Kansas to be represented in 8 events at NCAA Indoor Championships
INDIANAPOLIS – The NCAA Division I Men’s and Women’s Track and Field and Cross Country Committee has announced the participants that will compete in the 2018 NCAA Division I Men’s and Women’s Indoor Track and Field Championships in College Station, Texas, March 9-10, with Kansas being represented in eight events.
The Kansas women’s team, which recorded its highest finish at the Big 12 Indoor Track & Field Championship since 2013, will have athletes in four events.
Junior Sharon Lokedi qualified for two individual events, the 3,000 and 5,000-meter runs, with school record-breaking performances.
In her first meet of the season, the Eldoret, Kenya product broke her own school record in the 5,000 meters, clocking in at 15:39.05 at the Boston University Season Opener (Dec. 2). The time proved to be her best of the season, having only run the event once more at the Big 12 Championship (Feb. 23-24), where she won the conference title.
Lokedi’s 3,000-meter qualifying time came at the Iowa State Classic (Feb. 9-10), where she broke the previous school record set last season by Hannah Richardson by 17 seconds, crossing the finish line in 8:59.69. She would go on to win the event at the conference meet as well, making her the only KU athlete to win two gold medals.
Lokedi is the No. 7 seeded athlete in the 3,000 and No. 6 in the 5,000.
The women’s distance medley relay team will also appear at the NCAA Championships as the No. 9 seeded DMR team, after also recording a KU all-time best indoor time of 11:01.19 at the Alex Wilson Invitational (Feb. 17). The school record DMR team at the Alex Wilson Invite was comprised of Lokedi, Courtney Coppinger, Nicole Montgomery and Hannah Dimmick.
Senior Laura Taylor is the only Kansas women’s field athlete that will be competing at the NCAA Championships, qualifying in the pole vault with a season-best mark of 4.38 meters (14-4.5 ft.). The Tualatin, Oregon native’s season-best and personal record mark came at the Rod McCravy Memorial (Feb. 3), where she became the No. 2 performer in Kansas women’s indoor history in the event. Taylor went on to win the vault at the indoor conference meet last weekend with a jump of 4.34 meters (14-2.75 ft.). She is the No. 7 seeded athlete at next weekend’s meet in the women’s vault.
The Kansas men’s team will be represented in three field events as well as one track event in College Station.
Junior Hussain Al Hizam qualified for the national championships in the pole vault, setting a personal record of 5.53 meters (18-1.75 ft.) at the Tyson Invitational (Feb. 9-10). Al Hizam’s PR moved him into No. 6 on the Kansas all-time performers list and has him seeded as the No. 7 athlete for the national meet. Al Hizam won the vault at Big 12 Indoor Championship, marking the second-straight conference gold for him, after also winning the 2017 Big 12 Outdoor Championship title.
Senior Barden Adams will represent the Jayhawks in the triple jump at the NCAA Championships, having recorded a career-best indoor performance at the Big 12 Championships to finish fourth. Adams is the 15th-seeded athlete in the event with his PR of 16.06 meters (52-8.25 ft.).
Despite battling injury issues this season and only competing at three meets, senior Nicolai Ceban was able push through the adversity and qualify for the national championships with a second-place performance in the shot put at the Big 12 Championship. Ceban recorded a season-best mark of 19.30 meters (63-4 ft.) which qualified him into the meet as the 16th-seeded athlete.
Sophomore Bryce Hoppel is the youngest Jayhawk to make to the national meet, qualifying in the 800-meter run by posting the No. 2 time in Kansas men’s indoor history in the event. Hoppel clocked a time of 1:47.09 at the Iowa State Classic, which ended up being the second-fastest performance in the NCAA so far this season. Hoppel passed Kansas legend Jim Ryun on the all-time list with his run at the ISU Classic, he then later recorded the third-fastest time in KU indoor history at the Big 12 Championship on his way to the gold medal.
ESPN3 will stream the meet live starting at 5:30 p.m. CST, March 9, and starting at 4 p.m., March 10. A re-air of the championship will take place starting at 6 p.m. Sunday, March 11 on ESPN2.