|Rod McCravy Memorial
||Fri. – 12:30 p.m. | Sat. – 11 a.m. (CT)
||Nutter Field House
Notes Meet Notes
Watch ESPN3 (Sat.)
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Kansas track & field will journey to the Blue Grass State this weekend to compete in the Rod McCravy Memorial Jan. 20-21. The meet, hosted in Kentucky’s Nutter Field House, will kick off Friday with field events at 12:30 p.m. (CT), while Saturday’s action is slated to begin on the track at 11 a.m. (CT) and will be broadcast on SEC Network+.
- Kansas will see 63 athletes (33 men, 30 women) compete in Lexington this weekend. Fourteen teams are scheduled to compete inside Nutter Field House, which includes 10 squads that currently find themselves ranked in the top-25.
- The Jayhawks feature nine athletes and three relays who currently sit among the top-25 of the NCAA rankings in their respective events. This number includes five Jayhawks who have boasted marks that have them inside the top-10 of the national standings.
- Senior Strymar Livingston is expected to compete in the 800 meters on Saturday. Last year, Livingston posted two of the top-eight times in program history, including his personal-record clocking of 1:49.19 at the ISU Classic last February.
- Junior Barden Adams is coming off back-to-back weekends in which he tallied personal best and NCAA top-25 marks in the triple jump and long jump. Adams’ triple jump outing from the Bill Easton Classic two weeks ago sits as the No. 5 mark in the NCAA this year. He is slated to compete in both the long jump and triple jump in Lexington this weekend.
- The Kansas women’s 4×400-meter relay squad is undefeated in its first three meets this season, which included a victory over Kansas State and Wichita State at the Sunflower Triangular last week. The Jayhawks currently hold the nation’s sixth-fastest time at 3:42.89, which also is the new Anschutz facility record.
- Kansas currently boasts six pole vaulters (four men, two women) who have moved into the top-20 of the NCAA’s pole vault rankings. The number includes senior Jake Albright and sophomore Paulo Benavides, who sit in the top-five after season-best outings at the Martin Luther King Jr., Invitational last weekend.
- The distance medley relays set for Friday night will pit several of the top squads in the early-season national standings against each other. Both the Jayhawks’ men’s and women’s DMR teams sit inside the top-20 and will go up against conference foes Texas and Baylor as well as meet host Kentucky, all squads who have tallied top-20 times in 2017.
- If the indoor season were to end today, five Jayhawks and three KU relay teams would qualify for the NCAA Indoor Championships set for March 10-11 in College Station, Texas. Kansas has seen at least one athlete earn All-America honors at the indoor meet for 20-consecutive seasons.
This year’s Kansas track & field roster includes several athletes who come from some impressive track & field family backgrounds:
- Senior long jump specialist Sydney Conley is the daughter of Mike Conley, who won a gold medal in the triple jump at the 1992 Olympics while also breaking the world record in the event. Conley still holds the indoor American record in the triple jump (58-3¾). Sydney Conley is also the niece of KU track & field head coach Stanley Redwine.
- Sophomore pole vaulter Paulo Benavides’ father, Paul, held the Mexican national pole vault record for 12 years.
- Senior pole vaulter Nick Maestretti’s father, Lane, was two-time competitor in the decathlon at the Olympic Trials and at one time held the American record in the decathlon pole vault.
- Junior Dorie Dalzell is the daughter of Greg Dalzell, who ran track at KU from 1981-86 and was a member of the Big Eight championship team. Dalzell’s grandfather, Art, also ran track and cross country at KU in 1953 where he was a member of the national championship cross country team.
- Freshman Denzel Harper’s father, Derek, was a member of the Michigan track team and still holds the school’s indoor long jump record at 7.89 meters (25-10¾).
- Freshman Ethan Donley’s mother, Julie, competed in the 800 meters at the 1992 Summer Olympic Games in Barcelona.
Within its 2017 men’s and women’s rosters, Kansas returns four All-Americans, including senior long jumper Sydney Conley, who has garnered First Team All-America honors three times. Junior Sharon Lokedi is also back for the women after a breakthrough season in 2016, one which saw her claim Big 12 titles in the indoor 5,000 meters and outdoor 10,000 meters as well as First Team All-America status in both events. The KU duo is included on a women’s team that returns over 80 percent of the scorers who led the squad to fifth and fourth-place finishes at last year’s Big 12 indoor and outdoor meets.
On the men’s side, pole vaulter Jake Albright returns for his final year in the Crimson and Blue looking for his second conference championship in the event and leads perhaps the deepest pole vault group in the nation. Senior Mitch Cooper and junior Nicolai Ceban head up an impressive throws group primed for success in 2017. Cooper is the Big 12’s reigning discus champion and a two-time Second Team All-American, while Ceban will look to improve upon his 15th-place finish in the shot put at last year’s NCAA Indoor Championships.
Both the KU men’s and women’s rosters are full of new faces as nearly a third of the teams are made up of newcomers.
The 2017 edition of Kansas track & field once again boasts one of the most talented and deepest pole vault crews in the entire country. Tom Hays’ men’s and women’s crews are comprised of both seasoned veterans and promising underclassmen who are already making national waves early in the 2017 season.
On the men’s side, KU features four vaulters who sit inside the NCAA’s top-10, including seniors Jake Albright, Nick Maestretti, Nick Meyer and sophomore Paulo Benavides, who moved toward the top of the national chart after stellar outings over the last two weeks. Albright finds himself at No. 2 in the nation following his 18-foot clearance in Albuquerque last weekend. This is a good sign for the men’s vault group that has dominated on the conference and national level over the past decade. Kansas’ male vaulters have claimed first or second team All-America status eight times and have won 11 Big 12 titles since 2007.
