Jayhawks sending strong team to NCAA Indoor Championships

NCAA Indoor Championships
Date March 10-11
Time Fri. – 12 p.m. | Sat. – 12 p.m.
Location College Station, Texas
Stadium Gilliam Indoor Track Stadium
TV ESPN2 (Tape-Delay) – Sunday
Video ESPN3: Friday | Saturday
Stats FlashResults.com
Texas A&M Meet Central
Notes Schedule
Notes Men Heats: Friday | Saturday
Women Heats: Friday | Saturday
Notes Meet Notes
Twitter @KUTrack | #kutrack
Instagram @KUTrack | #kutrack
Facebook /KUTrackandField | #kutack

Notes Meet Notes

LAWRENCE, Kan. – The 11th-ranked Kansas men’s track & field team will journey to College Station, Texas this weekend for the 2017 NCAA Indoor Championships March 10-11. The Jayhawk men feature six individuals and a relay squad who will compete in five events inside Gilliam Indoor Track Stadium. The Kansas women will have two entries in this weekend’s meet with long jumper Sydney Conley and the distance medley relay team set to compete.

  • This weekend, eight Jayhawks and two relay squads will travel to College Station, Texas, which is hosting the NCAA Indoor Championships for the third time at Texas A&M’s Gilliam Indoor Track Stadium.
  • The Jayhawk men will see three pole vaulters compete for a national title this weekend. This marks just the seventh time in the 52-year history of the NCAA Indoor meet that more than two pole vaulters from a single school qualified.
  • Freshman Gleb Dudarev enters the meet as the nation’s No. 2-ranked weight thrower. He will look to notch the Jayhawks’ fourth NCAA weight throw title since 2002 when he hits the ring on Saturday afternoon.
  • Senior Sydney Conley hopes to garner First Team All-America accolades in the long jump for the fourth time in her KU career. Conley qualified for the NCAA meet having competed in just two meets so far in 2017.
  • The Jayhawk men see their first 4×400-meter relay squad qualify for the NCAA Indoor meet since 1983. KU enters the weekend ranked seventh in the nation after posting a school record time of 3:05.57 last month.
  • The Kansas women send a distance medley relay squad to Nationals for just the second time. Riley Cooney, Nicole Montgomery, Whitney Adams and Hannah Richardson earned a bid to College Station by way of their school-record run on Feb. 18. The quartet will vie to claim First Team All-America status for the first time in each of their collegiate careers.
  • Kansas head coach Stanley Redwine, along with associate head coach Tom Hays, took home Midwest Regional awards for the indoor track season by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA). Redwine was named the region’s men’s head coach of the year, while Hays claimed the Midwest’s men’s assistant coach of the year award.
  • Redwine, now in his 17th year at the helm of the Jayhawks, for the third time but his first time being honored for the men’s team. He was named the Midwest’s Head Coach of the Year for the Kansas women’s team following both the 2012 and 2013 outdoor seasons.
  • Hays, now in his 13th season since returning as an assistant coach, garnered the Regional honor for the first time since the current Regional Award format began in 2006.

