Kansas women finish second at Big 12 Indoor Championship
AMES, Iowa – Two Kansas women’s titles on the final day of the Big 12 Indoor Track & Field Championship helped the Jayhawk women earn second place with 112 points, just five points shy of first-place Texas. The runner-up finish marked the highest team finish at the indoor conference meet by the KU women since winning the Big 12 title in 2013. Junior Sharon Lokedi earned a double crown by following up her Friday night 5,000-meter title with a win in the 3,000 meters on Saturday, and the women’s 4×400-meter relay stormed to an impressive victory to seal the second-place team finish.
The Kansas men finished in fifth place with a total of 63 points, with sophomore Bryce Hoppel winning the only men’s title on the final day of the meet, posting a victory in the 800-meter run.
WOMEN’S 4×400 SEALS SECOND PLACE FINISH
Megan Linder ran the opening leg of the women’s 4×400-meter relay, starting the race knowing the team would need a big finish to hold on to second place in the team standings. The baton went to Mariah Kuykendoll then Nicole Montgomery before Honour Finley anchored the team home to a time of 3:35.89 for the win.
LOKEDI DOUBLES WITH 3,000-METER CROWN
Lokedi earned her second Big 12 Indoor title of the weekend by winning the women’s 3,000-meter run with a time of 9:19.97, 12 seconds faster than teammate Courtney Coppinger, who was able to place second. Lokedi’s time wasn’t good enough to break her own school record but should easily qualify for the NCAA Indoor Championships. She currently ranks No. 8 in the NCAA in the 3,000 and No. 6 in the 5,000 meters.
COPPINGER EARNS TWO SILVERS
Picking up a total of 16 points on Saturday, Coppinger earned second place finishes in both the mile and 3,000 meters. The senior earned the silver in the mile to start her Saturday, clocking in at 4:54.05, before posting a personal-best performance in the 3,000 to edge out the third-place finisher by .16 seconds. Coppinger’s 3,000-meter time moved her to No. 6 on the KU women’s indoor all-time performers list in the event.
HOPPEL WINS 800 METERS
For the second-straight year, the Big 12 Indoor men’s 800-meter crown was won by a Jayhawk when Hoppel clocked a time of 1:47.20 to record the third-fastest time in KU men’s indoor history. Hoppel followed in former teammate Strymar Livingston’s footsteps, after Livingston took home the title last season. Hoppel currently has the No. 3 time in the NCAA in the event, which will qualify him for the national championship meet in two weeks.
STANLEY SAID IT
Quotes from Kansas head coach Stanley Redwine
On the women’s second place finish…
“It feels kind of bittersweet (for the women to place second) because we were so close to the leader. I always say it takes a total team effort, and I would say this is probably one of the most balanced teams we have had. They did a really good job and I am really excited for each and every one of them.”
On Courtney Coppinger’s two silver medals…
“I love Sharon (Lokedi), I thank God for each and every one of the athletes on this team, but I would say Courtney (Coppinger) did an excellent job today. What Coach Whitt (Michael Whittlesey) is able to do with his runners is great. Sharon, what she does, that is some great leadership, because she puts the example out there for Courtney, and Courtney absolutely responded in the 3,000. That is what a leader like Sharon can do for this team.”
On the team morale going into the final day of the meet…
“One thing I talked about in last night’s team meeting was family. I always want the team to feel like a family, and when you see athletes get more excited for their teammates’ success than their own, that is what you love to see as a coach. A family supports one another, pulls each other up, and I think that is exactly what our team did today.”
OTHER NOTABLE PERFORMANCES
• Senior Zainab Sanni had a huge run in the 60-meter dash finals to finish third. The Aurora, Colorado product entered the final as the seventh-seeded runner but was able to clock a season-best time of 7.48 for the bronze.
• Senior Hannah Dimmick earned five points for the Jayhawk women by placing fourth in the 1,000-meter run final. Dimmick finished in 2:46.90, which was the second-fastest time ever recorded by a Kansas women’s runner.
• In the first conference meet of her young career, freshman Alexandra Emilianov finished fourth in the shot put and became the No. 5 performer in KU women’s history. Emilianov recorded a throw of 15.63 meters (51-3.5 ft.) to earn her first trip to the Big 12 podium.
• Senior Barden Adams recorded two personal-best jumps in the triple jump on Saturday to earn a fourth-place finish. Adams’ first jump of the day was a PR at 16.02 meters, but the West Orange, New Jersey native upped his mark to 16.06 meters (52-8.25 ft.) on his third attempt. His fourth-place mark currently ranks No. 15 in the NCAA this season.
• Senior Nicolai Ceban was unable to repeat as the Big 12 Indoor men’s shot put champion, but did earn a silver medal with a season-best throw of 19.30 meters (63-4 ft.). He currently ranks No. 15 in the NCAA this season.
Any Jayhawks that are ranked in the top-16 in the NCAA in their respective events following the conclusion of conference meet action across the nation on Sunday will qualify for the NCAA Indoor Championship in College Station, Texas, March 9-10.
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