Jayhawks set for NCAA Indoor Championships
|NCAA INDOOR CHAMPIONSHIPS|
|March 8-9, 2019|
LAWRENCE, Kan. – The Kansas men’s and women’s track & field teams travel to Birmingham, Alabama, for the NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships at the Birmingham CrossPlex, March 8-9. The Jayhawks have a total of nine entries in eight different events at the meet.
FOLLOWING THE NCAA CHAMPIONSHIPS
The NCAA Championships will be aired live on ESPN3 via WatchESPN.com starting at 5:30 p.m. CST on Friday, March 8 and starting at 4 p.m. CST on Saturday, March 9. A re-air of the championship will take place starting at 9 p.m. CDT on Sunday, March 10 on ESPN2 and again Monday, March 11 starting at 9 p.m. CDT on ESPNU. Live results from the meet will be available through Flash Results at FlashResults.com.
LAST YEAR AT THE NCAA INDOOR CHAMPIONSHIPS
The Jayhawks had 10 entries at the 2018 NCAA Indoor Championships, and the KU action was highlighted by Hussain Al Hizam, who won the second men’s indoor pole vault national championship in KU history, and the first in 45 years. Al Hizam won the title with a clearance of 5.70 meters (18-8.25 ft.), breaking the KU school record, Texas A&M’s Gilliam Indoor Stadium facility record and his own Saudi Arabian national record along the way.
Other highlights from the 2018 NCAA Championships include Sharon Lokedi earning two First Team All-America honors in the 3,000 and 5,000 meters, and Bryce Hoppel, Barden Adams and Laura Taylor all earning First Team All-America honors as well.
For the first time in school history, both of the KU teams finished in the top-20 at the same NCAA Indoor Championships. The KU men’s and women’s teams each finished in a tie for 17th in 2018.
KANSAS MEN NO. 13, WOMEN NO. 16
The Kansas men’s and women’s teams are in prime position heading into the NCAA Indoor Championships. In the USTFCCCA Pre-Championships rankings, the KU men ranked No. 13, while the Jayhawk women checked in at No. 16.
KU WINS SIX TITLES AT BIG 12 INDOOR CHAMPIONSHIPS
The Kansas track & field teams are coming off a successful meet at the Big 12 Indoor Championships, where six titles were won by Jayhawks.
Senior Sharon Lokedi picked up crowns in both the 5,000 and 3,000-meter runs, Bryce Hoppel and Marleena Eubanks swept the 800-meter races while also breaking school records, Gleb Dudarev won his second conference weight throw crown and the men’s distance medley relay team of Ethan Donley, Cody Johnson, Bryce Hoppel and Dylan Hodgson took home the Big 12 title in a surprise finish at the end of the first day of competition.
LOKEDI NAMED BIG 12 WOMEN’S PERFORMER OF THE YEAR
Kansas senior Sharon Lokedi was named the 2019 Big 12 Indoor Track & Field Women’s Performer of the Year, which marks the second-consecutive year the Eldoret, Kenya native took home the honor. Lokedi’s win was largely in part to her earning the women’s high point award at the Big 12 Championship and being a part of two school records (5,000m and DMR) during the course of the year.
HOPPEL, EUBANKS TAKE HOME REGIONAL HONORS
Kansas cleaned house with the USTFCCCA Midwest Region track awards, announced Friday, March 1. Middle-distance runners Bryce Hoppel and Marleena Eubanks were named the Men’s and Women’s Midwest Region Track Athletes of the Year, respectively, after both athletes broke the 800-meter school records at the Big 12 Championships.
Hoppel boasted a school record time of 1:46.84 to win the Big 12 title and become the No. 3 performer in the NCAA this season, and Eubanks broke both the school record and meet record at the conference showcase, clocking in at 2:03.99, which ranks No. 5 in the NCAA this season.
BREAKING DOWN THE ENTRIES AT THE NCAA CHAMPIONSHIPS
MARLEENA EUBANKS – 800 METERS
Senior Marleena Eubanks advanced to her first NCAA championship in the 800-meter run. Eubanks saw success during her junior season, wherein she became the third-fastest performer in Kansas women’s track history in the 800 meters and advanced to the NCAA West Preliminary Round.
