|Kansas • Kansas St. • Wichita St. Triangular
||Thursday, January 12
||Field – 12 p.m. | Track – 5 p.m.
Notes Meet Notes
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Kansas track & field will take on in-state rivals Kansas State and Wichita State in the KU-KSU-WSU Triangular Thursday, January 12. Each squad will be scored based on its top-two finishers in each event with the winner being announced following the day’s events. The meet will kick off with field events at 12 p.m., while the track events will start at 5 p.m.
- The Jayhawks will meet in-state rivals Kansas State and Wichita State in a Triangular meet format Thursday at WSU’s Heskett Center for the third installment of the modern series. Last year, the Jayhawks claimed victory with 254 points, 20 points ahead of second-place Kansas State.
- Kansas will see 26 athletes compete on both the men’s and women’s sides Thursday, with only two athletes per school able to score in each event. At the meet last season, Kansas saw winners in 12 events across the men’s and women’s teams as well as 14 runners-up.
- The Jayhawks feature 17 athletes and three relays who currently sit among the top-25 of the NCAA rankings in their respective events. This number includes five Jayhawks who have boasted marks that have them inside the top-5 of the national standings.
- Senior Strymar Livingston is expected to compete in the 600 yards in Wichita Thursday. This will mark his first 600-yard race since his school-record run at the Big 12 Indoor Championships last February. Livingston is the KU record holder in the event with his time of 1:08.06.
- Junior Barden Adams will return to the long jump and triple jump runway this week six days removed from career-best outings in both events at the Bill Easton Classic. Adams currently sits seventh among NCAA DI triple jumpers after his leap of 15.60 meters (51-2¼), which marked the best mark by a KU triple jumper since 2010.
- Senior Whitney Adams is scheduled to compete in the 800 meters at the Triangular Thursday. The St. Charles, Missouri native holds two of the top-five fastest indoor 800-meter times in program history, as well as the KU outdoor record in the event. Her career best in the event on an indoor track is 2:06.32, posted at last year’s Big 12 Indoor Championship.
- The Kansas women’s 4×400-meter relay squad is undefeated in its first two meets this season, which included a victory over this week’s foes, Kansas State and Wichita State, at the Bill Easton Classic on Jan. 6. The Jayhawks currently hold the nation’s fourth-fastest time at 3:42.89, which also is the new Anschutz facility record.
- Kansas currently boasts seven pole vaulters (four men, three women) who have moved into the top-15 of the NCAA’s pole vault rankings. The number includes seniors Nick Maestretti and Nick Meyer and sophomore Paulo Benavides, who are all tied for the NCAA lead with their season-best clearances of 5.34 meters (17-6¼) last week.
This weekend’s meet marks the third-straight year Kansas, Kansas State and Wichita State will meet in their current triangular series. Last year’s event marked the second triangular the Jayhawks competed in since Kansas, Kansas State and Missouri ended their annual Tri-Meet in 2006. The three schools competed in 17-straight triangulars from 1990-2006, with the Kansas men winning four of those encounters and the Jayhawk women winning one.
The Jayhawks, Wildcats and Shockers will battle for state supremacy and the triangular trophy with the program’s men’s and women’s squads being scored collectively to determine a winner. The scoring scale will award points to only the top-two finishers per school in each event. The scale will award seven points to the winner, five points to the runner-up and 4-3-2-1 points until all schools in the event have been represented.
Last year, Jayhawk victories in 12 events helped propel the Kansas to a dominant win at the second annual Sunflower State Triangular hosted at the Jayhawks’ home facility of Anschutz Pavilion. The men’s and women’s teams combined to score 254 points to finish ahead of rivals Kansas State (234 points) and Wichita State (203 points).
