Jayhawks open new year with Arkansas Invite, Sunflower Triangular
|Friday, January 12|
|Randal Tyson Track Center|
|University of Arkansas|
|Live Stream (SEC+)|
|Saturday, January 13|
|Ahearn Field House|
|Kansas State University|
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Kansas track & field returns to action after more than a month since the Jayhawks opened the season at home with the Bob Timmons Challenge on December 2. The Kansas pole vaulters will travel to Fayetteville, Arkansas to compete for the first time in 2018 at the Arkansas Invitational at the Randal Tyson Track Center on January 12. The majority of the Jayhawks will stay close to Lawrence and travel to Manhattan, Kansas to try to win the KU-KSU-WSU Triangular for the third-straight year on Saturday, January 13 at Ahearn Field House.
Six Kansas women and four Jayhawk men will compete in the pole vault at the Arkansas Invitational. Freshman Khristen Bryant, sophomores Callie Hicks and Andrea Willis, juniors Alexis Romero and Morgan Griffiths, and senior Laura Taylor will compete in the women’s vault, scheduled to start at 1 p.m. CST.
Freshman Kyle Rogers, junior Hussain Al Hizam and seniors Nick Meyer and Lucas Shaw will take on the rest of the field in the men’s pole vault, starting at 5 p.m.
The meet will be broadcast online on the SEC Network Plus online at WatchESPN.com. The Jayhawk vaulters will go up against the likes of Arkansas, Missouri, Missouri State, Oral Roberts, SMU and Tulsa at the invitational.
SUNFLOWER STATE TRIANGULAR
The Jayhawks will look to defend their two-straight titles in the Sunflower Triangular when they compete in the fourth installment of the tri-meet on Saturday. Last year’s meet saw the Jayhawks win nine of the final 20 events to score 242 points in the victory, 11 points ahead of second place Kansas State.
The meet is set to begin inside Ahearn Field House starting at 10 a.m. with field events, and action on the oval is slated to start at 1 p.m.
HEADLINERS IN ACTION
The Jayhawks will have three All-Americans from the 2017 season competing this weekend. Laura Taylor, who earned Second Team Outdoor All-America honors last season is slated to compete at both the Arkansas Invitational and the KU-KSU-WSU Triangular this weekend. Fellow vaulter Hussain Al Hizam, who was the 2017 Big 12 outdoor champion and a first team All-American in the outdoor season will compete at the Arkansas Invitational for his first competition of the 2017-18 campaign. Senior jumper Barden Adams, who earned first team All-America honors in the triple jump in both the indoor and outdoor seasons last year is scheduled to compete in the long and triple jumps at the Sunflower Triangular on Saturday.
JAYHAWK MEN RANK NO. 11 IN PRESEASON POLL
The Kansas men found themselves ranked No. 11 in the USTFCCCA NCAA Division I preseason poll, released January 10.
No. 11 marks the highest indoor preseason ranking for the men’s team since it was also ranked No. 11 heading into the 2008 season. The men went on to finish 22nd that year at the NCAA Indoor Championships.
The last time either of the Kansas programs were ranked in the top-10 of the indoor preseason rankings was 2014 when the Jayhawk women ranked No. 10. The year prior, 2013, the Kansas women clocked in at No. 2 in the indoor preseason rankings, and would go on to place second at the NCAA Indoor Championships before winning the outdoor title later that year.
WILLIS MOVES UP TOP-10 PERFORMERS CHART
Sophomore Andrea Willis won the women’s pole vault at the Bob Timmons Challenge by clearing a career-best 4.17 meters (13-8.25 ft.) to move from No. 7 to No. 5 on the Kansas all-time performers list, passing current teammates Laura Taylor and Alexis Romero. Taylor and Romero were tied for the No. 5 spot at 4.15 meters (13-7.25 ft.). The pair each cleared 4.15 meters last season at the Tyson Invitational in Fayetteville, Arkansas.
DANIELS DISPLAYS TALENT
Senior Tre Daniels showed how big of an impact he could play in this season’s success for the Kansas men at the Bob Timmons Challenge. Running in the 60-meter dash for just the third time in his career, Daniels posted a personal-best time of 6.63 seconds to move into a tie for ninth on the Kansas all-time performers list in the event.
Later in the day, Daniels helped the men’s 4×400-meter relay team to a first-place finish, with the team clocking in at 3:13.90. The team’s converted time (3:10.86) currently ranks seventh in NCAA Division I.
LOKEDI CRUSHES HER OWN SCHOOL RECORD
Junior Sharon Lokedi utilized her redshirt season during the 2017 indoor campaign, but the Eldoret, Kenya native didn’t miss a beat in her first race of the 2017-18 indoor season. Lokedi traveled to Boston, Massachusetts for the Boston University Season Opener on December 2, where she toed the line against some of the nation’s best in the 5,000-meter run. Lokedi scorched her way to a time of 15:39.05 in the event, demolishing her previous school record of 15:57.95 set at the Iowa State Classic in 2016.
MULTIPLE JAYHAWKS RANK IN NATION’S TOP-25
While the indoor season is still in its infancy, Kansas has five individuals and three relay teams that rank in the NCAA Division I’s top-25 in NCAA Championship events.
The Kansas men’s 4×400-meter relay team of Jaron Hartley, Tre Daniels, Ivan Henry and Isaiah Cole rank No. 7 in the event with a converted time of 3:10.86, recorded in a victory at the Bob Timmons Challenge.
The Kansas women have two 4×400-meter relay teams in the nation’s top-25, with the team of Mariah Kuykendoll, Jedah Caldwell, Honour Finley and Nicole Montgomery ranking No. 6 and the team comprised of Megan Linder, Zainab Sanni, Chloe Akin-Otiko and Zantori Dickerson ranking No. 25.
Junior Marcus Davis ranks No. 23 in the men’s 400-meter dash and freshman Kyle Rogers sits at No. 15 in the nation in the pole vault with a clearance of 5.06 meters (16-7.25 ft.)
Individually for the women, junior Sharon Lokedi ranks fourth in the nation with her school record time of 15:39.05 in the 5,000-meter run, set at the BU Season Opener. Two women’s pole vaulters are in the top-10 in the nation, with sophomore Andrea Willis sitting at No. 5 and senior Laura Taylor ranking No. 8.
Any athletes or relay teams that rank in the top-16 following February 25, 2018 will automatically qualify for the NCAA Indoor Championships that take place March 9-10 in College Station, Texas.
In non-NCAA Championship events, junior Nicole Montgomery holds the fastest women’s time in the nation in the 600-yard run, and senior Matt Anyiwo ranks No. 7 in the event on the men’s side.
The Sunflower Triangular gives a year of bragging rights to one of the three Division I teams in the Sunflower State, and for those on the rosters from Kansas, it means just a little bit more. Kansas boasts 22 athletes on the men’s team and 15 on the women’s squad from the Sunflower State, totaling 37 home grown athletes.
The Jayhawks will travel to Lincoln, Nebraska for the Mark Colligan Memorial, hosted by the University of Nebraska at the Devaney Sports Center on January 20. Kansas will then return home to compete in the final home meet of the indoor season, the Jayhawk Classic, January 25-26.
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