Kansas off to Arkansas for inaugural National Relay Championships
|National Relay Championships|
|John McDonnell Field|
|University of Arkansas|
|SEC Network (Sat., 7-9 p.m.)|
|Live Stream (SEC Network+)|
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Kansas track & field is set to travel to Fayetteville, Arkansas for the inaugural National Relay Championships hosted by the University of Arkansas, April 26-27.
The two-day meet, held at John McDonnell Field, will feature 16 of the most-recognized programs across the NCAA, and will be highlighted by a two-hour batons-only portion to close the meet on Saturday that will be televised on the SEC Network, starting at 7 p.m. CDT.
In total, the meet will feature seven different types of relays, with the 4×1,500-meter and sprint medley relays scheduled for Friday evening, and the 4×100, 4×800, 4×200, distance medley and 4×400 relays finishing out the weekend’s action Saturday evening.
The relay action will be the primary focus of the first-year meet, but competition is expected to be very high across the board, especially in jump events, which will have open sections as well as invitational sections that will feature some of the NCAA’s greatest talents in the high jump, pole vault, long jump and triple jump.
The entirety of the meet will be streamed live on the SEC Network+ via WatchESPN.com and live results will be available through FlashResults.com starting at 11 a.m. on Friday.
Both sides of the National Relay Championships are stacked with nationally-ranked competition.
One the men’s side, the No. 13 Kansas men will face off against nine top-25 teams, including No. 1 Florida, No. 7 Florida State, No. 11 Arkansas, No. 14 TCU, No. 15 Texas, No. 20 Stanford, No. 21 Baylor and No. 22 Kentucky.
The No. 18 KU women will face 12 of the top-30 teams in the NCAA including four inside the top-10. No. 5 Arkansas, No. 6 Kentucky, No. 7 Stanford, No. 9 Florida, No. 12 Texas, No. 15 Miami, No. 16 Tennessee, No. 20 Florida State, No. 21 Virginia Tech, No. 22 Baylor and No. 28 Michigan will all make the trip to Fayetteville for the National Relay Championships.
Kansas is entered in a total of eight relays between both men’s and women’s competition.
The first relay action for Kansas will be the women’s 4×100 on Saturday, followed by the men’s 4×100.
Kansas will have both a women’s and men’s 4×800-meter relay team compete, but will not have a 4×200 team entered in either race.
The distance medley relays, which are the penultimate races on both sides of the meet, will feature Jayhawk teams before the 4×400-meter relays close out the weekend.
The Kansas women’s 4×400 relay team currently ranks No. 8 in the West region and No. 14 in the NCAA and the men’s 4×400 team ranks No. 15 in the West and No. 20 in the NCAA.
DUDAREV NAMED BIG 12 MEN’S TRACK & FIELD ATHLETE OF THE WEEK
Kansas sophomore Gleb Dudarev was named the Big 12 Conference Men’s Track & Field Athlete of the Week on Wednesday, April 25, for his performance at the Kansas Relays. Dudarev won the men’s quadrangular hammer throw at the KU Relays, breaking the school record, meet record and Rock Chalk Park facility record with a throw of 78.04 meters (256-0 ft.). The throw is the top mark in the NCAA this season and ranks No. 5 in the world this year, and also makes Dudarev the No. 5 all-time collegiate performer.
KANSAS WOMEN JUMP 12 SPOTS TO NO. 18, MEN REMAIN NO. 13 IN USTFCCCA RANKINGS
Following a great weekend at the Kansas Relays, the KU women’s track & field team rose 12 spots in the USTFCCCA weekly poll, climbing from No. 30 to No. 18. The Jayhawk men remained at No. 13 for the second-straight week.
HEADLINERS IN ACTION
Now in the heart of the outdoor season and with a highly-competitive meet schedule for this weekend, a number of the Jayhawk headliners will be in action in their signature events.
NCAA Indoor National Champion Hussain Al Hizam will be competing in the invitational section of the men’s pole vault, scheduled for 5 p.m. on Saturday. Al Hizam currently ranks No. 5 in the NCAA and No. 2 in the West in the event. Including Al Hizam, the event will feature four top-20 NCAA performers, featuring teammate Nick Meyer, who ranks No. 20. Virginia Tech’s Deakin Volz (No. 8), and Texas’ Barrett Poth (No. 14) will also be competing in the event.
Like the men’s invitational pole vault, the women’s competition looks to be one of the biggest events of the weekend, with eight top-25 athletes entered in the event, including Jayhawks Laura Taylor (T-No. 7) and Andrea Willis (T-No. 13). Arkansas twin sisters Lexi Jacobus (No. 2) and Victoria Hoggard (No. 3), Virginia Tech’s Rachel Baxter (T-No. 9), Wisconsin’s Taylor Amann (T-No. 11), Texas’ Shay Petty (T-No. 13) and Stanford’s Kaitlyn Merritt (T-No. 16) are all slated to compete as well.
The men’s invitational triple jump section will feature six of the top-seven performers in the nation, including KU’s own Barden Adams, who currently ranks No. 3 in the NCAA in the event. Florida’s Clayton Brown (No. 1) and KeAndre Bates (No. 5), TCU’s Scotty Newton (No. 2) and Chengetayi Mapaya (No. 7) and Florida State’s Armani Wallace (No. 4) will all square off in what could very well be a preview of the NCAA Outdoor Championships finals.
Senior thrower Nicolai Ceban ranks No. 17 in the NCAA in the discus, and will face off against two fellow top-20 competitors, TCU’s Ryan Camp (No. 11) and Miami’s Gian Ragonesi (No. 12) at 2:10 p.m. on Friday.
Freshman Alexandra Emilianov, who is ranked No. 18 in the NCAA this season in the discus, will face off against four other top-20 performers, including No. 3 Valarie Allman of Stanford, No. 14 Stamatia Scarvelis of Tennessee, No. 17 Zakiya Rashid of Miami, and No. 20 Debbie Ajagbe of Miami.
The Kansas track & field squads will conclude the regular season with a trip to Manhattan, Kansas for the Ward Haylett Invitational on May 5. The Jayhawks will then travel to Waco, Texas the following weekend for the Big 12 Outdoor Track & Field Championships at Clyde Hart Track & Field Stadium, May 11-13.
Any athletes that rank in the top-48 in the West region following the conclusion of all meets on May 14 will qualify for the NCAA West Preliminary Round in Sacramento, California, May 24-26. Those athletes that finish in the top-12 of their event at the West Prelims will then qualify for the NCAA Championships in Eugene, Oregon, June 6-9.
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