Jayhawk men crack top-10 in NCAA rankings
NEW ORLEANS – For the first time in program history, the Kansas track & field men’s team found itself among the top-10 of the weekly national rankings when the latest top-25 list was released by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) Monday. The Jayhawks, who jumped 16 spots to check in at No. 8 this week, feature eight athletes and a relay team that sit among the top-25 in their respective events.
The men find themselves ranked for the fourth-straight week to start the 2017 indoor season. They are joined by three other Big 12 squads listed on this week’s list, including No. 11 Texas, No. 13 Texas Tech and No. 22 Oklahoma State.
Kansas’ high ranking can be largely attributed to the Jayhawk throwers and pole vaulters. KU has five pole vaulters who have posted marks that rank among the top-30 in the NCAA this season, including senior Jake Albright, whose mark of 5.54 meters (18-2) from the Rod McCravy Memorial on Jan. 20 still sits him fourth in the nation. Seniors Nick Meyer and Nick Maestretti along with Paulo Benavides and Hussain Al Hizam join Albright near the top of the collegiate ranks, all with season-best clearances of 5.30 meters (17-4½) or better.
A pair of Jayhawk throwers have also sky rocketed up the rankings through the first six weeks of 2017. Freshman Gleb Dudarev has stormed onto the collegiate scene with two victories and two enormous marks in the first two competitions of his career. His season-best of 23.44 meters (76-11) is No. 2 on the NCAA’s weight throw chart and is just over four inches shy of the No. 1 spot. Nicolai Ceban joins his younger teammate as one of the top-ranked throwers by way of his season and career-best outing at the Jayhawk Classic on Jan. 27. Ceban’s throw of 19.85 meters (65-1½) has only been topped by two other DI collegians this season.
Junior Barden Adams elevated his NCAA standing following another career-best outing in the triple jump last weekend at the Tyson Invitational. Adams posted a leap of 16.01 meters (52-6½), moving him to 11th in the NCAA.
Kansas has also seen some stellar performances on the track that have played a part in the team’s jump up the national chart. Senior Strymar Livingston holds the nation’s 17th-ranked time in the 800 meters (1:47.95), while the men’s 4×400-meter relay is the 16th-fastest in the DI ranks with the help if its school record clocking (3:07.82) at the Husker Invitational two weeks ago.
The 8th-ranked KU men will have one final tune-up for the Big 12 Indoor Championships when a handful of Jayhawks will head to the Arkansas Qualifier this weekend in Fayetteville, Ark. Events from the Tyson Track Center are set for Friday, Feb. 17 and will begin at 2 p.m.
KUAthletics.com: The official online source for Kansas Athletics, Williams Education Fund contributions, tickets, merchandise, multimedia, photos and much, much more.