Can three Jayhawks add their names to the legendary list of Kansas’ All-American Pole vaulters?
Jake Albright, Paulo Benavides and Nick Maestretti will compete in their first NCAA Indoor Championship meet this weekend and will try to add their names to an impressive list of Jayhawk pole vaulters. Kansas has seen its pole vaulters claim All-America status 23 times since the indoor championships began in 1965, with 11 of those occasions coming in top-three finishes, the most of any school in the nation. Now with a Big 12 Indoor Championship in tow, Benavides has the opportunity to put his name in rare company as one of 10 Jayhawks to win both an indoor conference title and claim All-America honors in the event. The KU trio will begin their day on the Gilliam Stadium runway at 5:30 p.m. (CT) Friday.
How will Kansas’ DMR stack up against the stacked field gathered in College Station?
Ever since its school-record run last month in South Bend, the Jayhawk women’s DMR has been ranked among the top-12 of the nation’s squads. This year that has been a difficult task with eight of the NCAA qualifying team’s boasting sub-11:00 seasonal bests the most in the history of NCAA DI. The Jayhawks will journey to College Station this weekend looking to become the second female DMR squad attain first team All-America status and the first time since 2010. Three of the school’s 10-fastest DMR times have been posted this season, including the school record of 11:01.85 at the Alex Wilson Invitational on Feb. 18. It will likely take a time 5-10 seconds faster in order to vie for a national title in the event this weekend, and the KU women are primed to do just that. The women’s DMR kicks off at 8:40 p.m. (CT) Friday evening. 
Can Dudarev end his first indoor season with a national championship?
Freshman Gleb Dudarev journey’s to Texas this weekend as one of the favorites to compete for a national championship in the weight throw. The Belarus native ranks second in the NCAA entering the weekend and is coming off a Big 12 championship performance in the event two weeks ago. A win this weekend would make him the first freshman in 20 years to snare a national title in the event and would be the fourth weight throw championship claimed by a Jayhawk since 2002. Dudarev will begin his day in the throws cage at 2 p.m., Saturday.
The Kansas men have claimed six NCAA team titles, three have which have come at the indoor championships. The most recent men’s indoor title came at the 1970 Championships held in Detroit. KU has also been close to hoisting the team championship trophy on several occasions with the men finishing in second-place five times, all from 1956-75. The men’s team’s highest finishes under Stanley Redwine (since 2001) were back-to-back eighth-place finishes in Redwine’s first two seasons in Lawrence, 2001 and 2002.
The KU women’s team has never claimed a team title at the NCAA indoor meet, but came close twice in 2012 and 2013, claiming back-to-back runner-up finishes at the indoor championships.
Kansas track & field head coach Stanley Redwine, along with associate head coach Tom Hays, took home Midwest Regional awards for the indoor track season it was announced Monday by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA). Redwine was named the region’s men’s head coach of the year, while Hays claimed the Midwest’s men’s assistant coach of the year award.
Redwine saw his Kansas program rise to No. 6 in the USTFCCCA weekly rankings, the highest ranking in KU history. The Jayhawks feature six athletes and one relay team who qualified for the NCAA Indoor Championships to be held this week in College Station, Texas. The figure marks the most qualifiers of any team in the Midwest region. The regional award is the third for Redwine but his first time being honored for the men’s team. He was named the Midwest’s Head Coach of the Year for the Kansas women’s team following both the 2012 and 2013 outdoor seasons.
Hays saw five of his vaulters finished the season ranked among the top-20 in the national rankings, all clearing 5.45 meters (17-10½) or better, with three of those Jayhawks earning NCAA Championship qualifying spots. It marked just the seventh time in the 52-year history of the indoor championships that more than two vaulters from a single school qualified for the NCAA meet. The Regional honor is the first for Hays since the current Regional Award format began in 2006.
The Kansas men’s track & field team continued its climb up the national rankings after the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) released its weekly top-25 on Feb. 20. The Jayhawks moved up two spots to check in at No. 6, marking the program’s highest ranking – indoors or outdoors – since the current weekly rankings system began in 2008.
The men find themselves ranked in the top-25 for the sixth-straight week this season. With the NCAA Indoor Championship up next on the docket, the Jayhawks sit as the second highest-ranked team among their conference foes. They are joined by three other Big 12 squads listed on this week’s chart, including No. 14 Texas, No. 16 Texas Tech and No. 20 Oklahoma State.
Kansas currently features nine athletes and a relay team that sit among the top-20 in their respective events. That number includes five Jayhawk pole vaulters, each of whom are ranked 15th or higher on this season’s NCAA vault chart.
For the second time in three weeks, freshman thrower Gleb Dudarev was named the Big 12’s Male Track & Field Athlete of the Week it was announced by the league office on Feb. 15. On Feb. 9, Dudarev moved to No. 2 in the NCAA ranks with a personal-best weight throw toss at the Tyson Invitational. It was the second weekly award of his young KU career and the third time a Jayhawk male has been honored this season.
The award marks the third time a Jayhawk has been honored this indoor season as the league’s male athlete of the week following pole vaulter Jake Albright’s selection on Jan. 24 and Dudarev’s first award on Feb. 1. The three KU honors are the most earned by a Jayhawk squad in a single season – indoors or outdoors – since the conference began giving weekly awards in 2002.
This year’s Kansas track & field roster includes several athletes who come from some impressive track & field family backgrounds:

  • Senior long jump specialist Sydney Conley is the daughter of Mike Conley, who won a gold medal in the triple jump at the 1992 Olympics while also breaking the world record in the event. Conley still holds the indoor American record in the triple jump (58-3¾). Sydney Conley is also the niece of KU track & field head coach Stanley Redwine.
  • Sophomore pole vaulter Paulo Benavides’ father, Paul, held the Mexican national pole vault record for 12 years.
  • Senior pole vaulter Nick Maestretti’s father, Lane, was two-time competitor in the decathlon at the Olympic Trials and at one time held the American record in the decathlon pole vault.
  • Junior Dorie Dalzell is the daughter of Greg Dalzell, who ran track at KU from 1981-86 and was a member of the Big Eight championship team. Dalzell’s grandfather, Art, also ran track and cross country at KU in 1953 where he was a member of the national championship cross country team.
  • Freshman Denzel Harper’s father, Derek, was a member of the Michigan track team and still holds the school’s indoor long jump record at 7.89 meters (25-10¾).
  • Freshman Ethan Donley’s mother, Julie, competed in the 800 meters at the 1992 Summer Olympic Games in Barcelona.

