Jayhawks storm back to claim Sunflower Triangular title


WICHITA, Kan. – After trailing by nearly 30 points midway through the meet, the Kansas track & field teams tallied victories in nine of the final 20 events to win the Sunflower Triangular title in come-from-behind fashion over in-state rivals Kansas State and Wichita State Thursday night inside the Heskett Center. The Jayhawks, who won the event for the second-straight year, finished the meet with 242 points, outpacing Kansas State (231) by 11 points and Wichita State (217) by 25 points.
The men’s 4×400-meter relay put the finishing touches on an impressive Kansas comeback as the Jayhawks ran to victory in the meet’s final event. The team of sophomore Ivan Henry, junior Isaiah Cole, junior Jaron Hartley and senior Strymar Livingston once again turned in one of the NCAA’s fastest times in 2017 and put an emphatic final stamp on KU’s win over its Sunflower State rivals.
The quartet went largely unchallenged for the majority of the race after Henry and Cole got the Jayhawks out to a strong start through the first 800 meters. Hartley and Livingston then extended their team’s lead over the final half as the anchor, Livingston, kept the other two teams at arm’s length and brought the baton across the finish in 3:14.81. The time, which outpaced runner-up Wichita State by nearly three seconds, moved the Jayhawks into the No. 5 spot on the latest NCAA DI rankings and second among Big 12 relay squads.
“The thing we as coaches always push is that we have to have a total team effort, sometimes you have people not perform as well as they want and you need other people to pick up for them, and I thought today was a great example of that. We still want to be a team that’s good across the board every week, and we know we still have work to do, but I think we’re heading in the right direction.”

  • Head coach Stanley Redwine on the effort his team showed Thursday night.

“I’m just thankful that we were able to win the meet and that everyone performed their best. It’s great to win this for the second time but we need to build off this and continue to take care of business. If we can do that, I think we’ll have many more meets like this.”

  • Redwine on claiming the Sunflower Triangular title for the second-consecutive year.

* The Jayhawks won nine of the 20 running events to close out the meet, aiding in their comeback that saw the team overcome a 28-point deficit following the first 12 events and end up winning the event by 11 points.
* Junior sprinter Jaron Hartley turned in the fastest 60-meter clocking by a Jayhawk in nearly a decade with is career-best performance Thursday. The Houston native leaned across the finish in 6.87 seconds, shaving .08 seconds off his previous best. The time marked the quickest mark by a Jayhawk since Aaron Thompson posted 6.75 at the KU-KSU-MU Triangular in 2006. Hartley’s time also ranks him fifth among Big 12 sprinters thus far in the 2017 season.
* Sophomore Nicole Montgomery defended her Triangular 600-yard title with another stellar outing in the event. The Colorado Springs, Colorado product outpaced teammate Wumi Omare by three seconds to tally the victory, crossing the finish in 1:22.33. Montgomery’s time is the fastest in the NCAA to this point in the 2017 campaign.
 Junior Nick Giusti* Junior Nick Giusti had a career outing in the 60-meter hurdles en route to his first win as a Jayhawk in the event. Giusti sprinted through the finish in 8.18, nearly .3 seconds faster than his previous best. He out-leaned Wichita State’s A.J. Stevens by .04 seconds to pick up seven points for the Jayhawks. Giusti now sits at No. 8 on the Jayhawks’ all-time 60-meter list.
* The women’s 4×400-meter squad remained undefeated this season with another victory Thursday. The team of Mariah Kuykendoll, Whitney Adams, Nicole Montgomery and Adriana Newell combined for another time that ranks among the fastest this year. Montgomery overtook the Kansas State squad on the third leg and never looked back, handing off to Newell who anchored the team home in 3:45.07.
* Michael Melgares used a strong final kick in the 3,000 meters to tally his first win in the Crimson and Blue and cement the Jayhawks’ second-straight Triangular victory. The redshirt freshman separated himself from the rest of the pack midway through the race and never looked back, completing the 1.8 mile race in a new personal best clocking of 8:26.95 and topping the rest of the field by nearly four seconds. Melgares’ win put the Jayhawks ahead by 4 points entering the final two events of the evening, a lead they would not relinquish.
* Junior Barden Adams remained undefeated in the triple jump this season after picking up another win Thursday. Adams soared to a mark of 15.32 meters (50-3¼) on his second trip down the runway, a mark that bested the field by 18 inches. The West Orange, New Jersey native also turned in a runner-up performance and a personal record in the long jump. Adams hit 7.41 meters (24-3¾), again on his second attempt, to rewrite his career best by more than seven inches.
* Freshman Chase Pennewell collected his first win as a Jayhawk with a strong effort in the pole vault. Pennewell cleared a season-best height of 5.10 meters (16-8¾). Five Kansas vaulters have now posted at least one vault over five meters or better in 2017.
The Jayhawk pole vault squad will be in action this Saturday, January 12, at the Martin Luther King Jr. Invitational in Albuquerque, N.M. The first events are slated to begin at 11 a.m. (CT). The Kansas track & field teams will then journey to SEC country when they hit the road for the Rod McCravy Invitational, hosted by the University of Kentucky. The meet will be held Jan. 20-21 inside Nutter Field House in Lexington. Keep track of all the Jayhawk performances by logging on to KUAthletics.com for complete updates and results and follow through Twitter at @KUTrack.
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