Jayhawks Gear Up for Big 12 Outdoor Championships
LAWRENCE, Kan. – The Kansas men’s and women’s track & field teams will travel to Fort Worth, Texas May 13-15 for the 2016 Big 12 Outdoor Championships held at the Lowdon Sports Complex on the campus of TCU. The 23rd-ranked KU men will attempt to improve upon their fifth-place finish at the league meet last year, while the KU women will look to claim their fifth top-four finish in as many years.
- This weekend, the Jayhawks will travel to TCU’s Lowdon Track & Field Complex, which is hosting the Big 12 Outdoor Championships for the first time.
- The Kansas men checked in at No. 23 in the latest NCAA rankings released this week. That marks the first time since 2014 the men’s squad found itself inside the top-25 and the 30th week, dating back to 2008, the Jayhawks were slotted in the top-25 of the outdoor national standings.
- With a finish in the top four this weekend in Fort Worth, the Kansas women will finish among the league’s top-four teams for the fifth-straight year, the program’s longest streak since the Big 12 was formed in 1996.
- In his first 15 years at the helm of Kansas track & field, head coach Stanley Redwine has seen an average of 3.7 Jayhawks claim an individual conference title every year. Since 2012 he has stepped it up, with Kansas athletes claiming 26 Big 12 outdoor titles for an average of over six per year over the last four seasons.
- Kansas women hold Big 12 Outdoor Championship records in four events, each of which have come within the last four years. Alena Krechyk holds the hammer throw record (2012), Francine Simpson holds the long jump mark (2013), the Jayhawks own the 4×400-meter relay record (2012) and Jessica Maroszek rewrote the discus record at the conference meet in 2014.
- If the season were to end today, 27 Jayhawks (16 men, 11 women) and two relays would qualify for the NCAA West Preliminary, which will be hosted at Rock Chalk Park, May 26-28.
- Kansas placed a league-leading 30 student-athletes on the Academic All-Big 12 teams Tuesday. Twelve Kansas women and 10 Jayhawk men managed first-team nods with sophomore Hannah Dimmick being one of 12 Big 12 women to post a perfect 4.0 GPA.
- Junior Nick Meyer tallied a new career-best clearance in the pole vault last Saturday en route to victory at the Ward Haylett Invitational. Meyer got over 5.50 meters (18’0½”) to better his previous career high by nearly four inches and move him to eighth on KU’s all-time outdoor pole vault list. Meyer became the 10th Jayhawk to top 18 feet and moved him to seventh among Division I pole vaulters and first in the Big 12.
- Sophomore Tre Daniels also tallied a career outing Saturday in Manhattan, winning the 400-meter race in 46.70. The time shaved nearly .5 seconds off of his previous personal record and made him the third Jayhawk this season to break the 47-second barrier in the event.
TIME TITLE TALLIES
The Kansas men have a successful history at their conference’s outdoor meet. The Jayhawks boast 33 team championships dating back to 1910 with the most recent coming in 1982. The run included 26 conference crowns spanning from 1952-82. The KU men’s highest finish in the Big 12 Conference was a pair of fourth-place finishes in 2002 and 2005.
On the women’s side, the Jayhawks won their first team championship at the outdoor league meet in 2013, and have notched runner-up finishes three times since 1974, including their second-place finish at the 2012 Big 12 Championships.
KU LEADS BIG 12 WITH 30 ACADEMIC HONOREES
A total of 30 Kansas student-athletes were named to the 2016 Academic All-Big 12 Men’s and Women’s Track & Field Teams, the league office announced Tuesday. The Jayhawks and Texas Longhorns led the league with 30 honorees apiece, with the KU men’s and women’s teams each seeing 15 student-athletes honored. Eighty-nine members made up the Big 12 men’s academic team (66 first team and 23 second team), while 133 comprised the women’s squad (117 first team and 16 second team).
Twelve Jayhawk women were placed on the first team, led by sophomore Hannah Dimmick, who was one of 12 women to claim spots on the league’s academic list with a perfect 4.0 GPA, doing so for the second-straight year. On the men’s side, 10 KU student-athletes earned a spot on the first team. Seniors Ben Brownlee and Evan Landes secured first-team Academic All-Big 12 spots for the third time.
JAYHAWK MEN CRACK NCAA TOP-25
For the first time since 2014, the Kansas track & field men’s team found itself ranked inside the top-25 of the latest national rankings. The U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) listed the Jayhawks among the top-25 for the first time this year, checking in at No. 23.
