Kansas women No. 13, men No. 24 in latest USTFCCCA poll
NEW ORLEANS – For the first time this season, both the Kansas men’s and women’s track & field squads are ranked in the top-25 of the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association NCAA Division I weekly rankings, with the Kansas men jumping back in the mix at No. 24 and the Jayhawk women moving up for the fifth-straight week from last week’s No. 23 ranking all the way to No. 13 this week.
The Kansas women jumped into the top-25 for the first time this season in last week’s USTFCCCA polls, climbing 20 spots from week three to week four. Now, in the fifth week of the USTFCCCA poll, the Jayhawk women have moved up a total of 42 spots from their No. 55 ranking in the preseason poll to their current No. 13 ranking. The climb in the polls can be largely attributed to junior Sharon Lokedi, who has broken two individual school records, the 5,000-meter run and the 3,000-meter run, and was a member of the distance medley relay team, along with Courtney Coppinger, Nicole Montgomery and Hannah Dimmick, at the Alex Wilson Invitational in South Bend, Indiana last weekend that broke the school record with a time of 11:01.19.
Another large factor to the climb, specifically this week’s jump of 10 spots, is the women’s 4×400-meter relay team’s No. 10 ranking in the NCAA, with their performance at the Alex Wilson Invite. Montgomery, Honour Finley, Mariah Kuykendoll and Megan Linder passed the baton around in 3:33.53 to clock their best time of the season, which ranks No. 3 in the KU women’s indoor charts.
In total, the Jayhawk women hold six top-20 spots in the nation in five different events, with the distance medley relay’s No. 5 ranking the highest. Lokedi sits eighth in the 3,000 meters and sixth in the 5,000 meters, and Laura Taylor and Andrea Willis rank No. 7 and 18, respectively in the pole vault.
Last week was the first and only time the Kansas men’s squad was not ranked in the top-25 this season, falling down to No. 27, but jumped back up to No. 24 after a weekend with big relay performances at the Alex Wilson Invite, where the 4×400-meter relay team posted its fastest time of the season at 3:06.76 to clock the No. 11 time in the NCAA and the second-fastest indoor time in Kansas history. The distance medley relay team also saw success in South Bend and was able to post the 10th-fastest time in KU history and the third-fastest in the Big 12 conference this season, clocking in at 9:45.62.
Bryce Hoppel is the highest-ranked Jayhawk in the NCAA this season, holding the No. 2 spot in the 800-meter run. Along with Hoppel and the 4×400 relay team, three other Jayhawk men currently hold top-20 rankings; Hussain Al Hizam ranks sixth in the pole vault, Nick Meyer is 18th in the vault, and Barden Adams sits in 12th in the triple jump.
Both teams will look to continue to improve on the national scene this weekend when they travel to Ames, Iowa for the Big 12 Indoor Track & Field Championship, February 23-24 at the Lied Recreation Center.
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