Jayhawk Freshmen Enjoy Successful Weekend at USA Junior Championships


CLOVIS, Calif. – Five freshman members of the KU track & field team turned in solid showings at the USA Junior Championships this weekend inside Veteran’s Memorial Stadium. Each Jayhawk claimed a top-10 finish in their respective events at the meet that featured the nation’s top track athletes 19 years old and younger.
Dylan Hodgson came just 0.2 seconds from earning a spot on Team USA’s U20 World Championship squad to compete in Poland later this summer. The Washington, Kansas product claimed bronze in the 3,000-meter Steeplechase on Friday evening. Hodgson’s final time of 8:56.54 was the second-fastest of his career, however he was out-leaned by California’s Kai Benedict at the finish line to just miss qualifying for the U20 World Championships.
Paulo Benavides also came close to punching his ticket to Poland as he competed in the pole vault Friday night. The El Paso, Texas native got over 5.20 meters (17’0¾”) on his first and only attempt of the competition, however that would be as high as he could go. Benavides was unable to clear 5.35m (17’5″) but still managed to claim fourth-place finish.
On the women’s side, Riley Cooney tallied a career best in the Steeplechase en route to a fifth-place finish in the event. Cooney finished the 3.1-mile race in 10:40.16 and was just seven seconds outside a top-two finish. Cooney new sits fifth on KU’s all-time Steeplechase list.
Shaylyn Stallbaumer and Kelly McKee rounded out the KU performances in the field events. Stallbaumer took posted a ninth-place finish in the javelin with her toss of 40.77 meters (133’9″). McKee claimed 10th in the triple jump by way of her leap of 11.77 meters (38’7½”).
KU Results at USATF Junior Championships
Men’s Steeplechase
3. Dylan Hodgson, 8:56.54
Men’s Pole Vault
4. Paulo Benavides, 5.20m (17’0¾”)
Women’s Steeplechase 
5. Riley Cooney, 10:40.16
Women’s Triple Jump
10. Kelly McKee, 11.77m (38’7½”)
Women’s Javelin
9. Shaylyn Stallbaumer, 40.77m (133’9″)
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