Kansas enters the top-25 for the first time since 2014 with the help of four individuals as well as a relay team currently sitting near the top of the national rankings in their respective events. Junior Mitch Cooper holds the NCAA’s No. 2 discus mark after posting a school-record throw of 62.56 meters (205’3″) at the Kansas Relays. Senior Evan Landes still ranks among the top-15 of the NCAA’s 10,000-meter standings after his career-best run of 28:58.43 on April 1 at the Stanford Invitational.
The Jayhawks also see a pair of pole vaulters sitting among the top-15 in their event. Junior Nick Meyer is coming off a career outing last weekend at the Ward Haylett Invitational which saw him post the No. 7 vault this year (5.50m/18’0½”). Fellow junior Jake Albright joins his teammate near the top of the standings at 15th via his season-best performance (5.36m/17’7″) at the Kansas Relays.
ACTIVE JAYHAWKS TAKING OVER THE TOP-10
Over the last four seasons, KU athletes have made their presence felt on the school’s all-time top-10 performer chart, many of which have occurred this season. The Jayhawks have at least one current athlete on both the men’s and women’s sides who has become one of the school’s top-10 all-time performers in 21 events.
Last month, freshman Shaylyn Stallbaumer moved to No. 4 on the Jayhawks’ all-time javelin chart in her first outing as a collegian. Freshman Nicole Montgomery moved to No. 7 among KU’s all-time performers in the outdoor 400 meters after posting a season-best of 54.17. Sharon Lokedi shattered the school record in the 10,000 meters at the Stanford Invitational on April 1. Whitney Adams moved to No. 2 on the 800-meter list with her personal best at the Sun Angel Classic.
On the men’s side, Evan Landes became the No. 2 performer among Jayhawks 10,000 meter runners after posting his first-career sub-29 minute race at the Stanford Invitational. Thrower Mitch Cooper also now sits at No. 1 on KU’s all-time discus list after his school record toss at the Kansas Relays.
With the Big 12 Championships looming this weekend, the Kansas Jayhawks will look to back up the superiority they have already displayed by way of the Big 12 rankings. The women’s team, which has finished inside the top-four of the Big 12 Conference standings each of the last four years, currently has eight Jayhawks boasting marks ranking in the top-five of the league’s yearly performance list. That list includes senior Daina Levy and sophomore Sharon Lokedi, who lead the conference ranks in the hammer throw and 10,000 meters, respectively.
The Jayhawk men also have several team members who have climbed their way near the top of the conference standings. Kansas has 10 athletes among the top-five in their respective events. Junior Mitch Cooper has posted the conference’s best discus mark at 62.56m (205’3″), while junior Nick Meyer’s vault of 5.50 meters (18’0.5″) has him atop the league standings as well.
JAYHAWKS IN THE REGIONAL RANKS
With just over two weeks remaining before the NCAA Championships kick off at the West Preliminary in Lawrence, both Kansas teams are primed to have large contingents compete on their home track with a host of Jayhawks ranked among the elite in the West Region. The Jayhawk women currently feature 11 athletes and a relay team who find themselves among the all-important top-48 of the regional rankings and would qualify for the West Prelim meet beginning May 26. Sixteen KU men and a pair of relays have tallied performances that have also moved them into NCAA Preliminary qualifying position. Junior Mitch Cooper remains atop the regional rankings after his career performance in the discus at the Kansas Relays on April 23.
Other Jayhawks in the top-10 in the West Region include seniors Evan Landes (10,000 meters) and Daina Levy (hammer throw), juniors Strymar Livingston (400 meters), Nick Meyer (pole vault) and Jake Albright (pole vault) and sophomore Sharon Lokedi (10,000 meters).
With the final regular-season meet in the books, the Kansas men and women will look toward the preliminary rounds of the NCAA Championships. The Jayhawks will host the West Region Preliminary meet May 26-28 inside Rock Chalk Park, which will provide KU athletes with opportunities to advance to the NCAA National Championships in Eugene, Oregon, two weeks later. The Jayhawks will wait to see which competitors will compete in Lawrence when the qualifier lists are released Tuesday, May 17. Log on to KUAthletics.com for complete coverage of the Jayhawks’ journey through the rounds of the NCAA Championships and follow on Twitter at @KUTrack.
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