Her senior indoor season has been a wildly successful one, where she broke the Kansas school record and the Big 12 meet record in the 800-meter run on her way to a conference title, and she was also a member of the school record-breaking distance medley relay team.
Krisi Kloster is the only Jayhawk to earn First Team All-America honors in the 800 meters at the NCAA Indoor Championships, finishing eighth in 1994 and winning the national championship in 1996.
BRYCE HOPPEL – 800 METERS
Junior Bryce Hoppel returns to the NCAA Indoor Championships for the second-straight year and his third NCAA Championships appearance overall, having also qualified for the NCAA Outdoor Championships in 2018. Hoppel earned First Team All-America honors at both NCAA Championships in 2018, and is hoping to add a national title to his resume, coming into the NCAA Indoor Championships with the No. 3 time in the nation.
Hoppel’s season-best time came at the Big 12 Indoor Championship, where he won his second-straight conference indoor crown and broke the Kanas school record, clocking in at 1:46.84.
A top-eight finish for Hoppel at the indoor championships would make him the first Jayhawk in history to earn two First Team All-America honors in the event at NCAA Indoors. Jayhawk legend Jim Ryun earned a First Team nod in 1967 (880-yard run), and Jeremy Mims, who was the previous school record holder prior to Hoppel’s historic run, earned First Team honors in 2005.
SHARON LOKEDI – 5,000 METERS
Senior Sharon Lokedi will run the 5,000 meters at the NCAA Indoor Championships, her final run as a Jayhawk, as she does not have eligibility remaining in outdoor track & field or cross country. Lokedi is one of the most decorated women’s athletes in Kansas history, having earned 12 total Big 12 titles, nine All-America honors, five Big 12 Performer of the Year awards and the 2018 NCAA Outdoor national championship in the 10,000-meter run.
Lokedi earned two First Team All-America honors at the 2018 NCAA Indoor Championships (5,000m and 3,000m), and enters the 2019 championships with the No. 6 time in NCAA history in the 5,000 meters, in which she broke her own school record with a time of 15:15.47. The time is No. 3 in the NCAA this season.
A win from Lokedi would be the first 5,000-meter run indoor title in school history, and a top-eight finish would be Lokedi’s third and the program’s third First Team All-America honor in the event.
WOMEN’S DISTANCE MEDLEY RELAY
The Kansas women’s distance medley relay team of Ally Ryan, Nicole Montgomery, Marleena Eubanks and Sharon Lokedi qualified for the national championship at the Alex Wilson Invitational (Feb. 16), breaking a one-year-old school record with a time of 10:58.31. This marks the third-straight trip to the NCAA Indoor Championships for the KU women’s DMR team, finishing ninth in 2018 and seventh in 2017 to earn First Team All-America honors.
The KU women’s DMR has also earned First Team All-America honors at the NCAA Indoor Championships in 1996 and 2010.
RYLEE ANDERSON – HIGH JUMP
Freshman Rylee Anderson makes her first trip to the NCAA Indoor Championships as the No. 4 performer in program history in the high jump. Anderson cleared 1.82 meters (5-11.5 ft.) at the Big 12 Championship to finish second with her season-best performance.
Historically, the women’s high jump at KU has earned three First Team All-America honors, but Anderson would be the first to do so since Ann O’Connor in 1984.
ANDREA WILLIS – POLE VAULT
Junior Andrea Willis will make her first appearance at the NCAA Indoor Championship, but earned a trip to the 2018 Outdoor Championship and went on to receive an All-America Honorable Mention nod in the pole vault. The Colorado Springs, Colorado native vaulted a career-best 4.37 meters (14-4 ft.) earlier this season to move into No. 3 on the KU women’s all-time performers list.
Willis will look to become the 10th indoor First Team All-American in school history in the event, with former teammate Laura Taylor earning a First Team nod in 2018. Jayhawks Amy Linnen (2005) and Natalia Bartnovskaya (2013) have won the NCAA Indoor Championship in the event previously.
