Jayhawks post top-20 team finishes at NCAA Indoor Championships
COLLEGE STATION, Texas – For the first time in Kansas school history, both the men’s and women’s track & field teams posted top-20 finishes at the NCAA Division I Indoor Championships, concluding the weekend each tied for 17th in the team standings.
Going into the final day of competition at the Gilliam Indoor Stadium in College Station, Texas, the Kansas women had six points, thanks to a third-place finish from redshirt junior Sharon Lokedi in the 5,000-meter run on Friday. The men’s team entered Saturday with 10 points after junior Hussain Al Hizam became the first indoor pole vault champion at Kansas since 1973.
“It is always exciting when you can get one of your teams in the top-20 at the national meet, so to get two is even better,” Kansas head coach Stanley Redwine said. “That being said, this will hopefully be something we can learn from and continue to get better. We had a few places where we were just out of scoring position, so we would love to have those but overall it was a great day and weekend.”
Running on her birthday, Lokedi gave the Kansas women a boost in the standings on Saturday and earned her second First Team All-America honor of the weekend and third of her career with a sixth-place finish in the 3,000 meters. The Eldoret, Kenya native clocked the second-fastest time in the event, behind only her own school record set earlier this season, finishing with a time of 9:03.68.
Sharon Lokedi notched ANOTHER Indoor First Team All-America honor, her second of the weekend and third of her career. She finished sixth in the 3,000 meters with the second-fastest time in #KUtrack women’s indoor history. #ncaaTF
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“Sharon had another great day,” Redwine said. “Being able to bounce back from the 5,000 yesterday and get another All-American performance just shows the type of competitor she is.”
Senior Laura Taylor also added to the Kansas women’s total with a sixth-place finish of her own in the pole vault. The Tualatin, Oregon product made it over the bar on her first four attempts without a miss. By the conclusion of her fourth jump, she had already sealed a First Team All-America finish, as she was one of just seven to make it over the 4.36-meter (14-3.5 ft.) bar.
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Attempting what would be an indoor personal best by an inch, Taylor was unable to clear the bar on any of her three attempts at 4.41 meters (14-5.5 ft.), ultimately ending her day in sixth to earn First Team All-America honors.
The Kansas men picked up one of their two points on Saturday from sophomore Bryce Hoppel in the 800-meter run final with an eighth-place finish, earning him First Team All-America honors. After posting an auto-qualifying performance on Friday by finishing third in his preliminary heat, the Midland, Texas native posted a time of 1:50.06. The race was the only final this indoor season that Hoppel did not win, snapping his streak of seven-straight finals victories.
— Kansas Track & Field (@KUTrack) March 10, 2018
Senior Barden Adams tallied the final point for the Jayhawk men with an indoor personal record in the men’s triple jump. Adams slipped into the final of the event by posting the ninth-best mark in trials at 15.97 meters (52-4.75 ft.) before notching a new best at 16.06 meters (52-8.25 ft.) on his fourth attempt of the day. The West Orange, New Jersey product then took it one step further, hitting a mark of 16.19 meters (53-1.5 ft.) on his fifth attempt for his best jump of the day and to earn his second indoor First Team All-America honor with an eighth-place finish.
— Kansas Track & Field (@KUTrack) March 11, 2018
The men’s and women’s 4×400-meter relay teams concluded the weekend with Second Team All-America performances. The men’s team of Ivan Henry, Isaiah Cole, Jaron Hartley and Tre Daniels finished 11th with a time of 3:07.98, the No. 6 time in KU men’s indoor history.
Megan Linder, Mariah Kuykendoll, Nicole Montgomery and Honour Finley finished 15th in the women’s relay, clocking the 10th-fastest time in Kansas women’s history at 3:35.83.
With the conclusion of the indoor season, the Jayhawks will open the outdoor campaign on March 24 at the Arkansas Spring Invitational in Fayetteville, Arkansas. The meet is slated to begin at 1 p.m. at the University of Arkansas’ John McDonnell Field.
“Hopefully we can use this as a jumping off point for the outdoor season,” Redwine said. “Hopefully the athletes that didn’t make it this weekend are motivated to work hard and get better in the outdoor season.”
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