Jayhawk middle distance shines to open Texas Relays
AUSTIN, Texas – The Kansas track & field teams opened the 91st Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays on Thursday, with the Jayhawk middle distance crew putting up impressive performances at Mike A. Myers Stadium in Austin, Texas.
Junior Marleena Eubanks moved into the Kansas top-10 in the 800-meter run in her first-career outdoor performance as a Jayhawk with an eighth-place performance in the women’s invitational section, clocking in at 2:08.45. The times was good for No. 6 on the KU all-time list, and a great starting point for the transfer from Central Arizona College, who is a two-time National Junior College Athletic Association champion in the event, with her career-best coming at the 2016 NJCAA Outdoor National Championships when she crossed the finish line at 2:05.34.
Running in the men’s invitational section of the 800 meters, sophomore Bryce Hoppel notched a third-place finish with a time of 1:48.69, coming in ahead of 2012 Olympic 1,500-meter silver medalist Leonel Manzano, who finished seventh.
Both Eubanks’ and Hoppel’s times are likely good enough to qualify them for the NCAA West Preliminary in Sacramento, California, May 24-26, with the top-48 athletes in the West region making it to the preliminary round.
Senior Hannah Dimmick recorded a career-best time in the 1,500-meter run, clocking in six seconds faster than her previous best. Dimmick was one of three Jayhawks in the race and finished second overall, notching a time of 4:28.98. Freshman Catherine Liggett finished sixth with a time of 4:32.35 and junior Riley Cooney finished ninth at 4:38.21.
Three Kansas men’s vaulters also competed at the Texas Relays on Thursday, with senior Nick Meyer finishing highest of the three in fourth place, clearing 5.35 meters (17-6.5 ft.). Junior Paulo Benavides finished tied for 11th overall, topping out at 5.20 meters (17-0.75 ft.). Freshman Kyle Rogers set a personal record with a clearance of 5.15 meters (16-10.75 ft.) to finish 17th overall.
The Jayhawks also had three 400-meter hurdlers in action, with Caraline Slattery finishing 32nd in the women’s race with a time of 1:01.56, and Cody Johnson and Nick Giusti finishing 36th and 39th, respectively.
Kansas is back in action at the Texas Relays on Friday and will also have athletes competing in California at the San Francisco State Distance Carnival and the Stanford Invitational. Action in Austin is slated to begin at 10 a.m. CST for the Jayhawks and 10:40 a.m. CST in California.
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