HUSSAIN AL HIZAM – POLE VAULT
Senior Hussain Al Hizam is making his second appearance at the NCAA Indoor Championships and his fourth appearance at an NCAA Championships meet after winning the indoor national championship in the pole vault a year ago and earning First Team All-America honors at the NCAA outdoor meet in 2018 and 2017.
The Jubail, Saudi Arabia native hopes to continue a long line of success for Kansas men’s vaulters at the indoor national meet and will try to win the third indoor national title in the event in school history and the 24th First Team All-America honor.
Last year at the NCAA Indoor Championships, Al Hizam became the first Kansas indoor national champion in the pole vault since 1973, when Terry Porter won the event. Furthermore, Jayhawks Jan Johnson and Jordan Scott won outdoor national titles in 1940 and 2010, respectively.
ZACH BRADFORD – POLE VAULT
Freshman Zach Bradford is making his first appearance at an NCAA championship event. Bradford’s season-best mark is 5.63 meters (18-5.5 ft.), set at the Tyson Invitational in February, which is a Kansas freshman record and tied for seventh in the nation this season. There have been 23 Indoor First Team All-Americans in school history.
GLEB DUDAREV – WEIGHT THROW
Redshirt sophomore Gleb Dudarev will make his second appearance at the NCAA Indoor Championships after earning a First Team All-America honor in the weight throw in 2017. Dudarev is no stranger to the national stage, as this will mark his fourth trip to an NCAA Championship event, having also qualified for the outdoor championships in 2017 and 2018 in the hammer throw.
Dudarev’s season-best throw of 23.29 meters (76-5 ft.), which won him the Big 12 title in the event, ranks fifth in the NCAA this season and is the No. 3 mark in KU history.
A top-eight finish for Dudarev at the indoor championships would be the 11th First Team All-America honor in the event in Kansas men’s history.
LOKEDI’S WILD FRIDAY
Sharon Lokedi was scheduled to run at the 2019 Millrose Games on Saturday, February 9, but after running a five-mile base run the morning before the race, she found out her flight to New York was canceled. After some time debating, the Kansas coaches decided to forego her trip to New York, not wanting to risk her not getting to race at all with flights being canceled due to weather. With the decision, Lokedi was driven 3.5 hours to Ames, Iowa that night to compete in the 3,000 meters at the ISU Classic. Despite having run five miles that morning and riding in a car for so long, Lokedi was still able to record the No. 3 time in program history in the event that night.
HOPPEL OFF TO FAMILIAR START
In 2018, Bryce Hoppel kicked off his indoor season with wins in both the one-mile run and the 800-meter run at the KU-KSU-WSU Triangular, and went on to win five of the first six individual races he competed in. The only race he didn’t win in that six-race stretch was the prelims of the 800-meter run at the Big 12 Indoor Championship – which he then went on to win the conference title in the event. This season, Hoppel also started the season with wins in the 800 meters and mile at the KU-KSU-WSU Triangular and went on to win the 800 at the Texas Tech Open. He kept the streak alive with a win in the in 800 at the ISU Classic and at the Big 12 Championship, where he won the conference title. There was no preliminary run in the 800 at the Big 12 Championship, so Hoppel’s current win-streak sits at six races. He will look to continue that streak in the prelims at the NCAA Indoor Championships, then eventually in the final as he goes for a national title.
FRESHMAN GOT UPS
Freshman Rylee Anderson is quickly moving up the Kansas women’s high jump charts. Anderson was undefeated through her first four collegiate meets, but suffered her first defeat at the Tyson Invitational. The “loss” was anything but a loss for the rookie, though, as she recorded the same mark as the winner, which happened to be a personal-best on her way to a second-place finish in the invitational section of the event. Anderson cleared 1.80 meters (5-10.75 ft.) to become the No. 4 performer in KU women’s history and the height is No. 9 on the all-time performers list at Kansas. The Longmont, Colorado native tied the KU women’s freshman record, set by Ann O’Connor in 1985, of 1.82 meters (5-11.5 ft.), with a second-place finish at the 2019 Big 12 Indoor Championships. Anderson hopes to break that freshman record and earn the first First Team All-America nod in the high jump for the Kansas women’s prgram since 1984.
