| The Kansas pole vaulters saw a solid outdoor season-opening performance at the Texas Relays Thursday afternoon.
AUSTIN, Texas –A career best from junior pole vaulter Nick Meyer in his first outing of the outdoor season highlighted a solid afternoon from the Kansas track & field team at the Nike Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays Thursday inside Mike A. Myers Stadium. Meyer turned in an NCAA top-10 clearance en route to the top-collegiate finish in the event.
Competing in the B-Section pole vault, a trio of Jayhawks hit the runway in Austin in their first outings of the year for the Jayhawks. Juniors Jake Albright, Nick Maestretti and Meyer were coming off redshirt indoor seasons and were seeing their first action in the crimson and blue in 2016.
All three Jayhawks cleared the opening bar of 5.05 meters (16’6¾”) on their first attempts. Meyer and Albright then reeled off two more clearances at 5.20 meters (17’0¾”) and 5.30 meters (17’4½”) to vault to the top of the leaderboard. While Albright was unable to go any higher, Meyer only needed two tries to get over a new career best of 5.40 meters (17’8½”). That jump earned the Kingman, Kansas native the best finish by a collegian and third overall behind a pair of unattached vaulters.
Meyer’s performance moved him among the top-10 in the early-season outdoor pole vault rankings. Albright was one place behind his junior teammate with his vault of 5.30 meters (17’4½”), just two inches shy of his personal best. Maestretti completed his day with a 10th-place finish by way of a 5.05 meter (16’6¾”) clearance.
Several Jayhawks also competed on the track Thursday evening in Austin. Juniors Nashia Baker and Malika Baker took part in the B-Section 1,500 meters. Nashia had a solid outdoor-season opening race as she stayed among the top-three runners from start to finish. The Lansing, Kansas product moved into the lead with just over 600 meters to go but was unable to hold off Akron’s Mackenzie Andrews, who took over the lead with 300 meters remaining. Nashia finished the race in third place with a final clocking of 4:32.68, just four seconds slower than her career best in the event. Malika crossed the finish just under eight seconds later in 4:40.62 to finish eighth.
Other Jayhawks in action Thursday included senior Brandon Bernal, who posted an 11th-place finish in the A-Section 1,500 meters in 4:06.13, junior Jennifer Angles who took 22nd in the 5,000 meters in 18:29.12, and junior Alex Wilson, who took 38th in the 400-meter hurdle prelims with a time of 53.76.
Loads of Kansas track & field action is still in store this weekend as Jayhawks are slated to compete at four different meets over the next two days. In addition to the Texas Relays, Kansas will have athletes at the San Francisco State Distance Carnival and the Stanford Invitational on Friday as the Emporia State Relays on Saturday. For results and recaps of all the Kansas performances log on to KUAthletics.com and follow on Twitter at @KUTrack.
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