Jayhawks split for competitive weekend in Arkansas, Iowa

Tyson Invitational
  February 9-10
  Fayetteville, Ark.
  Randal Tyson Track Center
  University of Arkansas
  Meet Schedule
  Live Stream (SEC+)
  Live Results
  Heat Sheets


Iowa State Classic
  February 9-10
  Ames, Iowa
  Lied Recreation Center
  Iowa State
  Meet Schedule
  Live Stream (FloTrack)
  Live Results
  Heat Sheets

LAWRENCE, Kan. – The Kansas track & field squads will split up for a pair of meets this weekend, with part of the team traveling to Fayetteville, Arkansas for the Tyson Invitational and the other part of the team trekking north to Ames, Iowa for the Iowa State Classic. Both meets will take place on February 9-10 and will have live streams available for fans to watch online. The Tyson Invitational will be broadcast on the SEC Network+ via WatchESPN.com and the Iowa State Classic will be streamed on FloTrack.org.
The Tyson Invitational, hosted by the University of Arkansas, will feature Kansas sprinters and field athletes. The meet will feature multiple nationally-ranked teams on both the men’s and women’s sides, with numerous teams from Power 5 conferences. The men’s side will feature No. 6 Arkansas, No. 9 Virginia Tech, No. 11 Indiana, No. 13 Houston, No. 14 Colorado, No. 16 Texas, No. 22 Florida State and No. 24 Auburn, as well as fellow Big 12 schools Baylor, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State. Nationally-ranked women’s teams competing at the Tyson Invite include No. 1 Arkansas, No. 7 LSU, No. 9 Texas, No. 14 Missouri, No. 16 Baylor and No. 23 Indiana, as well as conference foes Oklahoma and Oklahoma State. 
Kansas is sending primarily distance runners to the Iowa State Classic, with a mix of sprinters and field athletes also heading to Ames, Iowa. The ISU Classic will also feature a host of high-profile competition for the Jayhawks, with the likes of Power 5 schools like Illinois, Wisconsin, Iowa State, Nebraska, Minnesota, Iowa, Baylor, Oklahoma State, LSU, Ole Miss, Arizona State, Purdue and Penn State among many other nationally-recognized programs.
Senior Nicolai Ceban will make his second appearance of the 2018 indoor season at the Tyson Invitational as he is slated to compete in the shot put. Ceban currently sits just inside the NCAA Indoor Championship’s qualifying rankings at No. 16 in the event, with a mark of 19.03m (62-5.25 ft.) in his only time out this season at the Jayhawk Classic. Ceban will look to improve on that mark against the tough competition in Fayetteville, Arkansas and make it back to the NCAA Championships. The Camenca, Moldova product finished seventh in the event to earn First Team All-America honors last season.
The USTFCCCA released its week three poll on Tuesday, February 5 with the Kansas men’s team remaining at No. 23 in the rankings. The Jayhawk men were ranked No. 11 in the preseason poll, and dropped to No. 20 in week one and fell to No. 23 in week two before staying put for week three.
The Kansas women have seen a steady rise up the charts, moving from No. 55 on the preseason ballot to No. 53, then No. 49 and all the way up to No. 43 in this week’s poll.
Facing stout competition at the Rod McCravy Memorial in Lexington, Kentucky on February 3, Kansas track & field tallied 22 personal records.
Far-and-away the most successful event for both the men’s and women’s teams was the 400-meter dash, where five Kansas men and four Jayhawk women notched personal-best performances.
For the Jayhawk men, junior Ivan Henry placed second with a personal-best time of 47.36 seconds. Right behind Henry were seniors Tre Daniels, who finished third with a time of 47.56 (47.552) and Jaron Hartley, who clocked a personal-best time of 47.56 (47.555) to finish fourth.
Sophomore Isaiah Cole (sixth; 47.79), junior Marcus Davis (ninth; 47.91) and sophomore Cody Johnson (22nd; 49.52) also recorded personal-record times in the event.
Junior Nicole Montgomery was the top finisher for the Kansas women in the 400 meters, clocking in at 54.14 to place fifth, exactly one second slower than her personal-best time that ranks her as the No. 2 performer in KU women’s indoor history in the event.
Senior Megan Linder finished ninth in the event with a personal-best time of 54.56 to become the No. 5 performer in Kansas women’s indoor history, while Mariah Kuykendoll (54.57) and Honour Finley (54.61) finished 10th and 11th, respectively, with personal-record performances of their own.
Kansas sophomore Bryce Hoppel has competed in five individual events this indoor season and has yet to be defeated. Hoppel opened his season at the KU-KSU-WSU Triangular with wins in the 800 meters and mile run, before repeating the accomplishment a week later at the Mark Colligan Memorial in the same events.
Most recently, Hoppel posted a career-best performance in the 800-meter run at the Rod McCravy Memorial, where he clocked a time of 1:48.36 for the win and sprung himself into the nation’s top-10 in the event this season. Hoppel put himself into NCAA Indoor Championship qualifying contention as the No. 8 performer in NCAA Division I.
Once again, the Kansas track & field team boasts one of the most talented and deepest pole vault crews in the entire country. The Tom Hays-coached group currently has four athletes (two men, two women) ranked in the top-25 in the nation in the event. Hussain Al Hizam is the ninth-ranked men’s pole vaulter in the nation while Nick Meyer sits in 18th. For the women, Laura Taylor sits at seventh in the nation and Andrea Willis ranks 15th.
Kansas currently has eight athletes that rank in the nation’s top-25 in their respective events. Of those eight top-25 marks, seven rank in the top-16. Any athletes or relay teams that rank in the top-16 following February 25, 2018 will automatically qualify for the NCAA Indoor Championships that take place March 9-10 in College Station, Texas.
Junior Sharon Lokedi is the highest-ranked Kansas women’s athlete in NCAA championship events, ranking No. 4 in the 5,000-meter run. For the Jayhawk men, senior Barden Adams ranks No. 7 in the NCAA in the triple jump, making him the highest-ranked male athlete for KU.
Junior Sharon Lokedi utilized her redshirt season during the 2017 indoor campaign, but the Eldoret, Kenya native didn’t miss a beat in her first race of the 2017-18 indoor season. Lokedi traveled to Boston, Massachusetts for the Boston University Season Opener on December 2, where she toed the line against some of the nation’s best in the 5,000-meter run. Lokedi scorched her way to a time of 15:39.05 in the event, demolishing her previous school record of 15:57.95 set at the Iowa State Classic in 2016.
The Jayhawks will send a group of athletes back to Fayetteville, Arkansas for the Arkansas Qualifier on Friday, February 16 and will send the rest of the team to the Alex Wilson Invitational, hosted by the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana on Saturday, February 17.




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