Jayhawks Close Out Big 12 Indoor Championships
| Freshman Ivan Henry hands off to Jaime Wilson during KU’s third-place finish in the 4×400-meter relay.
AMES, Iowa –Junior Strymar Livingston posted a school record and helped the 4×400-meter relay team to the second-fastest time in school history as he and the rest of the Kansas track & field team completed on the final day of the Big 12 Indoor Championships. Junior Whitney Adams and sophomore Sharon Lokedi also turned in stellar outings and helped the women’s team to a fifth-place finish with 70.92 points, while the men concluded the two day meet having amassed 51 points for a seventh-place finish.
“We saw some great performances this weekend,” said head coach Stanley Redwine. “Daina (Levy) and Sharon (Lokedi) were winners so they were obviously great, and we had some others that really showed up and competed well. This is such a great conference though and this is not a meet for the average and we had a few too many average performances, which put our teams a little lower than we wanted. Hopefully both teams learned some things from this meet and will try to use that moving forward into the outdoor season.”
Livingston’s 600-Yard Title Bid Comes Up Short Despite School Record Run
A personal best and school-record time was not quite enough to see a Jayhawk crowned the leagues 600-yard champion Saturday afternoon. Livingston entered the day with the nation’s fastest time of the season, a clocking of 1:09.56 at the Jayhawk Classic in January. After seeing himself post the second-fastest time in Friday’s qualifying race, Livingston knew a victory would not be an easy proposition as Texas’ Byron Robinson was the top qualifier into the final.
The final proved to be one of the fastest in the league’s history. The Jayhawk and Longhorn separated themselves after the first 200 meters and never looked back, building a 10-meter lead on the rest of the field as they headed into the home stretch. Robinson had a step on Livingston as he entered the final straightaway but the KU junior stayed right on his shoulder. Robinson held off the late charge by Livingston and won the race in 1:07.99. The KU sprinter crossed the finish just .07 seconds later to snag the runner-up spot in 1:08.06.
Livingston’s time broke Michael Stigler’s two-year-old school record by .4 seconds and bettered his previous career best by nearly 1.5 seconds. The performance came at an unlucky time for Livingston as his second-place time would have been good enough to win the event at each Big 12 Indoor meet since 2000.
Lokedi Closes Out Stellar Weekend with High Finish in 3,000 Meters
Less than 24 hours after stepping off the first-place podium following her dominant victory in the 5,000 meters, Lokedi returned to the Lied Center track with hopes of completing an incredible feat by winning both the league 3,000-meter and 5,000 meter titles. For 2,900 meters, it appeared as though Lokedi would have a chance to do just that, sticking among the top-two runners for the majority of the 1.8-mile race.
On the final turn though, Lokedi’s closing kick couldn’t match that of four runners who overtook the Eldoret, Kenya native over the last 100 meters. She crossed the finish in a time of 9:26.89, a career best, and placed fifth overall. The time ranks as the second-fastest in school history and was just six seconds behind Natalie Becker’s school record.
Lokedi’s earned four points with the fifth-place finish and, added with the 10 points she garnered with her 5,000-meter win Friday, made her the high-point scorer for the KU women at the Big 12 meet.
Jayhawks End Meet on High Note with 4×400-Meter Relays
The 4×00-meter relays took center stage Saturday night and both the men’s and women’s squads saw season-best outings in the final event of the weekend. On the men’s side, the Jayhawks put together one of the fastest mile relay clockings in school history en route to a third-place finish. The KU quartet of freshman Ivan Henry, senior Jaime Wilson, Livingston and senior Drew Matthews combined to get the baton around in 3:08.74 for a time that ranks second on the school’s all-time indoor 4×400-meter relay chart.
After falling to fourth midway through the race, Livingston took the baton and put together a sub-46 second split to pull the Jayhawks up to third place, a position Matthews maintained heading over the anchor leg. Kansas finished third in what proved to be the fastest 4×400-meter relay in meet history, as the winning Baylor squad broke the meet record.
On the women’s side, juniors Whitney Adams and Adriana Newell, freshman Nicole Montgomery and sophomore Daria Cook also turned in a season-best time in the event. The foursome finished their mile in 3:39.20, good for a fifth-place finish. The time marked the fastest by a KU 4×400-meter relay team since 2013.