The two squads Kansas will be competing against this week each have strong ties to the Jayhawk track program. Kansas State head coach Cliff Rovelto earned a B.S. from Kansas in 1978 and was a graduate assistant for the KU men’s program from 1981-83. After earning his M.S. from KU in 1983, he became an assistant for the women’s program from 1983-86. He was also the interim head coach for the Kansas women in 1987. Rovelto coached eight All-Americans and seven Big Eight champions during his time with the Jayhawks. He also saw 24 school records broken during his tenure. From 1988-89, he was the assistant coach for jumps and combined events. He started at K-State in the fall of 1988.
On the Wichita State side, Director of Track & Field Steve Rainbolt also holds a B.S. from Kansas, graduating in 1980. Rainbolt was a five-year member of the Jayhawk track team from 1976-80 and at one time held the school record in the decathlon as well as the indoor high jump.
Within its 2017 men’s and women’s rosters, Kansas returns four All-Americans, including senior long jumper Sydney Conley, who has garnered First Team All-America honors three times. Junior Sharon Lokedi is also back for the women after a breakthrough season in 2016, one which saw her claim Big 12 titles in the indoor 5,000 meters and outdoor 10,000 meters as well as First Team All-America status in both events. The KU duo is included on a women’s team that returns over 80 percent of the scorers who led the squad to fifth and fourth-place finishes at last year’s Big 12 indoor and outdoor meets.
On the men’s side, pole vaulter Jake Albright returns for his final year in the Crimson and Blue looking for his second conference championship in the event and leads perhaps the deepest pole vault group in the nation. Senior Mitch Cooper and junior Nicolai Ceban head up an impressive throws group primed for success in 2017. Cooper is the Big 12’s reigning discus champion and a two-time Second Team All-American, while Ceban will look to improve upon his 15th-place finish in the shot put at last year’s NCAA Indoor Championships.
Both the KU men’s and women’s rosters are full of new faces as nearly a third of the teams are made up of newcomers.
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 four vaulters who sit inside the NCAA’s top-five, including seniors Nick Maestretti, Nick Meyer and sophomore Paulo Benavides, who are tied for the national lead after stellar outings at the Bill Easton Classic on Jan. 6. Senior Jake Albright finds himself at No. 5 in the nation following the first month of his final season in Lawrence. 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 looks promising for the Jayhawks’ female vaulters. Junior Laura Taylor and 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. They are joined by freshman Andrea Willis, who has stormed onto the collegiate scene, already with a pair of event victories and the nation’s No. 8-ranked mark of the 2017 season.
RECORD BOOK WATCH
A host of Jayhawks enter the 2017 calendar year in good position to continue to move up Kansas’ all-time indoor record books. Twenty five Jayhawks (9 men, 16 women) on this year’s roster currently find themselves among the top-10 performers on the school’s all-time charts. Senior Strymar Livingston and junior Sharon Lokedi are the team’s lone two active school-record holders as Livingston is KU’s fastest in the 600 yards, 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.
Most recently, junior Barden Adams inserted his name on the men’s indoor triple jump chart, posting a personal-best leap of 15.60 meters (51-2¼) at the Bill Easton Classic on Jan. 6. It was the best mark by a KU triple jumper since 2010.
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 will see a major youth resurgence this year, especially on the women’s side. Both teams feature a combined 33 athletes who will don 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.
Several of those newcomers are expected to be in action for Kansas on Thursday. For the men Roy Bay, Isaiah Cole, Ethan Donley, Chris Gleghorn, Denzel Harper, Cody Johnson, and Chase Pennewell are scheduled to suit up in the Crimson and Blue. The women’s team will see Chloe Akin-Otiko, Jedah Caldwell, Rachel Clowers, Callie Hicks, Mariah Kuykendoll and Allie Tweitmeyer all competing in their first or second meet as Jayhawks.
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.
AT HOME IN ANSCHUTZ
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 (Jamiaca) welcome in international freshman Gleb Dudarev (Moldova). 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 TO HOST 2017 JUNIOR OLYMPICS
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 Kansas track & field teams will 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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