Hoppel wins 800-meter national title at NCAA Indoor Championships
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Kansas junior Bryce Hoppel highlighted the Jayhawk action on the second day of the 2019 NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships in Birmingham, Alabama, running a time of 1:46.46 in the 800-meter run to win the national championship and break his own school record. Hoppel’s victory helped the Kansas men’s team to an 12th-place finish in the team standings, which is the highest at the indoor meet for the KU men since placing eighth in 2002.
“The full gravity of it all hasn’t hit me yet,” Hoppel said of his national title. “The race was great. My plan was to get right behind (Texas A&M’s) Devin Dixon and let him lead it and then I knew I could get whoever was leading at the end.”
Hoppel, a native of Midland, Texas, became the first Jayhawk to win the men’s 800-meter indoor title and earned his second-straight indoor First Team All-America honor in the event. Hoppel won with a late surge in the last 100 meters of the race, catapulting himself into the lead and hitting the line 54-hundredths of a second in front of Mississippi State’s Marco Arop. Hoppel’s winning time also proved to be a Birmingham CrossPlex facility record and made Hoppel undefeated in individual events for the 2019 indoor season.
“(Hoppel) really had an unbelievable race,” Kansas head coach Stanley Redwine said. “It goes to show that hard work pays off, because he really is one of the hardest working people that I’ve ever seen. It was really good to end on that high note because up until that point we hadn’t been getting the things done that we were hoping for this weekend. He showed that it could be done and he was the sunshine in the midst of the storm. He’s a great guy and to be able to say that he is the first one to be able to do it for KU, when you think about the great athletes that have come through here, is truly amazing.”
Earlier in the day, Kansas freshman Rylee Anderson made her NCAA Championships debut where she finished 13th in the women’s high jump with a clearance of 1.76 meters (5-9.25 ft.) to earn Second Team All-America honors. Anderson missed on her first attempt at the opening height of 1.71 meters (5-7.25 ft.), but cleared the bar on her second try and cleared the second height on her first attempt before missing all three attempts at 1.81 meters (5-11.25 ft.).
Redshirt sophomore Gleb Dudarev competed in the weight throw but fouled on all three of his attempts and junior Andrea Willis participated in the women’s pole vault but was unable to clear the opening bar of 4.16 meters (13-7.75 ft.).
Kansas track & field will open the 2019 outdoor season with the Herm Wilson Invitational in Wichita, Kansas, March 21-23, and the Emporia State Spring Invitational on March 23.
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