Jayhawk Men Grab Eight Points in Competitive Shot Put Field
Sophomore Cole Ceban and senior Paul Golen navigated through stiff competition in the men’s pole vault to contribute eight points to the men’s team score. Ceban surpassed the 61-foot mark twice, opening the competition with a toss of 18.84 meters (61’9¾”), which immediately shot his name to second on the overall leaderboard. Golen’s second throw would end up being his best of the competition, a mark of 16.57 meters (54’4½”).
Both Jayhawks earned three additional throws after finding themselves among the top-eight after the first three rounds. Ceban moved to second briefly after he posted a toss of 19.14 meters (62’9½”) on his fourth trip into the ring. Iowa State’s Jan Jeuschede posted a mark just six inches further than Ceban’s in the fifth-round, moving the KU sophomore to the bronze medal position.
Golen ended his day in seventh place and added two points to Ceban’s eight.
Poirier Closes Heptathlon Strong to Finish Sixth
Dylan Poirier could not have had a better day in the heptathlon after the junior turned in personal records in all three of the day two heptathlon events to earn him a new career-high score and a sixth-place finish. After posting personal bests in two of the first four events during the first day of competition, Poirier kept the momentum going into Saturday. He started his morning by shaving off nearly half a second off his previous best in the 60-meter hurdles when he cross the finish in 8.48. That performance earned him 848 points and moved his name from eighth to seventh heading to his signature event, the pole vault.
It was the pole vault runway where, Poirier separated himself from the 14 other heptathletes. The Elwood, Kansas native was the last man standing after clearing six heights, which culminated in a career-best bar of 5.04 meters (16’6½”). That vault earned him a massive 923 points and jumped his name all the way to third place has the heptathlon headed to its seventh and final stage, the 1,000 meters.
Poirier ended his day with yet another career best when he posted a 1K time of 3:16.82. That time closed out his heptathlon score at 5,103 points, a new personal best, and earned him a sixth-place finish. The score ranks as the seventh-highest in school history and made Poirier the fifth Jayhawk in program history to break the 5,000-point barrier in the event.
- Junior Zainab Sanni posted a pair of top-six finishes in event finals Saturday. She took fifth in the 60 meters when she leaned across the tape in 7.40. In the 200 meters she clocked in at 23.73, which was good for a sixth-place finish.
- Junior Whitney Adams’ turned in another one of the fastest indoor 800 meter times in program history en route to a fourth-place finish in the event final. The St. Louis native finished the half-mile in 2:06.32, the No. 3 time in school history which was less than two seconds behind Kristi Kloster’s 20-year-old school record.
- Junior Lydia Saggau earned the bronze medal in the 1,000 meters with the help of a personal best 2:50.78. That time is the 10th-fastest on the all-time KU chart.
- Nicole Montgomery was the fastest freshman in the 400-meter final. She ran the quarter-mile race in 54.71 and claimed fifth overall.
- The KU women got nine points out of the 600 yards with three Jayhawks finishing in the top-eight. Junior Adriana Newell turned in a personal best and a fourth-place finish after clocking in at 1:21.02. Sophomore Dorie Dalzell was sixth by way of her personal best time of 1:22.92, and freshman Wumi Omare took eighth in 1:24.46.
- Dylan Hodgson posted the highest finish by a Big 12 freshman in the men’s 3,000 meters. The Washington, Kansas native ran to a seventh-place finish in the event with a time of 8:16.42.
- Sophomore Barden Adams posted an indoor personal best on his first attempt of the day in the triple jump, a mark that eventually earned him a fifth-place finish. Adam’s hit 14.87 meters (48’9½”) on both his first and final attempts to match his fifth-place finish from the Big 12 indoor meet last season.
The Jayhawks will find out Tuesday which athletes qualify for 2016 NCAA Indoor Championships set to take place March 11-12. The meet will be held inside the Birmingham CrossPlex in Birmingham, Alabama. Kansas will then break for two weeks before kicking off the outdoor campaign at the Texas Relays, March 30-April 2 in Austin, Texas.
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