Jayhawks off to fast start at Rod McCravy Memorial

Results | Kansas Results

LEXINGTON, Ky. –The University of Kansas track & field squads saw some impressive performances as a handful of Jayhawks got the teams’ weekend started at the Rod McCravy Memorial Friday inside Nutter Field House. The KU pole vaulters again proved their depth as trio of Jayhawks moved into the NCAA’s top-10, while the Jayhawk women’s relay team tacked on one of the fastest times in program history.
The Jayhawks saw another stellar outing from its pole vault crew with three of its women posting season-best performances en route to top-five finishes in a star-studded field amassed inside Nutter Field House. Junior Laura Taylor, sophomore Alexis Romero and freshman Andrea Willis all ended the day with marks that rank them inside the top-10 of the latest NCAA pole vault rankings as well as spots on the school’s all-time indoor pole vault chart.
 Junior Laura TaylorTaylor got her day out to a strong start with three first-attempt clearance on her first three vaults of the competition. Romero also cruised through the early heights, needing only four attempts on her first three trips down the runway. All three Jayhawks eventually made it to the bar that measured 4.10 meters (13-5¼) and, as if it had been planned ahead of time, the KU trio cleared the bar one after the other on their second attempts at the height. The vaults would earn Taylor a fourth-place finish, while Romero and Willis tied for fifth in the event that featured six women who now sit inside the NCAA’s top-10 pole vault rankings
The performance marked season-bests for all three Jayhawks as well as indoor personal records for Romero and Willis. The sophomore and freshman moved into a tie for sixth on KU’s all-time indoor vault list, while Taylor joined her teammates in invading the top-10 in the latest NCAA vault rankings.
“They did really well last week too, so they’re obviously coming around, they’re really fit and starting to do good things. We’re really excited about that group right now.”
          – Head coach Stanley Redwine on the KU women’s pole vaulters
“For him to win here was great because this is not an easy meet. We talked as a team about competing to our best ability so we can see where we are and to see him come out here and win the way he did was awesome.”
          – Redwine on Chris Melgares’ win in the 5,000 meters
“They’ve got a chance to be really good this year. It was fun to watch that race tonight against a couple teams (Baylor and Texas) that we’ll see down the road at conference. We’ll need our four best people if we want to compete with them. We’re going to continue to work with them and hopefully a month from now we’ll catch up with those guys.”
          – Redwine on the women’s distance medley relay team
* The KU women’s distance medley relay took part in a race that produced the four best times in the NCAA DI ranks to this point of the 2017 campaign. The team of Riley Cooney, Megan Linder, Hannah Dimmick and Malika Baker completed the 4,000-meter race in 11:26.93, finishing third behind Big 12 foes Baylor and Texas. The quartet’s time moved the Jayhawks to third in the NCAA this season and was the eighth-best time ever produced by the Kansas women.
* Sophomore Ivan Henry turned in one the school’s quickest indoor 200 meter times when he claimed fifth in the event. The Spanish Town, Jamaica native completed the ¾ trip around Nutter Field House’s 291-meter track in a speedy 21.55, shaving .4 seconds off his previous best. Henry’s run moved him from ninth to third among Kansas’ all-time indoor 200-meter performers, with two-time NCAA Champion Leo Bookman and current teammate, junior Jaron Hartley, ahead of him.
* Jedah Caldwell also secured her place among the Jayhawks’ fastest 200-meter sprinters Friday night. The freshman out of Chanhassen, Minnesota broke the tape in a personal-best time of 24.38, earning herself a 15th-place finish. Caldwell’s performance also marked the third-fastest indoor 200 meter ever posted by a Kansas freshman.
* Junior Chris Melgares earned the Jayhawks’ lone victory of the day, winning the 5,000 meters in runaway fashion. Melgares found himself in a tight battle with Kentucky’s Mick Iacofano heading into the final 600 meters, however the Jayhawk outkicked the Wildcat and the rest of the field, crossing the finish nearly 10 seconds ahead of the runner-up. Melgares’ winning time of 14:45.70 is the second-fastest posted by a Big 12 runner so far in 2017.
Day two of the Rod McCravy Memorial will kick off for the Jayhawks at 11 a.m. (CT) Saturday with the men’s pole vault and the preliminary heats of the 60-meter hurdles. Get updates and results from all the Jayhawks’ performances throughout the day by following on Twitter and Instagram at @KUTrack and logging on to KUAthletics.com. The final day’s events will also be televised on SEC Network+ and ESPN3 beginning at 11 a.m. (CT).
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