Jayhawks dominate at Rock Chalk Classic

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LAWRENCE, Kan. – The Jayhawks saw victories in 24 events that ranged all of the track & field disciplines as Kansas hosted the Rock Chalk Classic Friday. Key performances came from a host of Crimson and Blue-clad athletes, including senior Sydney Conley, who posted one of the nation’s top long jump marks of 2017 in her first outing of the outdoor season.
Conley needed only two attempts to climb into the top-10 of this season’s NCAA rankings as she snared a victory in her first long jump outing of the year Friday. The three-time First Team All-American surpassed the 21-foot barrier on each of her two fair jumps on the day, flying to a mark of 6.52 meters (21-4¾) on her second trip down the runway.
The mark earned Conley the victory by more than three feet over the rest of the field. It also inserted her name into the top-10 of the most recent collegiate long jump rankings. As of Friday night, her winning jump is the sixth-farthest in the DI ranks this year and is the best among Big 12 long jumpers in 2017.
Conley also joined up with teammates Nicole Montgomery, Jedah Caldwell and Adriana Newell to win the first running event of the day, the 4×100-meter relay. The foursome ran away from the competition as they passed the baton around in 44.97, the quartet’s second sub-45 second time of the season.
“It’s exciting to be able to watch her long jump again. She’s a fierce competitor and we’re excited for what’s to come. She had two jumps today over 21 feet so that’s a great start for her and it will definitely lead to better things at the big meets coming up in the next month.”
          – Redwine on senior long jumper Sydney Conley’s performance

Junior Nicolai Ceban was the top collegiate finisher in both the discus and shot put.* In her first competitive race on the Rock Chalk Park oval in nearly a year, Sharon Lokedi raced to victory in the 1,500 meters. Just a week removed from toppling the school record in the 5,000 meters, the junior broke the tape in 4:29.88 to collect her first victory of 2017.
* Junior Laura Taylor flew to her third-straight victory in the pole vault after outdueling teammate Alexis Romero for the second time in six days. Both Jayhawks posted a top clearance of 4.08 meters (13-4½), however it was Taylor who finished on the top step of the podium by way of fewer misses at the lower heights. Jayhawks comprised finishing spots 1-4 in the event.
* Mitch Cooper tallied a career best en route to a win in the hammer throw. The senior flung the implement to a distance of 60.97 meters (200-0) on his fifth attempt. The toss marked his first hammer throw at the 200-foot mark and made him the first male in school history to post throws over 200 feet in both the discus and hammer throws.
* Six days after freshman Bryce Hoppel outkicked senior Strymar Livingston for the Kansas Relays’ 800-meter title, Livingston managed to hold off his teammate in the rematch Friday. Livingston broke the tape in 1:49.89, while Hoppel was not far behind for the runner-up finish in 1:50.39.
* Sophomore Joel Long leaped to his first win of 2017 by way of a career best in the high jump. Long got over the bar set at 2.11 meters (6-11) on his third attempt. The performance has him ranked fourth among Big 12 high jumpers with the conference meet looming in two weeks.
* Both Jayhawk men’s and women’s 4×400-meter relay squads ended the night with victories. The men’s team of Isaiah Cole, Bryce Hoppel, Nick Giusti and Marcus Davis completed their mile race in 3:14.15 to win the event by three seconds. The women’s squad of Mariah Kuykendoll, Whitney Adams, Jedah Caldwell and Newell was never challenged en route to its win, passing the baton around in 3:45.28.
The Kansas track & field teams will take a week off before returning to Rock Chalk Park for the 2017 Big 12 Outdoor Championship May 12-14. The Jayhawks will host their first Big 12 meet in the league’s history and their first conference championship since it hosted the Big Eight outdoor meet in 1994. Keep track of all the Jayhawk performances by logging on to KUAthletics.com for complete updates and results and follow through Twitter at @KUTrack.
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