Jayhawks ready for Big 12 action in Ames
|Big 12 Championship|
|Lied Recreation Center|
|Iowa State University|
LAWRENCE, Kan. – The Kansas men’s and women’s track & field teams will travel to Ames, Iowa for the 2018 Big 12 Conference Indoor Track & Field Championship, February 23-24. The meet will be held at Iowa State’s Lied Recreation Center and will be streamed live through FloTrack.org. This marks the 10th time the indoor conference meet will be held at the Lied Recreation Center and eighth time since 2008.
KANSAS INDOOR LEAGUE CHAMPIONSHIP HISTORY
The Kansas men have won 27 indoor team conference championships dating back to 1922, with the most recent coming in 1983. The Jayhawk men won eight-straight team championships from 1952-59 and 17 titles in a 22-year span from 1950-71. The KU men’s highest finish in the Big 12 Conference came last year when the team finished second.
The Kansas women won their first and only league indoor title five years ago, winning both the indoor and outdoor Big 12 Championship meets on their way to finishing second at the national indoor meet and winning the first national championship in Kansas women’s history.
WOMEN TO WATCH FOR
The Jayhawk women are in a position to post a high finish at this year’s Big 12 meet, going into conference action as the highest nationally-ranked team in the league at No. 13.
Junior Sharon Lokedi will be running in the 3,000 and 5,000-meter runs, both of which she holds the conference’s top time.
The women’s pole vault podium has potential to be filled with Crimson & Blue, with three Jayhawks holding top-five spots in the conference. Senior Laura Taylor is top performer in the Big 12 in the event this season, with sophomore Andrea Willis and junior Alexis Romero holding the No. 4 and 5 spots, respectively.
Junior Nicole Montgomery ranks first in the 600 yards this season, but will not compete in the event, as she will be running the 400-meter dash, which she ranks third in the conference in. Senior Megan Linder will also be running in the 400 meters and currently ranks fifth in the Big 12.
Freshman Alexandra Emilianov has competed at just two meets this season but still holds the fifth-best mark in the women’s shot put in the Big 12.
Kansas’ 4×400-meter and distance medley relay teams also hold the top times in the Big 12 this season and could bring championships back to Lawrence.
MEN TO WATCH FOR
Sophomore Bryce Hoppel (800 meters) and junior Hussain Al Hizam (pole vault) sit atop the Big 12 performance list this season in their respective events.
Dylan Hodgson will be running the 3,000 meters, in which he ranks third in the conference, and Nicolai Ceban (shot put) holds a No. 3 Big 12 ranking as well. Both the 4×400-meter and distance medley relay teams also rank No. 3.
Seniors Nick Meyer (pole vault) and Barden Adams (triple jump) have the No. 4 marks in the Big 12 in their events.
KANSAS WOMEN NO. 13, MEN NO. 24 IN LATEST USTFCCCA RANKINGS
The Kansas women currently hold the highest national ranking among Big 12 teams, coming in at No. 13 in the most recent USTFCCCA top-25. The ranking marks the highest for the Jayhawk women this season, with the squad moving up the rankings every week since the preseason poll came out on January 10.
The Jayhawk men slipped out of the top-25 in last week’s poll but climbed back up to No. 24 in the week five poll. The Jayhawks were ranked No. 11 in the USTFCCCA preseason poll and will look to climb back up into the top-20 with a strong performance at this weekend’s Big 12 Championship.
DMR BREAKS SCHOOL RECORD
For the second time in as many years, the Kansas women’s distance medley relay school record time was broken at the Alex Wilson Invitational in South Bend, Indiana. The 2018 DMR squad of Courtney Coppinger, Nicole Montgomery, Hannah Dimmick and Sharon Lokedi clocked a time of 11:01.19 to edge the record set in 2017 by Montgomery, Riley Cooney, Whitney Adams and Hannah Richardson by .66 seconds.
LIVING LEGEND SHARON LOKEDI
Kansas junior Sharon Lokedi has had an illustrious career that includes numerous awards and records, and things haven’t changed in her third indoor season. Lokedi has broken two individual school records this year and been a part of a school record-breaking relay team.
Lokedi utilized her redshirt year last indoor season but showed no signs of rust in her first indoor meet back, breaking her own school record in the 5,000-meter run at the Boston University Season Opener. Her record time of 15:39.05 ranked No. 4 in the NCAA at the time and currently stands as the sixth-fastest time this season.
On top of her record 5,000-meter run, Lokedi broke the school record in the 3,000 meters at the Iowa State Classic, shaving 17 seconds off the previous record by finishing the race in 8:59.69, which currently ranks No. 8 in the NCAA.
To polish off her record-breaking year, Lokedi helped the DMR team clock a 11:01.19 time at the Alex Wilson Invitational to break a one-year old school record and record the fifth-fastest time in the NCAA.
SIX EVENTS, SIX VICTORIES
Kansas sophomore Bryce Hoppel has competed in six individual events this indoor season and has yet to be defeated. Hoppel opened his season at the KU-KSU-WSU Triangular with wins in the 800 meters and mile run, before repeating the accomplishment a week later at the Mark Colligan Memorial in the same events.
Hoppel also posted a win in the 800 meters at the Rod McCravy Memorial, and most recently the Midland, Texas product won the 800 meters at the Iowa State Classic, where he clocked the second-fastest time in Kansas men’s indoor history in the event at 1:47.09.
The Kansas 4×400-meter relay teams have posted impressive times all season, and both sides hold high marks in the NCAA this season.
The Jayhawk men’s 4×4 team of Ivan Henry, Jaron Hartley, Isaiah Cole and Tre Daniels have the No. 11 time in the NCAA this season of 3:06.76, set at the Alex Wilson Invitational.
The women’s 4×4 team also recorded its fastest mark of the season at the Alex Wilson, where Megan Linder, Mariah Kuykendoll, Honour Finley and Nicole Montgomery passed the baton around in 3:33.53, which is the 10th-fastest time in the NCAA.
Once again, the Kansas track & field team boasts one of the most talented and deepest pole vault crews in the entire country. The Tom Hays-coached group currently has four athletes (two men, two women) ranked in the top-25 in the nation in the event.
Junior Hussain Al Hizam ranks seventh in the NCAA on the men’s side with a clearance of 5.53 meters (18-1.75 ft.), set at the Tyson Invitational on February 9, while senior Laura Taylor is the No. 7-ranked vaulter on the women’s side with a clearance of 4.38 meters (14-4.5 ft.) at the Rod McCravy Memorial on February 3.
MULTIPLE JAYHAWKS RANK IN NATION’S TOP-25
Kansas currently has 12 marks that rank in the nation’s top-25 in 10 different events. Of those 12 top-25 marks, nine rank in the top-16. 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.
The Kansas women’s distance medley relay teams is the highest-ranked for the Jayhawk women at No. 5, while sophomore Bryce Hoppel’s 800-meter time of 1:47.09 ranks No. 2 in the NCAA, which is the highest ranking for the Jayhawk men.
Any athletes or relay teams that rank in the top-16 of the NCAA in their respective events after the completion of all conference meets this weekend will automatically qualify for the NCAA Indoor Championships that take place March 9-10 in College Station, Texas.
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