The 2017 edition of Kansas track & field once again boasts one of the most talented and deepest pole vault crews in the entire country. Tom Hays’ men’s and women’s crews are comprised of both seasoned veterans and promising underclassmen who are already making national waves early in the 2017 season.
On the men’s side, KU features five vaulters who sit inside the NCAA’s top-20, including seniors Jake Albright, Nick Maestretti, Nick Meyer and sophomores Paulo Benavides and Hussain Al Hizam, who moved toward the top of the national chart after stellar outings over the last six weeks. Albright finds himself at No. 6 in the nation following his 18-foot clearance in Lexington on Jan. 21. This is a good sign for the men’s vault group that has dominated on the conference and national level over the past decade. Kansas’ male vaulters have claimed first or second team All-America status eight times and have won 11 Big 12 titles since 2007.
This season also has been promising for the Jayhawks’ female vaulters. Junior Laura Taylor, redshirt sophomore Alexis Romero have already worked their way into the top-10 of Kansas’ all-time vault list during their first two years in Lawrence, with both sitting fifth among the Jayhawks’ female vaulters and 24th in the NCAA seasonal ranks. They are joined by freshman Andrea Willis, who has stormed onto the collegiate scene, already with a pair of event victories in her young KU career.
A host of Jayhawks entered the 2017 calendar year in good position to continue to move up Kansas’ all-time indoor record books and have done just that. Thirty-six Jayhawks (18 men, 18 women) and three relay teams on this year’s roster currently find themselves among the top-10 performers on the school’s all-time charts. Senior Strymar Livingston, senior Hannah Richardson, junior Sharon Lokedi and, most recently, the men’s 4×400-meter relay and women’s distance medley relay squads are the team’s active school-record holders with Livingston as KU’s fastest in the 600 yards, Richardson the 3,000-meter record, while Lokedi boasts the school’s top 5,000-meter mark. The Eldoret, Kenya product also finds herself among the top-five in the 3,000 meters, while Livingston ranks third on the school’s 800-meter list.
Senior Jake Albright moved to No. 4 on KU’s indoor pole vault chart after his 5.54 meter (18-2) clearance at the McCravy Memorial on Jan. 21. Senior Nick Maestretti and sophomore Hussain Al Hizam joined their teammate in becoming one of the Jayhawks’ top-10 vaulters indoors with their marks of 5.46 meters (17-11) last week at the Arkansas Qualifier, sitting them in a tie for ninth in program history.
Senior Whitney Adams finds herself in the top-six in three different indoor events, which includes the No. 3 times in both the 600 yards and 800 meters. Senior sprinter Zainab Sanni has worked her way into KU’s all-time top-five in both the 60 meters and the 200 meters and is joined by Sydney Conley, who ranks sixth on the 60-meter list as well as fourth on the long jump chart.
The Kansas track & field program has seen a major youth resurgence this year, especially on the women’s side. Both teams feature a combined 33 athletes who are donning the KU singlet for the first time, which includes nearly a third (16 of the 54) of the athletes currently listed on the women’s team roster. Sixteen newcomers also comprise the 60-person men’s roster.
Head coach Stanley Redwine has taken Kansas track & field to a level it hasn’t seen in quite some time during his first 16 years at the helm. Over Redwine’s tenure, he has seen 110 indoor and outdoor Big 12 Champions, 156 First Team All-Americans and 15 NCAA Champions come through his program at KU.
Redwine’s teams have also collected a combined seven top-10 NCAA team finishes, including coaching the 2013 women’s team to the program’s first National Championship at the NCAA outdoor meet.
The 31-year indoor home facility for the Kansas track & field team, Anschutz Pavilion, has hosted dozens of collegiate and high school meets since 1984. In August of 2011, the facility got a major facelift when a new six-lane track (eight lanes on the sprint straightaway) was installed, which replaced the original track installed in 1984.
Both the men’s and women’s teams in 2017 will feature a large batch of home-grown talent as the majority of the athletes on each roster hail from the Sunflower State. Twenty-six KU men and 23 Jayhawk women call Kansas home, with the next-most prolific state, Texas, boasting a combined 13 natives.
Kansas also has a handful of international athletes. On the men’s side, senior thrower Mitch Cooper hails from Queensland, Australia, senior Daniel Koech (Kenya), junior Nicolai Ceban (Moldova), sophomore Hussain Al Hizam (Saudi Arabia) and Ivan Henry (Jamaica) welcome in international freshman Gleb Dudarev (Belarus). For the women, Sharon Lokedi has continued the KU tradition of bringing in some of the top international talent in the NCAA. The junior distance specialist Sharon Lokedi calls Eldoret, Kenya home.
Rock Chalk Park, the home of Kansas track & field, will play host to the 2017 USA Track & Field National Junior Olympic Championships later this summer. The meet, which will be held in Lawrence July 23-30, 2017, will welcome the nation’s top athletes between the ages 7-18.
USA Track & Field youth chairs selected Lawrence over Des Moines, Iowa, Dec. 5, 2015 at their convention in Houston. The bid for the event was made in conjunction with eXplore Lawrence, the city’s tourism bureau. Kansas athletics director Sheahon Zenger, associate athletic director Doug Banks and head coach Stanley Redwine made a special trip to Houston to assist in the presentation made by Sanner of eXplore Lawrence. Rock Chalk Park opened in the spring of 2014 and has played host to the Kansas Relays three times, one of the largest and longest-running high school and collegiate meets in the Midwest, and is set to be the site of Big 12 Outdoor Championship in May of 2017. The Junior Olympics will be the first USATF event held at Jayhawks’ three-year-old facility.
The Jayhawks will now turn their attention to the outdoor portion of the 2017 campaign. Kansas is slated to open the outdoor season March 29-April 1 in Austin, Texas at the Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays.
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