Kansas men No. 13, women No. 16 heading into NCAA Championships
LAWRENCE, Kan. – The U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association released the 2019 Pre-Championships national rankings on Monday, and the Kansas men’s team is projected for a 13th-place finish at the NCAA Indoor Championships in Birmingham, Alabama, March 8-9, and a 16th-place finish is projected for the KU women.
The Kansas men have four entries in the championship meet this weekend, with junior Bryce Hoppel holding the highest ranking among the Kansas men’s entrants in their respective events. Hoppel is the No. 3-seeded 800-meter runner at the championships with his school record-breaking and Big 12 Championship-winning time of 1:46.84 (converted to 1:46.53 because of altitude for championship qualifying).
Redshirt sophomore Gleb Dudarev is the No. 5-seeded athlete in the men’s weight throw, where he will look to earn his second First Team All-America honor, after finishing sixth in the event at the 2017 championships. Dudarev’s season-best throw of 23.29 meters (76-5 ft.) came at the Big 12 Indoor Championships, where he won his second conference crown in the event. The conference-winning mark is the No. 3 throw in KU men’s history in the event.
Senior pole vaulter and defending NCAA Indoor Champion Hussain Al Hizam enters the NCAA Championships meet with the seventh-best mark in the nation this season, clearing 5.63 meters (18-5.5 ft.). Al Hizam has yet to reach his personal-best, which was set when winning the national championship last indoor season. His mark of 5.70 meters (18-8.25 ft.) broke not only the Kansas school record, but also broke Texas A&M’s Gilliam Indoor Stadium facility record and his own Saudi Arabian national record.
Freshman pole vaulter Zach Bradford will make his first trip to an NCAA Championships event, entering the meet in a tie for seventh with Al Hizam, holding a season-best mark of 5.63 meters (18-5.5 ft.).
The Kansas women have five entries at the NCAA Championships. Senior Sharon Lokedi is the No. 3-ranking women’s 5,000-meter runner heading into the meet. Lokedi broke the school record in the event at the Sharon Colyear-Danville Season Opener with a time of 15:15.47, which remains her season and personal best.
Senior Marleena Eubanks holds the No. 5 time in the nation in the women’s 800-meter run, with her Big 12-winning time of 2:03.99 (converted to 2:03.63 because of altitude for championship qualifying). The time broke the Kansas school record and the Big 12 Indoor Championships meet record.
The Kansas women’s distance medley relay team is the No. 8-seeded DMR team going into the weekend. Freshman Ally Ryan, senior Nicole Montgomery, Eubanks and Lokedi combined for a school-record breaking time at the Alex Wilson Invitational of 10:58.31 to qualify for the championships.
Freshman Rylee Anderson ranks 10th in the women’s high jump with a clearance of 1.82 meters (5-11.5 ft.), which she achieved at the Big 12 Indoor Championship to earn a second-place finish in the event. The mark ranks Anderson in a tie for third on the KU all-time performers list and is tied for the fifth-best clearance ever by a Kansas women’s athlete.
Junior Andrea Willis is making her first trip to the NCAA Indoor Championships, holding the No. 11 clearance in the nation this season in the pole vault with a mark of 4.37 meters (14-4 ft.). Willis earned a trip to last year’s NCAA Outdoor Championships, where she earned All-America honorable mention.
ESPN3 will stream the NCAA Indoor Championships live 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.
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