Jayhawk Trio Ready for Nation’s Best at NCAA Indoor Championships
|Sophomore Nicolai Ceban
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Three Jayhawks will journey to Birmingham, Alabama for the NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships to be held in the Birmingham CrossPlex March 11-12. Senior Daina Levy will go up against a stellar field when she competes in the weight throw Friday evening Sophomores Nicolai Ceban and Sharon Lokedi will compete at their first NCAA indoor championships, with Lokedi taking part in the 5,000-meter final Friday night, and Ceban in the shot put final Saturday afternoon.
- This weekend, three Jayhawks will travel to Birmingham, Alabama, which is hosting the NCAA Indoor Championships for the first time. The meet will also mark the first NCAA DI track & field championship – indoors or outdoors – hosted in the state of Alabama.
- Senior Daina Levy will look to become the second Kansas female to claim All-America honors in the weight throw this weekend. Alena Krechyk earned second team honors in 2012 before being named to the first time in 2013 after finishing sixth in the event.
- The Kansas women have seen at least one Jayhawk claim first or second team All-America status at the indoor national championships in 10 of the last 11 seasons.
- Over the last four seasons, the KU women have seen their athletes earn an average of over three First Team All-American honors at the national indoor championships, with a program record 11 First Team All-Americans being crowned in 2013.
- Sophomore Nicolai Ceban will look to become the 13th Kansas shot putter to attain All-America status indoors. The last Jayhawk to attain First Team All-America honors in the indoor shot put was Mason Finley following his runner-up finish in 2011.
- Ceban will try to become the second KU male to claim an NCAA title in the indoor shot put. Karl Salb won three-straight national titles in the event from 1969-71.
- Sophomore Sharon Lokedi will become the first KU female to compete in the 5,000 meters at the NCAA Indoor Championships. The last Jayhawk woman to qualify to the national meet in a distance event was Katy Eisenmenger, who ran to a ninth-place finish at the 2002 indoor championships.
- The Kansas women are three years removed from back-to-back runner-up finishes at the NCAA indoor meet, amassing 44 points in 2013 and 30 points in 2012.
WHAT TO WATCH FOR
Can Levy Maintain her Position in the stellar weight throw field in Birmingham?
Senior Daina Levy has been ranked among the top-eight of the nation’s weight throwers all season. This year, that has been a difficult task with each of the NCAA’s top-20 weight throwers boasting a top throw of 68 feet or better this year. Levy, will journey to her first NCAA indoor meet this weekend looking to attain first team All-America status for the second time after the Ontario native achieved first team honors in the hammer throw last outdoor season. In her final indoor campaign, Levy has turned in five of the 10 best marks in school history, with her career-best toss at the Big 12 Championships just nine inches shy of Alena Krechyk’s school record. It will likely take a mark over 71 feet to vie for a national title in the event this weekend, and Levy is primed to do just that. The women’s weight throw kicks off at 7:20 p.m. (CT) Friday evening.
Will Lokedi continue her rewrite of the KU history books?
It’s been a busy academic year for Sharon Lokedi, who has had a breakout season both on the track this winter and on the cross course last fall. The Eldoret, Kenya native ran to All-America honors via her 10th-place finish at the NCAA Cross Country Championships in November, which made Lokedi just the second KU female in program history to attain All-America accolades. Lokedi’s stellar year has continued with a facility record in the 3K, a school record and a conference championship in the 5K and now a qualifying spot in this week’s NCAA Championship. Lokedi has continued the history-setting trend into March as she will be the first KU female to toe the start line in the 5,000 meters at the NCAA indoor meet this weekend. A top-eight finish for the sophomore would make her just the second Jayhawk – male or female – to win a league championship and attain All-America status in the 5,000 meters in a single indoor season.
Can Ceban add his name among the legendary list of Kansas shot putters?
Sophomore Nicolai Ceban will compete in his first NCAA Indoor Championship meet this weekend and will try to add his name to an impressive list of Jayhawk shot putters. Kansas has seen its shot putters claim All-America status 12 times since the indoor championship began in 1965, withn ine of those occasions coming in top-three finishes. Since 2005, Jayhawks have snared All-America honors on four occasions, most recently with Mason Finley in back-to-back meets in 2010 and 2011. Now sitting at No. 6 on KU’s all-time indoor shot put list, Ceban will begin his day in the Birmingham CrossPlex throws ring at 2 p.m. Saturday.
The Jayhawks will now turn their attention to the outdoor portion of the 2016 campaign. Kansas is slated to open the outdoor season March 30-April 2 in Austin, Texas at the Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays.
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