This season also looks promising for the Jayhawks’ female vaulters. Junior Laura Taylor and redshirt sophomore Alexis Romero have already worked their way into the top-10 of Kansas’ all-time vault list during their first two years in Lawrence. They are joined by freshman Andrea Willis, who has stormed onto the collegiate scene, already with a pair of event victories and the nation’s No. 20-ranked mark of the 2017 season.
RECORD BOOK WATCH
A host of Jayhawks enter the 2017 calendar year in good position to continue to move up Kansas’ all-time indoor record books. Twenty-nine Jayhawks (12 men, 17 women) on this year’s roster currently find themselves among the top-10 performers on the school’s all-time charts. Senior Strymar Livingston and junior Sharon Lokedi are the team’s two active school-record holders as Livingston is KU’s fastest in the 600 yards, while Lokedi boasts the school’s top 5,000-meter mark. The Eldoret, Kenya product also finds herself among the top-five in the 3,000 meters, while Livingston ranks third on the school’s 800-meter list.
Most recently, senior Jake Albright moved to No. 5 on KU’s indoor pole vault chart after his 5.50 meter (18-0½) clearance last week at the Martin Luther King Jr. Invitational. Sophomore Paulo Benavides joined his teammate in becoming one of the Jayhawks’ top-10 vaulters indoors with his mark of 5.45 meters (17-10½), sitting him ninth in program history.
Senior Whitney Adams finds herself in the top-six in three different indoor events, which includes the No. 3 times in both the 600 yards and 800 meters. Senior sprinter Zainab Sanni has worked her way into KU’s all-time top-five in both the 60 meters and the 200 meters and is joined by Sydney Conley, who ranks sixth on the 60-meter list as well as fourth on the long jump chart.
The Kansas track & field program will see a major youth resurgence this year, especially on the women’s side. Both teams feature a combined 33 athletes who will don the KU singlet for the first time, which includes nearly a third (16 of the 54) of the athletes currently listed on the women’s team roster. Sixteen newcomers also comprise the 60-person men’s roster.
Several of those newcomers are expected to be in action for Kansas this weekend. For the men Roy Bay, Isaiah Cole, Quentin Dancer, Ethan Donley, Chris Gleghorn, Denzel Harper, Bryce Hoppel, Cody Johnson and Chase Pennewell are scheduled to suit up in the Crimson and Blue. The women’s team will see Chloe Akin-Otiko, Jedah Caldwell, Zantori Dickerson, Lauren Harrell, Mariah Kuykendoll and Andrea Willis are all competing for the Jayhawks in Lexington.
Head coach Stanley Redwine has taken Kansas track & field to a level it hasn’t seen in quite some time during his first 16 years at the helm. Over Redwine’s tenure, he has seen 110 indoor and outdoor Big 12 Champions, 156 First Team All-Americans and 15 NCAA Champions come through his program at KU.
Redwine’s teams have also collected a combined seven top-10 NCAA team finishes, including coaching the 2013 women’s team to the program’s first National Championship at the NCAA outdoor meet.
AT HOME IN ANSCHUTZ
The 31-year indoor home facility for the Kansas track & field team, Anschutz Pavilion, has hosted dozens of collegiate and high school meets since 1984. In August of 2011, the facility got a major facelift when a new six-lane track (eight lanes on the sprint straightaway) was installed, which replaced the original track installed in 1984.
Both the men’s and women’s teams in 2017 will feature a large batch of home-grown talent as the majority of the athletes on each roster hail from the Sunflower State. Twenty-six KU men and 23 Jayhawk women call Kansas home, with the next-most prolific state, Texas, boasting a combined 13 natives.
Kansas also has a handful of international athletes. On the men’s side, senior thrower Mitch Cooper hails from Queensland, Australia, senior Daniel Koech (Kenya), junior Nicolai Ceban (Moldova), sophomore Hussain Al Hizam (Saudi Arabia) and Ivan Henry (Jamaica) welcome in international freshman Gleb Dudarev (Belarus). For the women, Sharon Lokedi has continued the KU tradition of bringing in some of the top international talent in the NCAA. The junior distance specialist Sharon Lokedi calls Eldoret, Kenya home.
ROCK CHALK PARK TO HOST 2017 JUNIOR OLYMPICS
Rock Chalk Park, the home of Kansas track & field, will play host to the 2017 USA Track & Field National Junior Olympic Championships later this summer. The meet, which will be held in Lawrence July 23-30, 2017, will welcome the nation’s top athletes between the ages 7-18.
USA Track & Field youth chairs selected Lawrence over Des Moines, Iowa, Dec. 5, 2015 at their convention in Houston. The bid for the event was made in conjunction with eXplore Lawrence, the city’s tourism bureau. Kansas athletics director Sheahon Zenger, associate athletic director Doug Banks and head coach Stanley Redwine made a special trip to Houston to assist in the presentation made by Sanner of eXplore Lawrence. Rock Chalk Park opened in the spring of 2014 and has played host to the Kansas Relays three times, one of the largest and longest-running high school and collegiate meets in the Midwest, and is set to be the site of Big 12 Outdoor Championship in May of 2017. The Junior Olympics will be the first USATF event held at Jayhawks’ three-year-old facility.
Kansas will return to Lawrence for its final home meet of the indoor season when KU plays host at the Jayhawk Classic Thursday-Friday, Jan. 26-27. The event is slated to begin with the first four events of the men’s heptathlon on Jan. 26 at 2 p.m., with the first events on Jan. 27 kicking off with the women’s weight throw at 9 a.m., and concluding at 8:05 p.m., with the men’s 4×400-meter relay. Get live updates and results from the Jayhawks’ performances by following on Twitter and Instagram at @KUTrack.
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