Jayhawks Set to Host 89th Kansas Relays Presented by Subway
LAWRENCE, Kan. – The Kansas men’s and women’s track & field teams return to host one of the most historic meets in the U.S., the Kansas Relays Presented by Subway, this weekend. The 89th installment of the meet will begin on Wednesday, April 20 and continue through Saturday, April 23. A collection of the nation’s top high school and collegiate athletes will be in action at Kansas’ home facility, Rock Chalk Park, during the four-day event. Fans will be admitted for free for the Wednesday and Thursday sessions and will be able to buy a tickets ranging from $5-$15 for the Friday and Saturday sessions. Saturday afternoon’s scored collegiate quadrangular will also be televised on Time Warner Cable SportsChannel as well as ESPN3 beginning at 4:30 pm (CT).
- This weekend, Kansas track & field will see over 90 of its athletes compete inside its home facility for the 89th edition of the Kansas Relays. The Jayhawks feature 35 student-athletes who hail from the state of Kansas and three Lawrence natives who will be in action in front of family and friends this weekend.
- The Kansas Relays has seen several of the best performances in program history. Five current school records have been broken at the Jayhawks’ historic home meet, most recently Nickesha Anderson’s 11.23 in the 100 meters at the 2008 KU Relays.
- Last time out, the Kansas track & field squads took part in a pair of meets in Arizona, the Mesa Classic and the Sun Angel Classic. Jayhawks achieved 24 career-bests over the course of their two-day stay in Tempe.
- After the first two weeks of the outdoor season, nine Jayhawks and a relay team find themselves ranked among the top-25 of the NCAA rankings in their respective events.
- If the season were to end today, 21 Jayhawks (11 men, 10 women) and two relay teams would qualify to the NCAA West Preliminary meet by way of their top-48 ranking in the Region. The West Preliminary will be hosted at Rock Chalk Park, May 26-28.
- Junior Whitney Adams came within an eyelash of the school record in the 800 meters at the Sun Angel Classic. The St. Charles, Missouri, native completed the half-mile race in 2:05.43 to take fifth overall and come painfully close to tying Kristi Kloster’s 22-year-old school record in the event, as she was only .01 seconds behind Kloster’s clocking of 2:05.42.
- Junior Strymar Livingston turned in the best 800-meter performance by a KU male in over a decade. The Brooklyn product posted a final time of 1:49.47, the fastest by a Jayhawk since 2005. The junior now sits second in the conference’s yearly standings and among the 20 fastest in the NCAA’s West Region.
- Senior Daina Levy got the Jayhawks’ weekend in Arizona started on a high note with another great hammer throw outing in the Sun Angel Classic. Levy unleashed a toss of 65.36 meters (214’5″) to claim a third-place finish and the highest by a collegian.
- In her first collegiate track meet, javelin specialist Shaylyn Stallbaumer wasted little time inserting her name into the all-time Kansas rankings en route to a victory at the Mesa Classic Friday. Stallbaumer threw the spear 48.48 meters (159’1″), which moved her to fourth on KU’s all-time javelin chart and into the top-30 of the NCAA rankings.
WELCOME BACK TO ROCK CHALK PARK
For the third year, the Kansas track & field team will compete in its state-of-the-art home facility this week when it plays host to the Kansas Relays at Rock Chalk Park. The facility, which completed construction 1in the spring of 2014, has already been touted as one of the nation’s top track & field facilities as it has attained the prestigious IAAF Class I status. The $39-million facility houses the Kansas track, soccer and softball teams. The track portion of the facility has just over 6,100 permanent seats with the ability to bring in an additional 4,000 temporary seats for larger events. Rock Chalk Park is already set to host one of NCAA track & field’s top events later this spring with the 2016 NCAA West Preliminary meet.
The track surface may be considered the crown jewel of the entire complex. The surface at Rock Chalk Park, installed by Beynon Sports Surfaces, underwent in-situ testing for the Class I certification process. With the IAAF’s approval, the track is capable of hosting meets of an international level and is one of only five facilities in the U.S. with Class I status.
In addition to the track, there is approximately 90,000 square feet of locker rooms, offices, official rooms, training room and athletic training facilities located under the east stands.
JAYHAWKS TO WATCH
DAINA LEVY – The senior is one of a handful of Jayhawks who have a true chance to compete for a spot in the 2016 Olympics in Rio. She has earned First Team All-America status in the hammer throw and the weight throw in the past year, and has established herself as one of the top throwers in the NCAA. She’s already the 3rd-ranked hammer thrower in the NCAA this season after a win at the Sun Angel Classic on April 8. Levy, who is of Jamaican nationality, is in search of a target mark of 71 meters (232-11 ft.) which is the Olympic A-Standard in the hammer throw. If she can achieve that mark between now and the end of July, who will likely punch her ticket to Rio. Her career best in the event is 69.02 meters (226-5 ft.). Levy is set to take part in the hammer throw on Friday at 3 p.m.
WHITNEY ADAMS – The 5-0 ft., 800-meter specialist will never be the biggest runner in the race, but there’s a good chance she’ll be the fastest. Adams came within .01 seconds of tying the 21-year-old school record in the 800 meters two weeks ago at the Sun Angel Classic in Arizona and will have the record in her sites when she hits the Rock Chalk Park track this weekend. Adams is also scheduled compete in the quadrangular 800m at 6:24 p.m., Saturday, as well as the 4×400-meter relay at 7:53 p.m.
SHARON LOKEDI – The sophomore is enjoying one of the best seasons by a KU female distance runner after achieving All-America status during both the cross country and indoor track campaigns. She is scheduled to compete in her first race since shattering the school 10,000-meter record on April 1 this weekend. Lokedi will compete in her first 5,000m race of the year on Saturday at 7:09 p.m.
MITCH COOPER – The Australian has inserted his name among the already impressive history of Kansas throwers. Cooper ranks among the top-15 discus throwers in the NCAA as he vies to earn a spot on the Australian Olympic team this summer. Cooper will be in the men’s quadrangular discus on Saturday at 4 p.m.
STRYMAR LIVINGSTON – Livingston transferred to Kansas last fall after an incredibly successful two years at Iowa Western Community College, where a claimed the 2015 NJCAA 800-meter title and earned All-America accolades seven times. He has carried that success into his first year in Lawrence, most recently posting the fastest 800-meter time by a KU male in over a decade two weeks ago in Tempe, Arizona. Livingston will run in a competitive race at Rock Chalk Park this week for the first time since claiming the 800-meter title at last year’s Kansas Relays with a facility record time of 1:50.54. Livingston will look to defend his KU Relays title when he toes the line for the 800 meters at 6:33 p.m. Saturday.
CASEY BOWEN – Bowen leads a strong Kansas pole vault contingent this weekend at the KU Relays. A two-time Big 12 Champion, Bowen will look for a big clearance in his first meet of the year and final KU Relays of his Jayhawk career. Bowen is a first team All-American and sits among the top-10 on Kansas’ all-time vaulting list.
The Jayhawks will return to their home track next week when they host the Rock Chalk Classic on Friday, April 30. Kansas will welcome in Big 12 rivals Kansas State and Oklahoma State as well as Minnesota, Oral Roberts, UMKC and Wichita State. The first events from Rock Chalk Park are slated to kick off at 11 a.m., and will conclude at 4:34 p.m.
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