Jayhawk 4x400-Meter Relay Takes 17th at NCAA Championships

NCAA Track & Field Championships
Hayward Field // Eugene, Oregon

Jaron Hartley (right) handsoff to anchor leg, Strymar Livingston (left), Wednesday in the NCAA 4x400m relay semifinal.
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EUGENE, Ore. –The Kansas track & field team got its week started at the NCAA Outdoor Championships Wednesday evening as the men’s 4×400-meter relay competed in the event semifinals inside Hayward Field. The Jayhawks completed the mile race in 3:07.31 to finish 17th overall and failing to secure a spot in the event final by just over two seconds.
The Kansas squad entered the meet ranked 16th in the nation after turning in a season-best time of 3:05.15 at the NCAA West Preliminary two weeks ago in Lawrence. The time was the 10th-fastest in program history and gave the Jayhawks momentum as the quartet headed into the national semifinal Wednesday inside Hayward Field.
The group was dealt a blow just minutes before the race as sophomore Tre Daniels, who was a member of the team that qualified out of the regional, was unable to compete due to injury. Despite the loss, veteran senior Drew Matthews stepped in to take Daniels’ spot to complete the team’s lineup of freshman Ivan Henry, Matthews, sophomore Jaron Hartley and junior Strymar Livingston.
Henry got the Jayhawks out to strong start with a 47-second split and was among the first three to make the first exchange. Matthews then took over and turned in a 47.5 lap and handed off to Hartley at the halfway point of the race with the Jayhawks in seventh overall.
Hartley held KU’s position with the help of a 47.3-second split and put the baton in the anchor, Livingston’s hand with the Jayhawks still sitting seventh.
Livingston turned in a stellar anchor leg which saw him move his team up a spot to sixth and complete the last lap in 45.5. The junior brought the baton across in 3:07.31, good enough to claim sixth in the heat and 17th among the 24 teams in the semifinal. The foursome’s time was just over two seconds shy of earning the Jayhawks its first trip to a NCAA 4×400-meter relay final in 26 years.
Though the squad’s season came to an end, three of the four that competed Wednesday are expected to return for the 2017 campaign.
Three days remain of the 2016 NCAA Outdoor Championships with the women’s events taking center stage on Thursday. The Jayhawks will see sophomore Sharon Lokedi compete in the 10,000 meter final, slated to begin at 9:08 p.m. (CT). Watch Lokedi race for a national title live on ESPN and follow on Twitter for updates at @KUTrack.
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