Jayhawks Open Arizona Weekend with Strong Showing Friday
| The Jayhawks women’s 4×100-meter relay claimed gold at the Mesa Classic Friday.
TEMPE, Ariz. – Kansas track & field enjoyed an action packed Friday as the men’s and women’s squads competed at the Sun Angel Classic and Mesa Classic Friday. Jayhawks claimed victories in four events and added some more NCAA top-25 performances.
Senior Daina Levy got the Jayhawks’ weekend in Arizona started on a high note to start the day as she competed in the first event of the Sun Angel Classic, the hammer throw. Levy, who was seeing action in a hammer throw competition for the first time in 2016, showed no signs of rust as she surpassed the 210-foot mark on each of her first three attempts. On her third trip into the ring, the All-American unleashed a toss of 65.36 meters (214’5″), her longest of the day. The Jayhawk was unable to record a fair mark on her final three attempts but still managed to claim a third-place finish and the highest by a collegian.
Levy’s performance moved her to fifth on the latest NCAA performance chart and second among Big 12 hammer throwers. It also puts her in prime position to qualify for the NCAA West Preliminary to be hosted at Rock Chalk Park at the end of May.
A strong contingent was also in action at the Mesa Classic and several Jayhawks saw enjoyed career performances inside Riggs Stadium. Junior Zainab Sanni ran to victory in the 200 meters by way of a 23.61 clocking. The time has Sanni ranked among the top-five Big 12 sprinters in 2016.
Sanni also ran a leg on Kansas’ victorious 4×100-meter relay team. Daria Cook, Nicole Montgomery, Sanni and LaTyria Jefferson passed the baton around in 46.62 to win the event by nearly a second.
In her first collegiate track meet, javelin specialist Shaylyn Stallbaumer wasted little time inserting her name into the all-time Kansas rankings en route to a victory. On her sixth and final attempt of the day, Stallbaumer threw the spear 48.48 meters (159’1″) to cement her win by almost five feet over the rest of the field. Stallbaumer’s toss moved her to fourth on KU’s all-time javelin chart and into the top-25 of the NCAA rankings.
On the men’s side, sophomore Brandon Lombardino notched his first victory as a Jayhawk be claiming gold in the hammer throw. Lombardino posted a mark of 53.40 meters (175’2″) on his third attempt to earn the win by nearly 14 feet.
Junior Strymar Livingston also had a solid day in Mesa after he tied his career best in the 400 meters. Livingston ran to a runner-up finish in the event after completing his lap in 47.53. The time placed the Brooklyn native among the top-30 in the West Region and fourth in the Big 12.
Other notable outings at the Mesa Classic came from junior Nashia Baker, who shaved off nearly three seconds off her previous career best in the 800 meters to claim third in the event in 2:10.07, freshman Bryce Richards, who posted an 800-meter time of 1:53.03 and a runner-up finish, and senior Dasha Tsema added a personal best throw of 53.89 meters (176’10”) in the discus to finish sixth.
Sophomore Laura Taylor closed out the day at the Sun Angel Classic with a victory in the women’s pole vault. The Tualatin, Oregon native cleared three consecutive bars without a miss, her final a height of 3.90 meters (12’9½”) that eventually earned her the win.
The Jayhawks will continue their two-day swing in Arizona when they compete on the final day of the 37th Annual Sun Angel Classic Saturday. Action from Sun Angel Stadium will begin at 2 p.m. (CT) with the women’s high jump and will conclude at 11:22 p.m., with the men’s and women’s 4×400-meter relays. Log on to KUAthletics.com for a complete recap of the day’s events and get live updates by following on Twitter at @KUTrack.
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