior Sharon Lokedi earned Second Team All-America honors in the 5,000 meters to finish her collegiate outdoor career as a four-time All-American.
Coppinger finished seventh in the race with a time of 9:49.04, 2.24 seconds faster than her previous best of 9:51.28, set at the NCAA West Preliminary Round two weeks ago. With the seventh-place finish, Coppinger became just the second Kansas female to earn All-America honors in the steeplechase, with Rebeka Stowe, who was the school record holder prior to Coppinger, earning two First Team honors with seventh and eighth-place finishes in 2011 and 2012, respectively.
After winning the 10,000-meter title to earn her third First Team All-America honor in her outdoor on Thursday, Lokedi set out to run the 5,000 meters at the NCAA Outdoor Championships for the first time. Pacing with the lead pack the entire race, Lokedi clocked in at 15:51.29 to place 12th, the fourth-fastest time ever in Kansas women’s history. The All-America honor was the first for the KU women’s program in history in the event, and the first for either Kansas program since Paul Hefferon in 2006.
Although her outdoor career is over, Lokedi still has a year of eligibility remaining in cross country and indoor track. Lokedi finished her outdoor career as a four-time All-American including her national championship in the 10,000 meters, in which she broke the NCAA Outdoor Championships meet record. She is also the school record holder in both the 5,000 and 10,000 meters.
Freshman Alexandra Emilianov earned Second Team All-America honors in the discus, finishing 12th with a mark of 51.30 meters (168-4 ft.). Emilianov’s 12th-place finish marks the highest at the NCAA Outdoor Championships in the event for the Kansas women’s program since Jessica Maroszek finished sixth in 2014.
LaTyria Jefferson earned her first-career All-America nod by finishing in a five-way tie for 12th in the high jump for Second Team honors. Jefferson cleared the opening bar of 1.73 meters (5-8 ft.) on her first attempt but was unable to get over the next bar of 1.78 meters (5-10 ft.).
The Kansas women finished with a total of 12 points (10 from Lokedi’s 10K win, 2 from Coppinger’s seventh-place steeplechase finish) to place 22nd, marking the second-straight top-25 finish for the women’s program.
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