DUDAREV NAMED BIG 12 CO-MEN’S ATHLETE OF THE WEEK
Kansas redshirt sophomore Gleb Dudarev was named Big 12 Co-Men’s Athlete of the Week on February 6. The weekly honor marks the fifth of Dudarev’s career and comes after his season debut at the Texas Tech Open in which he won the weight throw with a mark of 23.08 meters (75-8.75 ft.). The throw is currently the No. 4 mark in the NCAA this season and No. 4 on the KU all-time performance list.
WILLIS CLIMBING VAULT CHARTS
Junior Andrea Willis continues to climb the Kansas all-time charts in the women’s pole vault. The Colorado Springs, Colorado product moved up to No. 3 on the KU all-time performers list and notched the fifth-best mark in program history with a clearance of 4.37 meters (14-4 ft.) in a win at the Texas Tech Open. Willis needs to add just 3.25 inches to her vault to move into a tie with Kansas alum Natalia Bartnovskaya for the school record of 4.45 meters (14-7.25 ft.).
PAIR OF VAULTERS BREAK ANSCHUTZ PAVILION RECORD
Senior Hussain Al Hizam and freshman Zach Bradford broke the Anschutz Sports Pavilion facility record in the men’s pole vault at the Jayhawk Classic on January 26. Al Hizam and Bradford cleared 5.58 meters (18-3.75 ft.), bettering the previous record of 5.57 meters (18-3.25 ft.) set by Jake Albright in December of 2017.
KANSAS WOMEN POST RECORD-SETTING SEMESTER IN THE CLASSROOM
The Kansas women’s track & field team were one of four KU teams to record a team-best semester in the classroom, leading to a department-record 3.11 all-sports combined GPA in the Fall 2018 semester. The KU women’s track & field team recorded a program-best 4.42 GPA for the Fall semester. The Kansas men’s team was able to notch a 2.91 GPA.
LOKEDI SHATTERS SCHOOL RECORD, RECORDS NO. 6 MARK IN NCAA HISTORY
Kansas senior Sharon Lokedi got off to a hot start in her final season competing for the Jayhawks. In her first and only 5,000-meter race so far this indoor season, Lokedi shattered her own school record in the 5,000-meter run at the Boston University/Sharon Colyear-Danville Season Opener in Boston, Massachusetts on December 1. The Eldoret, Kenya native was the third-place finisher in the race, but clocked in at 15:15.47, which proved to be the No. 6 all-time mark in NCAA history. Her time proved to be nearly 25 seconds faster than her previous school record of 15:39.05, set last indoor season at the same meet. The raced boasted four of the top-seven all-time marks in NCAA history, with New Mexico’s Ednah Kurgat recording the No. 3 all-time mark of 15:14.78, UNM’s Weini Kelati posting the No. 5 time (15:15.24) and Boise State’s Allie Ostrander notching the No. 7 mark in NCAA history (15:16.38).
REDWINE SIGNS NO. 3 MEN’S CLASS
According to Track & Field News, 19th-year head coach Stanley Redwine’s 2018 KU men’s recruiting class is the No. 3 signing class is the nation. Coming in behind Georgia and Texas A&M, the Jayhawks made the top-5 for the first time ever.
Highlighting the recruiting class is Zach Bradford, a pole vaulter out of Bloomington, Illinois, who represented the USA at the 2018 IAAF World U20 Championships in Tampere, Finland, where he earned a silver medal. Bradford posted the No. 8 all-time high school pole vault mark, clearing 18-2.5 ft. his senior season.
Also highlighting the signing class are Treyvon Ferguson, a triple jumper hailing from Hershey, Pennsylvania and Patrick Larrison, a thrower from Moore, Oklahoma.
The Jayhawks start the outdoor season with the Herm Wilson Invitational in Wichita, Kansas (March 21-23) and the Emporia State Spring Invitational (March 23).
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