Kansas men secure runner-up finish at Big 12 Indoor Championship

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AMES, Iowa –Two more individual conference titles helped propel the Kansas men to their highest finish at an indoor league meet in over three decades as the Jayhawks posted a runner-up team finish on the final day of the Big 12 Indoor Championship Saturday inside the Lied Recreation Center. The KU men finished 13 points behind overall team champion Texas after amassing 110.5 points over the two-day meet. The Jayhawk women posted a fifth-place finish after collecting 81 points.
Livingston Leans to 800-Meter Title
After coming up just short in the 800-meter final at the Big 12 Outdoor meet last May, Strymar Livingston finally broke through to the winner’s circle in what proved to be one of the most exciting races of the afternoon. The senior out of Brooklyn, New York entered the day as the league’s top-ranked runner in the event, but his journey to the top step of the podium was anything but certain during his half-mile run aroundStrymar Livingstonthe Lied Center track.
With the top five runners tightly bunched coming around the final curve, Livingston found an opening and utilized his strong closing kick over the final 60 meters. With he and Baylor’s Zacharias Curran seemingly neck-and-neck over the final strides, Livingston managed to lunge at the finish to put himself just fractions of a second ahead of the BU senior.
Livingston’s lean earned him the 800-meter title in a time of 1:48.40, the second-fastest time of his Kansas career. His win gave Kansas its first 800-meter title in the 21-year history of the Big 12 Indoor Championship and made Livingston the first Jayhawk to win a league title in the event since 1992.
Livingston was joined on the podium by freshman teammate Bryce Hoppel, who posted a career-best time of 1:48.82 and a fifth-place finish.
Ceban Highlights Big KU Points Haul in the Shot Put
The Kansas men completed an impressive sweep of the league throwing events as junior Nicolai Ceban collected his first conference championship in the shot put. Ceban’s win highlighted a strong team outing by the KU men, who combined for 16 points in the event.
The competition gave Ceban little resistance on his way to the top of the medal stand. His first attempt of the day, a toss of 18.80 meters (61-8½), would end up being more than enough to win the event, however the Moldova native didn’t stop there. On his third trip into the ring he uncorked a throw of 18.97 meters (62-3), a mark that no other competitor could come within three feet of.
Ceban put the finishing touches on the victory following three more throws, making him the third Jayhawk to claim a shot put victory at the Big 12 Indoor Championship. He was joined on the awards stand by junior Brandon Lombardino and seniors Mitch Cooper and Kenny Boyer, who finished sixth, seventh and eighth, respectively. The four Jayhawks’ finishes added 16 points to the team total.
Ceban’s win also marked just the second time a single school has won both the shot put and weight throw at a Big 12 Championship meet. The only other occurrence was in 2006 when Jayhawks’ Sheldon Battle and Egor Agafonov won the league shot put and weight throw titles, respectively.
Richardson Once Again Rewrites School 3K Record
For the second time this season, Hannah Richardson made edits to the school record book in the 3,000 meters and came within two seconds from claiming KU’s first Big 12 title in the event. Having already turned in an impressive anchor leg and a runner-up finish in the women’sHannah Richardsondistance medley relay Friday night, Richardson showed no signs of wear in the 3K race less than a day later.
The senior was a front runner early and remained there for the entirety of the race. With 600 meters to go, Richardson and Baylor’s Maggie Montoya separated themselves from the other runners for the final stretch. The two seniors were shoulder to shoulder until the last 100 meters, when Montoya used a strong closing kick to put enough distance between herself and the Jayhawk to claim the event title.
Despite being forced to settle for silver, Richardson’s performance turned out to be the fastest in the program’s history, as her time of 9:16.02 was a new school record. It marked the second time this season Richardson has taken down the KU record as she topped her own month-old mark by more than four seconds.
“I thought they performed very well. We talked about having a total team effort and that’s exactly what they did. We did come up short (in the overall team standings to Texas, by 13 points). It just means that there are some areas (in which) we need to get better. But it was a great meet. Texas was just better than us today.”
          – Head coach Stanley Redwine on the men’s team’s performance
“It was really great to see them (win in their respective events). For Nicolai to win the shot as he did, Coach Andy (Kokhanovsky, throws coach) does a phenomenal job with those guys. I was really excited for Strymar, for obvious reasons, since I coach him. But at the same time, he went out there and gave his all. That’s all that we ask all our athletes to do and he did a really good job.”
          – On the men’s individual champions (Nicolai Ceban, shot put and Strymar Livingston, 800m).
“I would hope that it does, but each meet brings a different thing. It just seems like last year, we were second and everyone was really excited. This year, we’re second and there’s a bitter taste. If that means anything, we’ll have to see. It’s not going to be an easy meet outdoors either. We have other teams thinking they can beat us and we think we can beat other people. We just have to go out and do our best.”

  •  On if coming up short will help give the team extra motivation when they host the Big 12 Outdoor meet in May.

“The people who performed today did a really good job. So, we’re excited. We’ve got to get healthy and we’ve got to have more depth. We want to be in the top three (of the league standings). I talked to the team about scoring 90 points; 90 points would have been exactly where I thought we would be. We got 81 (points), so we came up a little short again.”

  • On what areas the women’s team impressed him this weekend.

* Sophomore Nicole Montgomery became the second-fastest female in the indoor 400 meters in KU history as she finished fifth in the event for the second-straight year. Montgomery completed her quarter mile in 53.40, shaving more than a second off her previous best. The time moved her to No. 2 on the school’s all-time indoor 400-meter list, behind NCAA Champion and Olympic gold medalist Diamond Dixon.
* Junior Tre Daniels also moved up the Kansas history books with his own personal-record 400-meter race. The Manhattan, Kansas product clocked in at 47.16, a time that has only been topped by five other Jayhawks in program history. Daniels’ run earned him a sixth-place finish and three points toward his team’s total.
* Sophomore Riley Cooney concluded an impressive weekend with a runner-up finish in the mile. Less than 24 hours removed from helping the women’s distance medley relay to a second-place finish, Cooney added eight points on her own with a career-best run of 4:49.46. She was joined by Malika Baker, who posted a fifth-place finish and four additional points to the team total by way of her run of 4:54.51.
* The women’s 4×400-meter relay team of Adriana Newell, Mariah Kuykendoll, Nicole Montgomery and Whitney Adams closed out the women’s portion of the meet with a third-place finish. The quartet posted a sub-3:38 race for the third time this season, passing the baton around in 3:37.06.
The Jayhawks will find out Tuesday which athletes qualify for 2017 NCAA Indoor Championships set to take place March 10-11. The meet will be held inside Gilliam Indoor Track in College Station, Texas. Kansas will then kick off the outdoor campaign at the Emporia State Relays March 18 in Emporia, Kansas.
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